The Difference Between a Car Accident and Truck Accident Claim
Truck accidents are devastating collisions that often cause life-changing injuries, especially to the occupants of the smaller vehicle. When it comes to pursuing financial compensation for a truck accident in Alabama, you may have to contend with several unique issues. Commercial truck accident claims are not like typical car accident insurance claims. For this reason, it is important to hire a truck accident attorney in Birmingham to help you navigate this type of claim.
The Liable Party
After a typical car accident, you will file a claim with the at-fault driver’s car insurance company. In general, a Birmingham car accident lawyer handling your car accident claim will not involve any other parties. After a commercial truck accident, however, your claim will most likely involve not just the truck driver, but the trucking company, its insurance carrier and its legal team. These are powerful adversaries to go up against on your own.
A trucking company has resources that an individual driver does not; for example, most companies have rapid response teams (investigators) that will appear at the scene of the accident almost immediately. During a truck accident claim, you may need to hire an attorney to level the playing field so that you have a fair chance of receiving the settlement that you deserve. Otherwise, the trucking company and its team of attorneys may take advantage of you.
What Evidence Is Needed In Truck Accident Claims?
Truck accident claims are also unique in terms of the evidence that is often available. Truck companies and their drivers must comply with special recordkeeping requirements. This can result in unique types of evidence to support a truck accident lawsuit, such as:
- Driver logs
- Event data recorders
- The black box
- Truck driver’s medical history (e.g., sleep apnea)
- Truck driver’s driving record and qualifications
- Trucking company compliance history
- Truck maintenance and repair records
- Truck inspection reports
- Cell phone records
- In-cab camera footage
An experienced personal injury attorney in Birmingham can revisit the scene of your truck accident to search for any physical evidence or proof of fault. If necessary, your lawyer can issue subpoenas or file letters of preservation that legally require the trucking company to hand over evidence that is relevant to the case.
Laws Pertaining to the Trucking Industry
Recordkeeping rules are not the only special requirements in place for trucking companies. All common carriers must obey a long list of federal rules and regulations that are enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. There are rules that apply to trucking companies, truck drivers, truck owner/operators, maintenance crews and cargo companies.
Examples of these rules include hours-of-service restrictions for truck drivers to prevent drowsy driving, cargo securement rules and fleet maintenance standards. If any of these federal laws are violated, this may be evidence of the truck driver or trucking company’s negligence and fault for the accident.
The Severity of the Crash
A crash involving a large truck can easily be catastrophic. The immense size and weight of an 18-wheeler or tractor-trailer put smaller vehicles at a disadvantage. In this type of accident, the smaller vehicle could get crushed or completely obliterated. The severity of the average truck accident makes it important for an injured victim to protect his or her rights by hiring a lawyer.
What Insurance Coverage Is Available in a Truck Accident Claim?
Finally, a truck accident claim will involve greater insurance coverage than a passenger car crash. Truck companies are required to carry higher insurance amounts than the average driver in Alabama. While it may not be easy to receive the financial compensation that you deserve from an insurance company, the amount available is greater.
A skilled Birmingham truck accident attorney can assist you in recovering an amount that is adequate for the full extent of your injuries and losses. A lawyer will understand all of the nuances of this type of case, including what makes them unique and complex. This will give you an advantage during negotiations with an insurance provider.