Getting in a serious auto accident with another driver is enough for anyone to handle. Accidents involving 18-wheelers and large commercial trucks is a much different animal. Dealing with personal injury claims arising from these types of accidents is much more complicated than settling after a fender-bender; below, we lay out a few things to know.
1. Injuries resulting from trucking accidents are often catastrophic.
The average 18-wheeler is a dozen times heavier than a typical passenger vehicle. This fact alone makes the possibility of serious—even catastrophic—injuries much more likely. Combine the unloaded weight of 18-wheelers with cargo weight, and many big rigs on the road can be 50 times heavier than typical cars. The impact of 80,000 pounds against a sedan can be considerable.
2. The severity of trucking-accident injuries raises the stakes.
Everything is more significant with the aftermath of an accident involving 18-wheelers—injuries, insurance payouts, and the number of parties involved (more on that below). Because a significant amount of money is at stake for the trucking company’s insurance carrier, the adjuster often orders rigorous investigations and top-tier accident reconstruction experts.
3. Finding the liable party can be more challenging.
In most auto accidents involving passenger vehicles, the responsible party is fairly obvious. One driver sped, ran a red light, or violated some other rule of the road. Trucking accidents are not so clear-cut.
Even if an 18-wheeler driver disregarded safe driving practices, the liability may ultimately fall to the driver’s employer. For instance, the employer might have scheduled the driver for an unlawfully long shift or neglected required screening protocols. In other cases, the cargo loader could have improperly placed the cargo inside the cab. Sometimes, though, the liability party is simply the truck driver.
4. Victims must deal with multiple insurance policies.
Just as determining the liable party in a trucking accident can be more challenging, wading through various insurance policies can be confusing. As long as the driver is an employee (and not an independent contractor), the driver will be covered under a policy. The company may also have insurance policies on the truck itself and/or the cargo. Identifying the right insurance policy to make a claim against can be tricky.
What Should You Do If You Get in a Serious Accident?
After getting medical attention and calling the police, your first call should be to an experienced and knowledgeable Missouri personal injury attorney. Claims involving large commercial trucks are complex, and victims often have to file lawsuits to obtain needed compensation.
Ryan R. Cox & Associates has spent years helping victims and their families get what they deserve after catastrophic car and truck accidents. Call our team at (636) 946-6886 for help getting back on your feet.