How Truck Accidents Are Different than Car Accidents
The greater size and weight of a truck is one of the most significant factors that influence the outcome of truck accidents. Tractor-trailer trucks and other large commercial vehicles are much bigger and heavier than passenger cars, making them capable of more devastating collisions.
This can cause the occupants in these smaller vehicles to suffer more serious injuries than they might have in a similar accident with another car, potentially leading to greater financial damages. In addition, truck accidents are likely to involve other liable parties, such as a trucking company that owns the vehicle or employs the driver. This can complicate the process of seeking compensation.
Seeking Damages from the Truck Driver’s Employer
Because of the increased possibility of injuries in a truck crash and the complicated structure of trucking companies, the law treats truck accidents differently than car accidents. One of the first ways the law treats truck accidents differently involves who can be held responsible.
Like a car accident, you can hold the truck driver responsible for injuries caused by their negligent actions. However, they often do not have enough insurance coverage and or financial ability to pay for what happened. Fortunately, the law allows you to hold the truck driver’s employer accountable for what happened in most truck accidents. In addition, the law requires trucking companies to carry up to $5 million in coverage.
In order to hold the trucking company accountable your lawyer will use legal principles called vicarious liability and respondeat superior. In its simplest form, this means the trucking company is getting a financial benefit from the truck driver delivering its goods, so the trucking company must also pay the price when its driver causes harm.
To hold the trucking company vicariously liable and file a claim based on its liability insurance policy, you will need to prove two things:
- The truck driver was working for the employer in question at the time of the accident and was under the oversight of that employer; and
- The truck driver was acting within the framework of their job at the time and place of the accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCA) set the rules and regulations for trucks on the road. Trucking companies and drivers must adhere to the standards set for them in order to operate safely on the road. The vast majority of truck accidents result in the injury or death of pedestrians or occupants of passenger vehicles. These regulations are in place to save lives and ensure that dangerous accidents do not happen.
If a trucking company does not abide by the standards of the NHTSA and FMCA, you can hold them liable alongside the driver for negligence. Alternatively, we may also hold them liable based on negligent hiring or other careless practices.
Building a Truck Accident Case Is Often Complex
While some car accident cases are very straightforward, truck accident cases often require additional steps, making them more complex. Your attorney will need to:
- Take action to preserve the trucking company’s evidence by sending a spoliation letter.
- Obtain said evidence, such as driving logs and dash-cam footage, in addition to other support for your case.
- Work with industry experts to better understand the details of the accident.
- Document future medical needs and ongoing care costs for serious injuries.
- Communicate and negotiate on your behalf.
We have a robust network of experts we can call, as necessary, for help understanding and proving your case. We may also work with them to determine your likely future care needs, your prognosis, and other details related to the value of your damages.
Let Our Team Seek Damages for You After Your Truck Accident Case
When you work with a truck collision attorney from Distasio Law Firm, you can count on our team to put your best interests first. We aim to provide the legal representation and support our clients need, including putting in the time and financial resources they deserve. Part of this involves working on a contingency basis, so you owe nothing unless we are able to secure your compensation.
Our goal in a truck accident case is to hold the trucking company accountable for their employee’s actions and recover the damages our client suffered. This could include any of the following:
- Current and future diagnosis, treatment, and care expenses
- The cost of ongoing care
- Current and future lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Property damages
- Loss of services
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering damages
We may also be able to seek wrongful death damages for those who qualify. Please accept our condolences and allow us to help you recover compensation for your loss.
We generally only have two years to file a personal injury civil suit and two years to file a wrongful death suit. We prefer to get to work well in advance of this date so we can gather evidence and seek an out-of-court settlement if possible. Contact our team today for a consultation.