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Truck Accidents and Insurance Company Offers

May 31, 2024 - Truck Accidents by

According to TRIP, a National Transportation Research Nonprofit, in 2022, Alabama’s freight system moved 590 million tons of freight, valued at $448 billion. The TRIP report also found that 15 percent of travel on Alabama’s Interstate highways and 20 percent of travel on its rural Interstate highways is by combination trucks.

The TRIP report further notes that from 2017 to 2021, the number of fatalities in large truck accidents nationwide increased by 18 percent, from 4,906 to 5,788.  Approximately five of six people killed in crashes involving a large truck were occupants of the other vehicle involved in the accident or pedestrians or bicyclists. 

Due to commercial trucks’ sheer size and weight, truck accidents often result in severe injuries and significant property damage. The aftermath of these accidents can be daunting, involving complex legal and insurance issues. Understanding the interplay between truck accidents, personal injury law, and insurance company settlement offers is crucial for victims seeking compensation and justice.

The Complexity of Truck Accidents

Truck accidents differ significantly from standard automobile accidents. The severity of the injuries and the complexity of the liability issues make these cases unique. Factors contributing to truck accidents include driver fatigue, mechanical failures, overloaded cargo, and adverse weather conditions. The involvement of multiple parties—such as the truck driver, trucking company, and potentially even the truck manufacturer or its parts—adds layers of complexity to determining fault.

Additionally, the federal and state regulatory schemes are important in evaluating a trucking accident. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations play a pivotal role in these cases. Truck drivers and companies must adhere to strict guidelines regarding driving hours, maintenance schedules, and load limits. Violations of these regulations can be critical evidence in personal injury cases. The State of Alabama has its own laws for commercial truck drivers, including qualifications to obtain a Commercial Drivers License. Federal and state regulations cover safety inspections, alcohol, drug and cell phone use, and numerous other aspects of the trucking industry.

Personal Injury Law and Truck Accidents

Personal injury law provides a legal framework for victims to seek compensation for their injuries and losses. Establishing liability is often the most challenging aspect of truck accident cases. Victims must prove that the truck driver or trucking company was negligent and that this negligence directly caused the accident and resulting injuries.

Negligence can be established by demonstrating:

  1. Duty of Care: The truck driver and trucking company had a legal obligation to ensure the safety of other road users.
  2. Breach of Duty: This duty was breached through actions such as reckless driving, fatigue, or failure to maintain the truck properly.
  3. Causation: The breach of duty directly caused the accident.
  4. Damages: The victim suffered compensable damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

In addition to negligence, personal injury claims may involve strict liability if a defective part caused the accident. In such cases, the manufacturer or distributor of the defective part may be held liable.

The Role of Insurance Companies

Insurance companies are integral to the process of compensating victims of truck accidents. Commercial trucking insurance policies typically have higher coverage limits than standard automobile policies due to the potential for catastrophic damages. However, insurance companies are also businesses seeking to minimize their payouts.

When a truck accident occurs, the at-fault party’s insurance company will often quickly make an initial settlement offer. These offers may seem substantial at first but are frequently lower than the claim’s actual value. Insurance adjusters aim to protect their company’s financial interests, and their offers may not fully account for future medical expenses, long-term care, lost earning capacity, or non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

Evaluating Insurance Company Offers

Evaluating an insurance company’s offer requires careful consideration of several factors:

  • Immediate and Long-Term Medical Costs: Initial treatment costs are just the beginning. Victims may require ongoing medical care, rehabilitation, or even permanent assistance.
  • Loss of Income: Compensation should cover not only current lost wages but also any reduction in future earning capacity.
  • Non-Economic Damages: Pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life are significant components of a fair settlement.
  • Legal Fees and Costs: Personal injury cases often involve substantial legal expenses. A fair settlement should include provisions for these costs.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a truck accident, you should consult with a Tuscaloosa truck accident lawyer.  Attorneys specializing in truck accident cases understand the tactics of insurance companies and can negotiate on behalf of the victim to ensure a fair settlement.

Legal Representation By A Tuscaloosa Truck Accident Lawyer

Hiring a personal injury attorney with experience in truck accident cases can significantly impact the outcome of a claim. These attorneys provide several critical services:

  • Case Investigation: Attorneys will thoroughly investigate the accident, gathering evidence such as police reports, witness statements, and expert testimony to establish liability.
  • Negotiation: Experienced attorneys negotiate with insurance companies to secure a settlement that fully compensates the victim.
  • Litigation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached, attorneys are prepared to take the case to court.

Attorneys also ensure that victims do not inadvertently waive their rights. Insurance companies may require claimants to sign waivers or release forms that limit their ability to pursue further compensation. Legal representation ensures that victims fully understand the implications of any documents they sign.

Seek Legal Guidance from a Skilled Truck Accident Attorney

Truck accidents present unique challenges in personal injury law due to the severity of injuries, the complexity of liability, and the tactics employed by insurance companies. Victims must navigate federal regulations, intricate liability issues, and substantial medical and economic impacts. Understanding the interplay between these elements is crucial for securing fair compensation.

A Tuscaloosa truck accident lawyer can play a vital role in advocating for you, negotiating with insurance companies, and ensuring that settlements reflect the true extent of damages. Contact  Cross & Smith, LLC today at 877-791-0608.

Hear What Our Clients Have To Say

"We realize there are many options for representation out there, and we talked with several of the “big names” before finding Cross and Smith. With the others, it felt like we were being bullied, in a tank with hungry sharks. We are still receiving junk mail from some. We are SO thankful we were referred to Justin Smith (Cross and Smith) for our accident claim. He and his team were absolutely amazing."
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