In commercial truck accidents, operators are held to far more regulations than private citizens, so sorting everything out can be complicated. These regulations can impact any accident with a standard vehicle. If you have been personally injured during an accident that occurred with a commercial truck, being aware of these regulations and understanding them is very important. There may be multiple entities or persons responsible if the accident resulted from breaking one or more of these rules. Working with a personal injury attorney who is experienced in navigating these and other rules is vital to secure an appropriate settlement. Here are 5 car/truck accident checklist to guide you on what to do in the event of an auto accident.
Who is Responsible?
The responsibility naturally begins with the operator of the truck, but it likely does not end there. The owner of the truck and the manufacturer of the rig also may be responsible if either failed to meet state and federal regulations.
These are the kinds of items regulated by state and federal commercial transportation laws:
- The weight being hauled
- The length of time the driver is permitted to be behind the wheel
- The guidelines of quality control in the truck’s manufacturing
- The frequency and thoroughness of the required inspections
- The quality of repairs and maintenance to the rig
- The kind of insurances required
When an accident occurs with a private vehicle and the plaintiff is not at fault, it is possible that one of the defendants (operator, owner or manufacturer) violated a statute or ordinance. When you are seeking a settlement, proving this is extremely important and can mean a much higher settlement amount. When a case has a high possibility of winning, the defendant is usually much more eager to settle before a trial. Your attorney can identify these regulations and argue on your behalf as well as negotiate your proposed settlement.
Also, there may be shared liability among the defendants. For example, if the operator of the truck had logged too many hours and was dozing off when the accident occurred, AND you discovered the tires were not in good condition causing the truck to skid or slide on wet pavement, both the operator AND the owner may have to share in the settlement. When this occurs, sometimes these two entities may be at odds and grow unable to agree on a percentage of responsibility. Even though both want to settle, a trial may be necessary to determine the actual percentages.
How Long Will a Settlement Take to Achieve?
Regardless of how many entities are involved in a semi-truck accident’s liability, each will be represented by an insurance company. The focus of any insurer is to keep the payment as LOW as possible. Rushing to settle is
rarely in the best interest of the plaintiff. If you accept the insurance company’s settlement offer, you will be unable to secure any additional money even if you learn later about a related injury that requires more care or treatment. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to present facts proving that while your treatment plan looks one way today, it could look entirely different two years, three years or ten years later, depending on your injuries. Being patient and waiting to determine the extent of your injuries and your body’s response to treatments as well as learning the psychological toll the accident may have had on you, will help your attorney better argue on your behalf for an appropriate settlement amount.
The Kinds of Expenses You May be Able To Recover
Collisions with commercial vehicles such as delivery trucks, box trucks, or even semi-trucks have the potential to cause serious or even permanent injuries. When you have been involved in a collision with a truck, you may be able to recover these types of costs:
- All medical examinations
- Physical therapy costs
- Surgical costs and hospital stays
- Ongoing care if you are unable to care for yourself
- Lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium for your partner or spouse (Award for inability of one’s spouse to have normal marital relations, which is a euphemism for sexual intercourse.)
If you have been in an accident involving a semi-truck, our experienced commercial truck accident attorneys can help obtain a successful outcome for you. At West, Longenbaugh and Zickerman, we are available to see that you get the compensation you deserve as quickly as possible. Our job is to work for you, your job is to get well. Call our office today.