The National Safety Council reports that deaths from large truck accidents increased by 33% from 2011 to 2020. Some years see fewer incidents than others, but the overall trend is concerning.
Santa Clara County has seen its share of these crashes, and they often make headline news. Regardless of the local or national trends, your situation deserves individual attention.
Accomplishing this task is stressful to take on yourself. Accordingly, consider these top five reasons to hire a truck accident lawyer carefully. Your family’s future and well-being could depend on having this legal expertise.
1. Truck Accident Lawsuits Can Involve Multiple Parties
While they have their own complexities, many car accidents involve two parties. But, a truck accident claim can result in the need to demand compensation from several companies. The three most common businesses your lawyer can litigate against include the following:
- Trucking companies
- Truck drivers
- Loading companies
Trucking companies have many responsibilities to have the right to do business. If you get into an accident with one of their trucks, it is reasonable to assume they did not take care of one of these responsibilities. For instance, they could have fallen behind on drug screening or hired unqualified drivers.
A commercial truck driver can also have significant liabilities. Reckless driving, violating traffic laws, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are examples. Even a routine look into their history could uncover a long list of offenses that support your case.
Finally, the company that loads the cargo may become involved. They must guarantee that cargo remains secure during transport and distribute weight properly. If cargo contributed to your injuries or damages, your truck accident attorney needs to investigate further.
2. Commercial Trucking Insurance Companies Have Competing Interests
Ultimately, companies that insure commercial trucking companies have the same goals as others. They want to settle your case quickly and cheaply to avoid further losses. This reality means you cannot assume they care about your best interests.
Giving too much information is one of the most harmful things you can do to your case. Even responses to questions that seem innocent can supply evidence to dispute your claims.
For example, assume that you respond positively to a question like, “Do you feel better today?” They could record this answer and use it in court to show you did not suffer as much as you portrayed.
3. There Are More Complexities to Trucking Accidents
Interstate commerce in the United States is subject to much regulation and red tape. Consequently, these accidents can attract more legal issues as they move forward. Some of the most significant concerns to cover are:
- Federal legislation
- The size of commercial truck policies
- The increased likelihood of fatalities
- Investigating the damage to several vehicles
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration separates commercial trucking legislation into four categories. There are regulations, drug and alcohol testing, hazardous material handling, and safety standards. If your case crosses into many areas of the law, your case can become lost in a maze of liabilities.
The sheer size of the insurance filing requirements also contributes to the complexity. The FMCSA requires freight forwarders to have policies with minimums from $750,000 to $5 million. Furthermore, commercial trucks that carry passengers must have at least $1.5 million or $5 million policies.
Regrettably, the nature of trucking accidents means that deaths are more likely. Semis can weigh twenty or thirty times more than smaller vehicles. As a result, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says passengers suffer the most after a truck accident.
Furthermore, crashes involving commercial trucks tend to involve multiple vehicles. Since they have a much longer braking distance, their momentum can cause mass devastation on highways or freeways.
4. You May Not Know the Entire Story
You may find comfort in believing the trucks on the road with you belong to safe and responsible companies. Unfortunately, while truck drivers must carry a commercial driver’s license, some people are hired without one.
Additionally, drivers who possess a commercial license may not have been properly trained by their employer. Therefore, they were not prepared to react in the event of an accident or did not know what precautions to take before transporting cargo.
The trucking company must conduct thorough background checks before hiring, ensuring each candidate is qualified for the job. It is also the company’s responsibility to train all drivers before allowing them to begin working.
A personal injury lawyer has experience uncovering negligent hiring actions and lack of training from truck companies, as accidents are not always a result of a negligent truck driver. Truck accident lawyers can also find evidence of other factors that contributed to the accident.
5. Commercial Trucking Accidents Often Involve Significant Injuries
The scale of commercial trucking accidents is enormous. Even a minor accident can cause lifelong health complications for victims due to the nature of these unfortunate events.
A telling fact from the IIHS demonstrates the severity of the damage commercial trucks can cause. According to their research, 97% of the deaths in two-vehicle crashes in 2020 involved a large truck.
The most common injuries help reveal how a statistic like this could happen. Victims typically suffer from conditions like:
- Brain injuries
- Bone fractures
- Deep lacerations
- Back and neck injuries
Any of these injuries could require a lifetime of follow-up treatments. For illustration, consider what can happen after a traumatic brain injury. Researchers have found that twice as many patients with TBI were worse than they were after 18 years of treatment.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Are you still hesitant to hire a truck accident lawyer?
If there is one lesson to take from this article, it is that trucking accidents have complicated concerns. Additionally, it is hard for the victim of a crash in the San Jose area to have confidence they know every detail.
You owe it to yourself and your best interests to discuss the details in a free consultation. Request an evaluation with a truck accident lawyer through our website or call 650-900-7514 today.