Kansas City, MO-There are an average or 500,000 truck accidents in the U.S. every year, according to the NHTSA. Some of these accidents are not serious but more often than not they entail catastrophic injuries and even death. Accidents involving large commercial trucks are very different than accidents involving passenger vehicles because these trucks are heavy and powerful. The injuries that ensue are often more serious or catastrophic so these accidents are dramatically different than a traditional traffic accident in a number of ways.
Time is crucial in a truck accident since trucking companies inform their insurers of an accident almost immediately. These companies often have third parties that will conduct an investigation and assess what the costs of the accident will be. They will try to gather as much evidence as possible which will include talking to the driver, taking photographs of the scene and speaking with all the parties involved.
Insurance companies are concerned with their profitability and in order to be profitable they must minimize their liability in truck accident claims. Anything a victim tells them can be used against them to reduce any possible settlements. Before speaking to a trucking company’s insurer or the company itself, the victim should contact a truck accident attorney.
Commercial truck accident policies are much more complex than auto insurance policies so the victim may not be aware of the compensation they are eligible for. It takes a legal expert who has specific experience with truck accidents to know whether the accident victim is fairly compensated for their injuries or a wrongful death.
Truck accidents can often involve more than one party and determining all the parties who are liable would be difficult for those who are not well-versed in the minutiae of truck accidents. There are large number of truck drivers who are independent contractors and own their trucks, but there are incidents where this might not be the case.
Not all truck accidents are caused by driver error; some are due to mechanical failure or equipment malfunctions and load shifts. These large trucks are sometimes owned by a specific trucking company but they are other instances where the truck is owned by another company and leased to a carrier. To understand which party is liable, a truck accident attorney must examine all the contracts involved and to determine the relationship between the driver and truck owner.
Another thing that makes a truck accident different is the seriousness of the injuries incurred. These injuries can often involve long-term hospitalization, rehabilitation and permanent disability. It is important that in the pursuit of a settlement that a truck accident victim is not only compensated for their immediate cost, but also any future medical costs they may face along with the pain and anguish which accompanies catastrophic injuries or fatalities.
Trucking companies are hoping accident victims don’t retain an accident attorney since victims who have legal counsel typically get settlements that are on average three times higher than victims who settle claims without representation.