Getting in an accident with an 18-wheeler or another type of commercial truck can be a catastrophic experience. The cause of such complications- Regarding the driver, the truck owner, the transportation company, the cargo, and state or federal regulations for driver workload and cargo limits. It is always best to hire a personal injury attorney after a truck accident. Before that let’s find out, what is the difference between a truck accident and a car accident.
At first glance, the question “what is the difference between a truck accident and a car accident” may seem straightforward. The obvious difference is that one involves a truck—which is often quite large—and the other does not. But at Breaux Law Firm, we know that there is a much more complicated, in-depth answer to this question.
If an accident happens, it’s the commercial insurance company and the driver’s employer who are responsible for the damage caused. If you are involved in an accident with a truck, you may need to deal with the truck driver, their employer, the truck owner (as drivers often lease their trucks). Possibly even additional third parties, like the loaders of the cargo or any applicable insurance companies.
A truck driver is either employed by a company or is a contract worker. This means the trucking company’s liability could be different in either case. And what’s worse, the trucking company may try to hide this information from you by falsely claiming that the truck driver is a contractor! Without a doubt, the trucking company will use their legal team to attempt to refute your claim or their liability. The company’s goal is to deny responsibility for the crash and pay you as little as possible.
A truck accident is sometimes caused by the way the cargo was loaded or a truck may have defective equipment. Many times truck drivers and company employees drive vehicles with faulty equipment. And they can also be liable for damages. For this reason, trucking companies are often required to conduct pre-trip and post-trip inspections. Furthermore, truck drivers should not drive a vehicle with defective equipment. The safety of drivers on the road should be the top priority for all parties involved!
When an 18-wheeler is loaded to capacity, it can weigh in the tens of thousands of pounds. Because trucks often weigh 20-30 times more than a passenger vehicle. A truck accident tends to result in more damage, a greater likelihood of death. A more expensive claim than the typical car crash between passenger vehicles. While truck drivers can be liable for damages. The responsibility often falls on the transportation company that has hired the driver. Being involved in driving commercial vehicles can cause high risk. This is why transportation companies have very large commercial auto insurance policies to cover their trucks in Louisiana.
If a company has large auto insurance policies, that does not mean they will willing to accept responsibility. They will also refuse to pay a fair amount for damages caused by their trucks or their drivers.! These companies will not hesitate to take advantage of a truck accident victim even without legal representation. They trying to navigate a claim on their own by offering an initial coverage amount that is much too low. These commercial truck insurance companies can be incredibly difficult to deal with.
There are plenty of safety regulations around how long a driver can work. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service states that a commercial truck driver is “allowed a period of 14 consecutive hours. In which to drive up to 11 hours after being off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours.” That means you may be sharing the road with someone who has been driving up to 11 hours straight. And that goes for truckers who follow regulations, whereas others may disregard the rules! Truck driver fatigue is real—and dangerous.
Due to the complicated causes of trucking accidents, the large numbers of parties who may share liability, and the severity of the damage, investigating a truck accident can be a time-consuming process requiring the expertise and research of an experienced personal injury attorney, like our team at Breaux Law Firm.
A personal injury attorney will be able to investigate and understand your truck accident. For example, it’s important to first establish the type of vehicle you’ve been in an accident with, which determines the insurance coverage and payout. A truck may be a commercial vehicle, which can include vans, buses, and smaller trucks. According to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety Office of Motor Vehicles, commercial vehicles are used on public highways for business use, with the exclusion of vehicles used for religious purposes. Commercial vehicles must follow regulations on weight limit, material transportation, driver workload, and how many passengers can be present. Intrastate and interstate commercial vehicles also may be required to follow different laws and regulations. The US Department of Transportation number must be visible on the outside of the commercial vehicle. Using this number, the attorneys at Breaux Law Firm can find out who owns and insures the truck.
As part of their investigation, a personal injury lawyer will know to check the black box on the truck, review mobile phone records, evaluate the driver’s driving history for negligence, and determine if the vehicle inspections are up to date.
When a truck, big rig, 18-wheeler, or other commercial vehicle is involved in an accident, the company that employs the driver will have a legal team and adjusters investigate the incident from their end. Lawyers for trucking and commercial transportation companies, along with the auto policy’s insurance adjusters, will be working hard to avoid or reduce liability.
In order to avoid liability, insurance adjusters will find ways to avoid paying out large sums of money to the injured, especially because the payouts can be in the millions of dollars. If, for any reason, the adjuster can reduce the fault of the driver and instead turn the blame on the other party, they will. There is always a chance that the claim could be denied or reduced.
That is why it’s important for someone who finds themselves involved in an accident with a commercial truck to hire a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Trucking and commercial vehicle accidents are not like regular car accidents simply because the size of the vehicle will most likely cause significant damage, and the parties involved will fight to deny responsibility. The difference between a truck accident and a car accident is huge.
A personal injury lawyer, like the attorneys at Breaux Law Firm, can help you deal with insurance adjusters, determine if the driver of the truck was not following state and federal safety regulations, get you the compensation you may need for injuries or property damage, and get your medical bills sorted out.
Breaux Law Firm has handled hundreds of 18-wheeler accidents in Louisiana. Our law firm in New Orleans knows the complexities of the commercial trucking industry. And also knows why is a Difference Between a Truck Accident and Car Accident. With our experience and personal touch, we will do our best to get the compensation you deserve after being involved in a truck or big rig accident in Louisiana. Reach out to us today for a free consultation.