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5 Reasons You Should Always Talk to a Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer After a Crash

Written by Tom Crosley
Jul 21, 2022 Trucking Accidents
  1. 1. 1. Determining Liability Is Complex
  2. 2. 2. Evidence Is Hard to Track Down
  3. 3. 3. Serious Injuries Complicate Cases
  4. 4. 4. Talking to the Insurance Company Is Risky
  5. 5. 5. You Need Legal Guidance if Comparative Fault Is Involved
  6. 6. Crosley Law Truck Accident Lawyers Help San Antonians Get Justice After Commercial Vehicle Accidents

After a traffic accident, you have a lot to think about and plenty of decisions to make. One of them is whether you’ll work with a personal injury attorney to pursue financial compensation for your losses.

In short, you should always talk to an attorney if you’ve been hurt in a car or truck accident. No matter if the other vehicle was a large semi-truck or a small hatchback driven by someone you know, you shouldn’t have to pay when someone else’s actions caused you pain and cost you money.

That all applies when you’ve been injured by a commercial vehicle, but it gets more complicated. Compared to most other traffic accidents, those caused by large vehicles and someone on the job involve more people, different legal and insurance processes, and, often, very serious injuries.  

This post will dig into the reasons you need to talk to a lawyer after a commercial motor vehicle accident. It will also give you a sense of what to expect if you’ve been injured by a semi-truck, delivery van, or other car. Finally, we’ll offer specifics on what an attorney can do to help you secure the compensation you deserve.

Compared to most other traffic accidents, those caused by large vehicles and someone on the job involve more people, different legal and insurance processes, and, often, very serious injuries.

1. Determining Liability Is Complex

When a traffic crash happens, someone is found at fault (liable). When only private cars are involved, the fault is almost always assigned to one (or both) of the drivers.

By contrast, if a commercial vehicle causes an accident, it might be because the truck driver was careless or reckless. But it might also be that the employer provided poor training or expected too many hours behind the wheel. Then again, perhaps maintenance wasn’t performed correctly, or whoever loaded the cargo ignored weight limits.

Compared with private vehicles and drivers, commercial vehicles and drivers must adhere to much stricter rules about upkeep, driving breaks, and more. Yet drivers and their employers are frequently found cutting corners in order to maximize their profits—at the expense of public safety.

It takes a lot of professionals to ensure those rules are observed, and any one of them could be at least partially liable when the rules are broken and an accident is the result.

The investigations required to correctly assign fault in these cases are demanding, especially as you’re healing. An experienced truck accident attorney will know how to look into these possibilities and figure out who is truly at fault.

Consider the story of our client, Zack. As a pedestrian, he was struck by a speeding delivery driver and now lives with a brain injury and leg damage. During our investigation, we found that not only was the driver reckless, but the trucking company offered the bare minimum in training and ignored the driver’s tarnished record. As a result of this hard work, Crosley Law was able to secure a settlement of $9 million in mediation.

RELATED: Who Is Liable in a Commercial Truck Accident?

2. Evidence Is Hard to Track Down

Evidence from motor vehicle crashes comes from witnesses at the accident scene, video footage, analysis of damage and injuries, the police report, and other sources. These pieces are critical to your case and can be quite difficult to gather up.

Commercial vehicles and drivers often have additional evidence in the form of maintenance records, driving logs, event data recorders, dash cam footage, and communications with managers and clients. That’s a lot of information that could be used to prove that truck driver was at fault in the accident—but there’s a problem. Trucking companies and their employers sometimes manipulate or destroy incriminating evidence; getting your hands on it before they have a chance to do so isn’t always easy.

We represented a mother after her daughter, Amanda, was killed when a tractor-trailer smashed into her car. Initially, the driver insisted that Amanda ran a red light. However, after a thorough investigation of dashcam footage and other data, we proved that the truck driver was the one at fault. Further, we learned that the trucking company intentionally hid this evidence from the investigators.   

A good attorney will not only know to look in all these places but will be aware of the importance of acting fast, before evidence can be lost or destroyed.

