- 1. 1. Determining Liability Is Complex
- 2. 2. Evidence Is Hard to Track Down Without a Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer
- 3. 3. Serious Injuries Complicate Cases
- 4. 4. Talking to the Insurance Company Is Risky
- 5. 5. You Need a Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer if Comparative Fault Is Involved
- 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 commercial vehicle accident lawyer to demand compensation for your losses.
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.
When a commercial vehicle crash caused your injuries, 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 digs into the reasons you need to talk to a lawyer after a commercial motor vehicle accident. It will also outline what to expect if a semi-truck, delivery van, or another commercial vehicle injures you or someone you love. Finally, we’ll offer specifics on what an attorney can do to help you secure the compensation you deserve.
1. Determining Liability Is Complex
When a traffic crash happens, someone is at fault (liable). When a wreck only involves private cars, Texas law usually assigned fault to one (or both) of the drivers.
But if a commercial vehicle causes an accident, it might be because the truck driver was careless or reckless. And the employer might have provided poor training or expected too many hours behind the wheel. 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 follow 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.
Companies hire and contract with a lot of people, and any one of them could be partially liable when the rules are broken and an accident is the result.
It’s not easy to identify all the at-fault parties and legal claims, 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. He 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. Crosley Law was able to secure a settlement of $9 million in mediation.
2. Evidence Is Hard to Track Down Without a Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer
Evidence from motor vehicle crashes comes from many sources.
- Witnesses at the accident scene
- Video footage
- GPS, event recorder, and dash cam footage
- Driving logs and maintenance records
- Employment records
- Medical records
- Analysis of damages and injuries
- Expert witnesses
- The police report and other sources
These pieces are critical to your case and can be quite difficult to gather.
Commercial vehicles are unlike most passenger cars and trucks. They have complex electronic systems that track the truck’s every move. Their owners and operators must regularly inspect and repair the vehicles. Drivers must pass strict Department of Transportation (DOT) physicals.
That’s a lot of information that a personal injury lawyer can use 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 the company loses or destroys evidence.
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.
Gathering the documentation needed for this kind of settlement or lawsuit can be overwhelming, even if you’re not dealing with serious injuries. And understanding the financial and mental costs of future care and treatment may be impossible.
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 much of her independence.
This is where an experienced commercial vehicle accident lawyer 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.
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.
5. You Need a Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer if Comparative Fault Is Involved
Texas observes a rule of modified comparative fault, which can quickly complicate things if a negligent commercial vehicle or company driver injures you. Comparative fault is a legal doctrine that awards financial compensation even when both “sides” of a case bear some fault for what happened. If you share some responsibility for the crash, the insurance company can reduce your compensation by your percentage of fault. Texas modifies this rule: if someone is more than 50% at fault for a truck or commercial vehicle accident, they cannot receive any compensation.
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, the insured could reduce your compensation by 30%, leaving you with $70,000.
However, the insurance company might argue that your mistake was 51% to blame for the crash, so they don’t have to pay you anything.
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.A commercial vehicle accident lawyer can help you sort through evidence, pinpointing the exact causes of your wreck. Armed with this evidence, they can fight back against the insurance company’s claim that you were mostly to blame.
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 handle. We have 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.
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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