If you have been involved in an accident with a tractor trailer truck, there are many things that you already know. You know that a crash with a big truck is extremely frightening and life-altering. You know that a crash with a big truck can cause you pain and injury. You know that a crash can cost a tremendous amount of money because you need to repair or replace your car. You know that you also need to pay your medical bills for the injuries you have related to the crash. On top of all of this, you may be out of work due to your injury, or left without a reliable vehicle to use when commuting to work. You also know that filing a lawsuit to get compensation for your damages sounds like a possible avenue for help. As you consider filing a lawsuit, also consider these three things that you may not already know about truck accidents:
- When you file a lawsuit against the driver of the truck, you will also most likely be suing his employer. The vast majority of tractor trailer trucks are driven by employees of trucking companies or large retail companies. Drivers of these trucks have agreements with their employer about who will pay for the injuries of another driver in the event of an accident, and the employer will assume liability in most cases. If the employer assumes liability, they will hire an attorney to defend against your claim. Because commercial employers typically have more money than regular people, you will likely face an experienced defense attorney who has dealt with many big truck lawsuits.
- In addition to suing the driver and the employer, an insurance company for the driver and employer may get involved. In addition to the driver’s employer being involved, the driver’s insurance company and the insurance company for the employer will likely want to have a seat at the table during the litigation because it will be their money on the line. This means that you may have multiple defense attorneys, all working against you to protect their interests. There may even be conflict between the multiple defense attorneys, making it difficult to tell what is going on in any potential settlement negotiations.
- Your insurance company will be involved, too. Your insurance company will also be in the mix. Though it may seem like your insurance company is on your side, remember that it is in their best interest to pay you as little as possible so that they stand a better chance of recovering their costs from the tractor-trailer driver. Lawyers for insurance companies also typically have very high caseloads and they may be willing to settle your claim with the driver’s or employer’s insurance company for a fraction of what you believe it is worth, just to close the file quickly. Dot not accept a settlement offer from your insurance company without talking to your own lawyer, first.
Filing any lawsuit can be complicated, but because most tractor-trailer trucks are commercial there is another layer or two of complication. In summary, you may be facing multiple attorneys representing multiple parties, none of whom have your true best interests at heart. To protect your legal claim, call a competent and professional attorney right away. A Decatur truck accident attorney with experience in personal injury truck litigation will know your story, they will know your case, and they will know how to help.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their knowledge about truck accidents.