While things like the insurance claim process do not change much whether someone is involved in an accident with another car or a commercial truck, there are a few differences that may be significant.
Damage caused by trucks
When a regular sized vehicle is involved in a collision with a semi trailer or other large truck, the smaller vehicle tends to sustain much more damage and the risk of serious injury or death increases greatly. This is why drivers need to be careful on highways. Trucks tend to always be present and traveling at high speeds on interstate roads.
When drivers contact their insurance company after an accident, they should mention if the truck involved is a commercial vehicle, as this may make the claim process slightly different depending on the insurance company’s procedures. If the damage is severe, pictures from the scene and the police report should prove the losses to the insurance company.
Remedies available to truck drivers
The truck driver may also be entitled to workers compensation and additional benefits from their employer to cover their lost wages and other problems. Laws throughout the U.S. require employers to pay out workers compensation as long as the person was legitimately hurt while on the job and working.
Lawsuits against a business that uses trucks for transportation and work
The most important difference between a lawsuit involving a truck versus a regular vehicle is related to who will end up becoming the defendant in a civil lawsuit. Most truck accident cases will actually be filed against the business that owns the truck rather than the individual driver. This is due to a tort law doctrine that says employers are vicariously liable for the actions of their employees while they are engaged in their typical job functions. In other words, the business ends up paying for workers mistakes.
This is also beneficial to plaintiffs because a business normally has greater financial reserves to pay out the damages following a trial or settlement agreement, rather than a driver who may only have basic insurance or limited assets. Many businesses even take out special commercial insurance to cover their losses in case they are ever sued. Most of the largest judgments awarded after a civil lawsuit in American history have come from cases where a large corporation is the defendant. This is significant because when another driver is personally at fault for a serious accident, they may not realistically be able to pay out all of a victim’s expenses, even when a judge has ordered them to do so.
Other possible scenarios and legal differences
There are some complexities involved in truck accidents as well. Some collisions may involve a combination or commercial and recreational vehicles. Some employers may want to avoid liability if their drivers were acting recklessly or outside the scope of their job duties during the accident. It is important to speak with an accident lawyer about the specifics of your case.
Contact a truck accident attorney in your area
Wherever you live in the United States, there are lawyers who are licensed to practice in your state that deal with truck accident lawsuits and the insurance process on a daily basis. There is a directory available on USAttorneys.com that makes finding a local lawyer easy.