Accidents involving large trucks are more likely to result in serious injury or fatality than passenger vehicle collisions. This guide addresses some of the unique issues that arise in truck accident claims.
Preserving Your Legal Rights
By law, if you were injured in a truck accident that was not your fault, you may be able to obtain compensation from the party responsible for your injuries. Depending on the cause of the accident, the party may be the truck driver, truck leasing company, loading company, the manufacturer of the truck, a company that performed maintenance on the truck, or even the municipality or county government responsible for maintaining the road where the accident occurred.
An experienced attorney can help you determine liability and prove fault for your injuries. Because you have a limited amount of time to bring a claim for your injuries, it is best to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. Most personal injury attorneys provide free initial consultations to discuss your legal rights.
Truck Accident Investigations
When a big rig truck collides with a small passenger car, the consequences can be catastrophic for the occupants of the car. If you've been injured, preserving evidence to support your case is critical. Within hours following a crash, a large truck may be transported hundreds of miles away from the scene of a crash. Weather deteriorates skid marks and fluid marks within a short amount of time. If you contact an attorney, they can dispatch investigators to an accident scene to begin investigating the cause of the accident.
Truck accident investigators look at every aspect of the accident, including skid marks, location of impact, debris, fluid stains, and damaged vehicle parts.
Trucking companies have their own investigators and experts, and will try to compensate victims little as possible.
Resolving a claim for injuries against a trucking company's insurance company is more complicated and time consuming than a simple motor vehicle claim, which is why you need an experienced lawyer who specializes in trucking accidents.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is a separate administration within the United States Department of Transportation. The agency was established on January 1, 2000, pursuant to the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999, with the goal of reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities by improving the safety of large trucks and buses. The agency sets forth rules and regulations regarding required maintenance, driver resting periods, vehicle inspection, use of prescription medication and other substances. Not every trucking company is in compliance with FMCSA regulations.
Trucking companies and operators are required by law to maintain maintenance records, hourly logs and other records. Additionally, trucking companies must carry higher levels of liability insurance. An attorney familiar with FMCSA regulations can help you determine if the trucking company was in compliance with mandatory regulations.
Truck Accidents and Settlement Offers
If you have been injured, it is important that you not accept compensation that is less than what you deserve or are entitled to. It is not uncommon for a trucking company's insurer to offer a low lump-sum settlement in exchange for you waiving all future rights to compensation. Initial settlements are usually not fair compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, disability, pain and suffering and other accident related expenses. Before you accept any settlement offer, have an experienced truck accident attorney review it and explain your available legal options.