Published On: Fri, Mar 1st, 2019

Clarified at Last: The Answers to the Top 7 Questions About Trucking Accidents

Trucking accidents are devastating for all parties involved. The amount of paperwork it takes just to deal with an accident can take months for the unprepared. Even if you’re familiar with the basics of trucking accidents, this refresher covers the most common questions. More than a few of the answers should give some insight into the information that’s necessary before you hire an accident attorney.

7. Can the Company Avoid Liability?

Yes, if enough mistakes are made by the victim. This is why the day of the accident needs sharp ears, eyes, and awareness. Truck drivers are professionals that are trained for multiple road scenarios, including accidents. Unless there is a verifiable witness, it is your word against theirs. Details matter in this case, so missing even the most minor of things could lead to the company getting off the hook. Employers are liable for their employee’s accidents on the job, with truck driving leading to several layers of responsibility. These layers can cause confusion, or at least muddy the definition of “respondeat superior”. Even when liable, there is a chance that trucking companies can pass the blame onto the driver. Liability comes down to verifying whether the accident was within the scope of current work responsibilities. Drinking and driving, hauling unknown weight and other things can make it difficult to pin the blame on the company. When it becomes a case of a negligent worker, the rules change and the company is off the hook- but not always. Due to the intricacies of accident liability, many possible scenarios are on the table. It’s possible to seek damages from both the driver and the company simultaneously.

6. Why Are Trucking And Car Accidents Different?

There is a much higher danger associated with trucking accidents because of their size. An out of control 18-wheeler can wipe out two lanes of traffic by itself. The chain reactions from trucking accidents are also much fiercer, with fatality rates higher due to the damage. In some ways, a competent driver can prepare for a normal car accident with enough space on the road. But with a truck, the rules change, and the percentage of success drops considerably. There are usually multiple victims of a single trucking accident leading to chaotic accounts of what actually caused the crash. Victims with different stories of the accident play right into a company’s hands when they want to escape liability. When you sue an individual for a car accident, the insurance company steps in when possible. Suing a company is a completely different beast and requires a much larger workload to see the payoff. Victims of a trucking accident should always work together for a resolution when possible since separation only strengthens a company’s position.

5. What Trucking Laws Are In Place To Make The Roads Safer For Drivers?

There are special laws in place to protect both sides. There are a few misconceptions about liability claims from a lot of victims, and that is exactly why a lawyer is needed to handle the specifics. Even if it is a clear case of company or driver negligence, a victim can easily lose the case in court by being unprepared. Regulations in place serve to limit the chances of their being trucking accidents while also lowering the liability of the worker. That leaves the company in the position of enforcing these federal and state regulations as part of their systemwide guidelines. The laws are not just to protect motorists from companies, but also negligent truck drivers. That makes a big difference when seeking a claim from a company when it is clearly the trucker that was operating outside of the company’s guidelines. Laws are strict nationally, with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration keeping a tight leash on all requirements. This works as a benefit to drivers so that the roads are safer, but works against victims since there is a mile of drivers logs and paperwork favoring the company.

4. Are All Damages Covered In A Personal Injury Claim?

It is impossible to guess what is covered for each and every accident. The better answer is that it is unlikely that any two personal injury cases will be the same. It isn’t always about liability, and trucking accidents usually include several victims. If the victims refuse to cooperate and seek separate damages, this can complicate things for all of the victims involved. Coordination and early legal advice will go through all of the necessary information before bringing a liability case to court. Personal injury claims are only as strong as the victim’s willingness to cooperate. Getting a settlement can take months, even with all of the right information in one place. When things are divided, delays from cross information is to be expected. The other side of this argument is that some personal insurance companies will make it mandatory to seek a separate suit from the rest of the victims. If this happens, claimants have to make an educated decision about the case for their personal benefit. 

3. How Essential Are Attorneys To A Truck Accident Case?

Going after a personal injury claim without a lawyer is like trying to swim in a pile of bricks. Companies salivate at the idea of clients not being armed with a lawyer for the defense. It’s impossible to learn the specifics of laws, trucking regulations, and liability insurance in a few days. And the longer you take to bring a case to court, the harder it is to collect when it really matters. Big issues like current medical bills from the accident need to be addressed immediately. Paperwork helps, but an attorney can act as a primary source of information. Companies that have millions of dollars invested in insurance are not going to roll over to a private citizen. The threat of professional representation is the one thing that businesses take seriously. One of the biggest mistakes people make before contacting an attorney is giving a statement to their insurance company. The second biggest mistake is giving a statement to the company responsible for the accident. It’s counterproductive to aid the company you’ll possibly be suing before you have adequate representation.

2. What Causes Trucking Accidents?

Driver fatigue is not as big an issue as it used to be. Strict regulations have cut down on the accidents caused by this, and there are overtime checks that are hard to circumvent. Surprisingly, drug use accounts for almost a quarter of all trucking accidents. This just touches on illegal drugs that mess with the perception and awareness of the driver. A company can still miss the recreational drug use of a worker during drivable hours. Separate from the percentage of illegal drug use would be legal prescription drugs. Prescription drugs can be as dangerous as their illegal counterparts when taken the wrong way. Some drugs don’t even allow the patient to drive while under the influence. A trucker (and their company) should always be aware of prescription drug usage. One of the last things to cause accidents is speeding in unfamiliar territory. Businesses are on strict schedules, so when a trucker is running late, speeding becomes a real option to make up lost time. Trackers are in place with some trucks to prevent speeding, although it is not a mandatory piece of technology. Making up time by speeding is never a good idea when hauling thousands of pounds at a time. This, of course, becomes the deadliest scenario in accidents, with the extra speed adding into the damage possibility.

1. Is It Hard To Win A Personal Injury Case?

Absolutely! Easy and handling a personal injury case are not words that should be used in the same sentence. There is a lot of stress associated with the process of filing a lawsuit. The physical and emotional pains from the accident will take a toll on any individual. Even when the company is at fault, there will be pushback before the two sides settle. This is normal and requires a lot of communication. This is why a personal injury lawyer is important; peace of mind. While the victim takes time to recover from the accident, their lawyer can handle the daily work needed to get an acceptable offer on the table. There is so much maneuvering in a personal injury case that it can look like an endless supply of paperwork. The good news is that endless paperwork is a sign of progress concerning a case. Patience is needed from everyone involved to reach a deal. With cases that have multiple victims, this is the key to success. Unity is the best way to handle a personal injury case involving more than one claimant.

Wrap Up

When a trucking accident happens, be aware of the situation it puts you in. Any mistakes made before seeing a lawyer could cost you the entire case. Take care of the small stuff immediately, and then let the professionals do the heavy lifting.

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