RELATED: Sophisticated Tactics Uncover a Trucker’s Negligence: J.T.’s Story

3. Serious Injuries Complicate Cases

Commercial vehicles tend to be large—especially big rig semi-trucks, which can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Just imagining the catastrophic injuries that kind of force can cause is horrific enough. Learning to live with them is a massive challenge.

When you or someone you love is trying to heal from a catastrophic injury, such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI), gathering the documentation needed for this kind of settlement or lawsuit can be overwhelming. Further, understanding the financial and mental costs of future care and treatment may be impossible.

RELATED: Proving “Invisible” Injuries After a Catastrophic truck Crash: Joshua’s Story

We’ve seen truck crash injuries upend people’s lives. Our client, Barb, suffered a severe TBI after her vehicle was literally run over by a big rig. Although she lived and regained most of her physical capabilities, the brain injury took her from being an independent person with a bright future to a shell of her former self.

This is where an experienced personal injury attorney is incredibly helpful. They have previous experience with serious injury cases, and work with networks of medical experts to accurately calculate what you need and deserve.

For Barb, we were able to secure a settlement of nearly $5 million.

RELATED: How Can I Be Compensated After a Concrete Mixer Truck Accident?

4. Talking to the Insurance Company Is Risky

Trucking companies and other commercial employers are fully aware of what happens when one of their employees causes an accident and injuries. To prepare, they maintain significant insurance policies to cover costs. In addition, they pay legal professionals to defend them aggressively.

It’s common for the at-fault party’s insurance company to contact an injured person soon after a crash. As friendly as they might sound, their goal in these conversations is to poke holes in your story, or get you to say or do something that they can use to deny or reduce your insurance claim. They may also quickly offer a settlement amount, before you really have a chance to find and review the facts.

Understand that, no matter how tempting the insurance adjuster makes it sound, the settlement is likely to be well below what you actually need and deserve.

Working with a lawyer means they’re the ones to talk to the insurance companies. They have a good idea of what a fair settlement looks like and know how to negotiate with adjusters.

RELATED: How Does Insurance Work With Commercial Truck Accident Liability?

5. You Need Legal Guidance if Comparative Fault Is Involved

Texas observes a rule of modified comparative fault, which can quickly complicate things if you’ve been injured by a commercial vehicle.  

Comparative fault is a legal doctrine that says financial compensation can be awarded even when both “sides” of a case bear some fault for what happened. If responsibility is shared, the compensation is reduced according to the percentage of fault.

Investigating a case involving comparative fault is complex, and it’s well worth it to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer. You’re far more likely to obtain fair compensation with legal representation.

In Texas, the rule is modified to cap how liable someone can be and still secure compensation. If you were injured because of the actions of a commercial driver, and you were partially responsible for the accident, you can still be compensated as long as you’re not more than 50% at fault.  

So, for example, if a semi-truck rear ended you, but it was determined that you entered the lane too closely to the front of the truck, you may be found 30% at fault for the accident. If you were originally eligible for $100,000, that compensation would be reduced by 30%, leaving you with $70,000.

Investigating a case involving comparative fault is complex, and it’s well worth it to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer. You’re far more likely to obtain fair compensation with legal representation.

RELATED: How to Get a Fair Settlement in Your Truck Accident Claim

Crosley Law Truck Accident Lawyers Help San Antonians Get Justice After Commercial Vehicle Accidents

At Crosley Law, we are highly experienced with commercial vehicle cases, and in fact it’s one of our preferred types of cases to represent. We have developed an extensive network of accident and medical experts we work with, who use advanced methods to help us thoroughly investigate the situation and how your life had changed.

We begin every case with a free consultation, where we get to know you and your story to determine the best path forward.

Take some time to read the client stories in this article, as well as the significant settlement amounts in our top cases. Our law firm has worked on numerous truck accidents to help clients recover from medical bills and lost wages.

Also be aware that we begin every case with a free consultation, where we get to know you and your story to determine the best path forward.

When you’re ready, call (210) LAW-3000 | (210) 529-3000 or fill in the simple contact form on our website to get in touch with an experienced truck accident lawyer. We look forward to hearing from and working with you!    

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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