If a truck accident causes personal injury or vehicular damage, the injured party can seek compensation. You can either file an insurance claim or a lawsuit. However, receiving payment after being injured in this type of accident is slightly more complicated than in other auto accidents. For commercial vehicles, the claim is typically against the trucking company rather than the person driving the truck.
According to the National Safety Council, 107,000 truck accidents, which resulted in injuries, occurred in the United States in 2020. Although this figure shows a 10% decrease from 2019, it still highlights the high number of injuries from annual trucking accidents. Therefore, read on to know what you should do if this happens to you or a loved one.
Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident?
A variety of parties may be responsible for truck accidents. However, the parties that are most commonly liable for truck accidents include the truck driver, the trucking company, the vehicle manufacturer, and the government agency responsible for that part of the road.
Where the truck driver’s negligence caused the accident, the driver can be held liable.
Common examples of truck driver negligence include the following:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving while distracted (e.g., using a mobile phone or tuning the radio)
- Failing to drive safely for the conditions (e.g., driving too fast in the snow)
- Following the vehicle ahead too closely
- Operating a vehicle that the driver knows is unsafe
Insurance companies generally resolve truck accident claims by providing insurance settlements to claimants. However, some states allow a person to sue the truck driver personally if the compensation doesn’t sufficiently cover their losses or for noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering.
For commercial trucks, suing the company rather than the driver is more beneficial to the claimant. This is because the company, as opposed to the driver, has the financial resources to provide sufficient compensation.
The Vehicle Manufacturer
Faulty or defective parts can also cause truck accidents. Therefore, truck manufacturers are responsible for the safety of their products. When authorities establish that a flawed part caused the accident, the manufacturer can be held liable and will be required to pay compensation.
The affected party can file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, claiming that the manufacturer’s negligence caused the accident and the resulting injury.
The Government Agency
Government agencies must ensure that the roads they maintain are safe for motorists and that they do not cause any accidents. For example, if authorities find that a truck accident was caused by an improperly maintained or poorly constructed road, it may be possible to seek compensation from the government agency responsible for that particular patch of road.
Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, parties can take legal action against the government, provided they meet certain conditions. However, suing a government agency can be quite difficult, as they have a degree of immunity from legal action.
The Personal Injury Center can guide you through the legal process if you’re involved in a truck accident. We can pair you with a skilled personal injury lawyer to fight for your right to compensation. Find an experienced truck accident lawyer today by contacting our team.
What Types of Insurance Cover Truck Accidents
Commercial trucks or semi-trucks are legally required to hold insurance for a variety of situations. One type of compulsory insurance is commercial auto liability coverage, which compensates anyone who suffers personal injury or property damage due to a truck accident.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration outlines the minimum levels of commercial auto liability insurance coverage that trucks are required to have. These are usually for commercial trucks that travel across state lines. Depending on the truck’s weight and cargo, coverage can range from $300,000 to $500,000. For noncommercial or non-interstate vehicles, their state of origin determines the insurance a trucker must carry.
Insurance Requirements Vary by State
Depending on their state of origin, there are differences in the insurance types and minimum coverage amounts a trucker must hold. No-fault or at-fault (tort) states determine whether the injured party pursues compensation from their insurer or the at-fault party’s insurance company.
All motorists must carry Personal Injury Protection Insurance (PIP) in no-fault states, which covers them for personal injury or property damage if they are involved in an automobile accident. Here, it doesn’t matter whether a person is injured because of the truck driver or another person or if the accident was their fault. They can always claim compensation by filing a car accident claim with their insurer.
In at-fault states, motorists are required to hold minimum liability insurance, which will compensate anyone who suffers personal injury or property damage due to their negligence.
For truck accidents in at-fault states, the injured party files an insurance claim with the truck driver’s insurance company if the driver was at fault. However, if the accident was caused by a manufacturing defect or a poorly maintained road, then the injured party might be able to file a claim with either the at-fault party’s insurer or commence legal action.
When To File a Personal Injury Claim vs. a Lawsuit
Filing a personal injury insurance claim, rather than a lawsuit, is generally the most appropriate step if you’re involved in a truck accident. Litigation can be expensive, time-consuming, and doesn’t guarantee a successful outcome.
After receiving a claim, the insurance company investigates the incident. If they accept that their client is at fault, they will make a settlement offer for any personal injury or property damage to the claimant. However, keep in mind that this is not always a fair settlement, as insurance providers have a financial incentive to limit the amount they pay.
Suppose the settlement offer isn’t sufficient for the severity of your injuries or damage. If the insurer denies liability, or a manufacturer or government agency is at fault, filing a lawsuit may be more beneficial. Find a skilled personal injury attorney to help determine your case’s most appropriate legal action.
Did you know?
According to the American Trucking Association, the driver shortage in 2021 topped at 80,000 drivers. The trucking industry may require twice as many drivers by 2030 if this continues.
Get Fair Compensation With the Help of The Personal Injury Center
Getting the assistance of The Personal Injury Center after a truck accident ensures that you’re fully aware of your legal options and that you receive the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free case evaluation with us today.
We at The Personal Injury Center aim to provide the necessary information to help you deal with untoward incidents, such as accidents. Explore your legal options and sign up for a free case evaluation today.
FAQs on Suing After a Truck Accident
For truck accident claims, you need specific evidence that a lawyer can use to strengthen your case. Evidence includes black-box data or footage from dash cams, log books, maintenance records, and the trucker’s personal file.
After a truck accident, the most critical first step is to call an ambulance. Regardless of whether the injuries appear serious, injured persons should receive emergency medical care. Afterward, contact a personal injury lawyer who can guide you through the legal process and ensure you have any evidence you may need.
If you’re successful in suing the at-fault party in a truck accident, you can receive compensation for various economic and noneconomic losses, including vehicle damage, medical expenses, lost income or wages, and pain and suffering.