Since trucks are usually owned by companies, you will probably be dealing with multiple liable parties if you are a victim of a trucking accident. This means that you can file a claim against more than just the individual truck driver, which can mean a bigger payout. However, there are issues of commercial businesses to take into account, and these issues can get complicated. Read on for to tips to help maximize your payout.
Big Trucking Companies
Many trucking companies are large multi-state companies, and they have interest in preserving their reputations. Companies employing drivers are responsible for making sure that those truckers possess the training, instruction, and licensing to operate those vehicles. That being said, they can hold unrealistic expectations of their drivers in the name of profit maximization. The pressure to maximize profit may make companies poorly maintain their vehicles, avoid proper inspections, impose unreasonable deadlines, improperly load trucks, and fail to follow governmental regulations.
Despite the unsafe risks that drivers can be asked to take, the big trucking companies spend lots of money protecting their public images. As such, in the event of an accident, the trucking company’s first reaction will be to minimize responsibility, potentially tainting evidence and seeking a quick and quiet settlement.
Be sure not to fall into their traps – do not say anything damaging (admitting any kind of fault or apologizing) or agree to a settlement worth less than you deserve. Hiring a personal injury lawyer will help you avoid these mistakes.
Identify Potential Defendants
In order to properly collect compensation for injuries suffered in a truck accident, it is important to identify as many potential defendants as possible. These defendants may include trucking companies, contractors, employers, auto maintenance people, and insurance companies.
Occasionally, the manufacturer or shipper of hazardous materials carried by the truck should be held liable for injuries caused or made worse by the truck’s cargo. It is the manufacturer or shipper’s duty to inform the trucker and/or trucking company of the materials’ potential dangers. In some cases, the manufacturers of defective brakes, tires, and navigation and communication technology may be held liable for damages. Repair technicians of such tools may also hold some responsibility.
Identifying third party defendants can be tough when a truck driver is an independent contractor of a larger company. When finding liability in this case, it is necessary to determine the amount of oversight held by the larger company.
All of these parties may have independent insurance policies, which can get very complicated. In order to prove that these third parties are at fault, your attorney would need to show that the company had some control over the driver and that both parties were engaged in an employment relationship at the time of the accident. In order to figure out which damages are covered by which insurance policy and, most importantly, how to get the most money for your accident, you may want to consider hiring an attorney.
If you have been in an accident, use the Calculator to determine your case’s value.