Accidents involving tractor trailers and other large commercial vehicles can be devastating. Recovering enough to pay for your injuries can be a challenge in these cases, partly due to how these types of lawsuits work.
While it may be simple enough to prove that the truck driver was indeed at fault for your injuries, actually recovering damages may prove a challenge.
Complications and Challenges with Truck Accident Cases
A personal injury case filed against the driver of a commercial truck or their employer can be challenging for a couple different reasons. The following complications may arise:
Potential for multiple defendants
First off, there’s the potential for multiple possible defendants in these cases. While the driver may be directly responsible in some situations, such as when they fail to obey certain traffic laws or exercise adequate caution when driving, there may be situations where other parties are responsible. These parties include:
- The owner of the truck being driven
- The company that leased the truck or hired the driver
- The vehicle’s manufacturer
- Manufacturers of components used on the vehicle
- The party who loaded the vehicle for shipment
Faulty vehicle components, improper loading practices, and so forth may contribute to these accidents, and in cases where the driver was hired by someone else (i.e. in virtually any case involving a commercial tractor and trailer), the company is often considered responsible for the actual damages from the accident.
Insurance policy limits
Upon pinning down the party who should be held responsible for your injuries, another complication arises—that of insurance policy limits.
Even if your case is technically worth a large amount, the responsible party’s insurance will only pay out up to its policy limit. Fortunately, federal regulations exact higher insurance requirements for semi-truck owners and employers, meaning your settlement will not likely be cut short—assuming the employer and not the driver is held responsible.
Winning a Truck-Related Personal Injury Case
While there are challenges presented by truck-related personal injury cases, the law is typically on your side if you weren’t at fault for the accident. The following circumstances and tactics maximize your chances of securing a favorable settlement or else winning your case in court.
Legal rules and limitations
As stated above, those who employ semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles have to meet exacting requirements when it comes to insurance. In addition, if you weren’t at fault for your accident, it was likely due to the driver’s failure to meet legal rules and requirements, which increases the viability of your case and makes it easier to secure a favorable settlement.
Finally, federal regulations prevent employers from shifting responsibility onto their drivers alone (which they typically do by claiming they’re independent contractors). If the employer owns or is using the truck, they should be held responsible.
Hire a personal injury attorney
On top of everything else, you’ll want to hire a personal injury attorney to represent you during settlement negotiations—and in court if necessary. The threat of going to court can place enough pressure on the defendant (and their insurance company) to pay out a fair settlement, and a personal injury lawyer can make sure they recognize court as a possibility.
If you have been injured in an accident involving a truck and trailer or other commercial vehicle, contacting an attorney will maximize your chances of obtaining a successful outcome.