Private Car vs. Commercial Truck: Why You Need a Skilled Lawyer
Anyone who’s been in an accident with a commercial truck has likely suffered serious or catastrophic injuries. Not only is the vehicle damage more severe due to the size and weight of a big rig, increasing the risk of bodily injury or death, but the legal processes involved are more complicated.
Trucking companies usually have lawyers and insurance firms with reputations for ferociously defending themselves and minimizing any payouts as accidents can impact their insurance premiums. The best thing you can do if you’re involved in an accident with a commercial truck is to contact a trucking accident attorney as soon as possible.
Truckers Make Mistakes, Too
You would think that professional drivers are the best drivers on the road – they do it for a living! They have extra training! They have a special license! Unfortunately, commercial trucking is still the eighth most dangerous job in the U.S.
- Driver fatigue: Commercial truck drivers often have a tight schedule to follow. While there are laws that dictate hours of service, truckers commonly “push the limit” and continue driving, which may lead to them falling asleep at the wheel or having severely lowered awareness.
- Aggressive driving: Some truckers feel that their level of training and “professionalism” entitles them to drive more aggressively to meet a schedule. Aggressive driving can lead to fatal accidents.
- Speeding: A trucker’s pay relies on deliveries made within a strict time frame. Speeding, unfortunately, is a common habit for truckers who are running behind schedule. Speeding is a primary cause of large trucks going out of control, causing a jackknife or rollover.
- Use of drugs and alcohol: It is not uncommon for a truck driver to consume a few beers or take drugs. Any degree of impaired driving is hazardous and can be catastrophic – especially when operating large commercial trucks.
Who Is Responsible for an Accident With a Truck?
The subject of legal responsibility in an accident is more complicated when you’re dealing with a commercial trucker. You aren’t dealing with just one private person in his or her car – you have:
- The truck driver
- The trucking firm
- The maintenance crew
- The maintenance supervisor
- The company that loaded the truck
- The truck manufacturer
- The truck parts manufacturer (in system failures)
- The local municipality’s road maintenance department
- Other drivers involved in the collision
There are several factors involved in determining responsibility for the accident, and it isn’t always simple. Key questions must be asked – including:
- What action led to the accident?
- Was the driver distracted?
- Was the driver adequately supervised and trained?
- Did the trucking company run a background check on the driver?
- Was the truck properly maintained?
- Were all federal safety standards for large trucks followed?
Each of these and many more can impact the final assignment of responsibility and fault.
Commercial Insurance Policies for Trucks
Trucking companies have commercial insurance policies, and they have to continually fight to keep the premiums down to maintain their profit margins. With coverage in the range of $750,000 to millions of dollars, the trucking company’s ferocious lawyers and insurance adjusters will fight tooth-and-nail to avoid a payout or reduce the amount paid to an injured victim. The process itself can be overwhelming and make you feel hopeless if you try to take them on by yourself.
Experienced legal counsel is your best weapon – a lawyer who will relentlessly fight for your rights, for justice, and for full compensation. Call Aghabegian & Associates, PC, today at (818) 507-4311 for a free case consultation.