Trucks are everywhere — without the service of a truck driver it would be more challenging to get retail goods including medication, food, and clothing. While there is no specific breakdown for truck accidents versus bus accidents, LSU.edu1 offers the following data:
- During 2019 there were 2,724 accidents involving a bus or truck resulting in injury
- During 2019 there were 103 accidents resulting in a fatality due to a bus or truck crash
These numbers are significant and as a result, the office of Alvendia Kelly & Demarest often gets questions about what happens when more than one party is responsible. For example, a trucker may be the operator of a truck and failed to maintain control of the truck causing an accident, but if their employer failed to properly maintain the truck, they may also be partially responsible. This complicates filing claims and reaching a settlement for your injuries.
Investigations Following a Truck Accident
Filing an insurance claim will automatically result in insurance company adjusters starting an investigation. The reason is because insurance companies want to minimize their losses. Ultimately, depending on various factors, you may be able to hold multiple parties responsible for your injuries including:
- Truck driver — if the operator of the vehicle acted negligently because of speeding, drowsy driving, distracted driving or operating under the influence, you may have a claim against the driver’s policy.
- Driver’s employer — over the last few years, we have seen multiple reports pertaining to the shortage of truck drivers. This shortage often leads employers to cut corners such as failing to properly screen new drivers, failing to do complete training of drivers, and keeping drivers on the road for longer periods of time.
- Maintenance company — fleets of trucks owned by one company are often maintained by a third party. If the accident was partially caused by poor maintenance of the vehicle, the service provider may be partially liable for your injuries.
Additionally, you may have a claim against a manufacturing company if a part failed on the truck, or there was negligence by the party responsible for loading the truck. As you can see, there may be more than one party responsible which increases the likelihood of having to negotiate with multiple insurance companies. Truck accident injuries can be life-altering and this is why many victims need to file claims nearly immediately after the accident.
Insurance Company Adjusters and Claims
At AKD Law, we always tell victims of accidents to use caution when dealing with insurance company adjusters. While you may think they are treating you fairly, adjusters are specifically trained to obtain information which helps them refute the claims they are facing. Chances are, if you are dealing with multiple insurance companies, you are going to be contacted by different people asking the same questions in different ways to attempt to solicit different answers. The common things an adjuster will attempt to glean from conversations with you include:
- You were partially at fault — when an insurance company gets a claim, they are first interested in minimizing how much they must pay out. By getting you to admit you were partially at fault, they may have to pay a lower settlement.
- Injury minimizing tactics — insurance adjusters may also attempt to minimize the extent of your injuries by asking seemingly innocent questions like asking how you feel. They will likely request you sign a medical release for copies of your records — one thing they may do is review your past medical history to see if you had preexisting conditions which the accident may have exacerbated.
- Convincing you no better settlement will follow— the adjuster may also send you a written offer for a settlement and advise you this is the maximum settlement which will be offered. As part of the settlement, you will be asked to file a waiver that you will not pursue additional remedies. Do not sign anything sent to you from an insurance company prior to having a truck accident attorney review it first as you could be jeopardizing your rights to a fair settlement.
Working with an Attorney May Help
While you may think you can fight an insurance company on your own, remember you are up against not just the insurance company, but the team of high-priced lawyers they employ to minimize settlements. Multiply that by two or three times and you may not stand a chance of a reasonable settlement for your injuries without a strong advocate on your side.
Anytime you suffer an injury in a roadway accident, you probably have several questions and you are uncertain where to get reliable answers. Because truck accidents are more complicated than most car accidents, you likely are uncertain what steps to take following a truck accident. AKD Law is here to answer your questions and to serve as your advocate during this difficult time.
Compensation Potential After Truck Accidents
Victims of truck accidents are generally eligible to file a lawsuit to recover the costs of their medical bills. Medical bills include costs of emergency care, pain medication while you recover from your injuries, and your follow-up care including the costs of getting back and forth to appointments.
Additionally, you may also be eligible to recover compensation for time you lose from work as well as costs associated with rehabilitation therapy if it should be necessary to rejoin the workforce. For those victims of a truck accident who are unable to return to work, it may be possible to recover future wages as well.
Because there are so many variables involved in specific accident cases, it is impossible to tell you just how much compensation it may be possible to recover after you are involved in a truck accident. Contact AKD Law at (504) 200-0000 for a free case evaluation so you can make an informed decision about how to move forward.
1 http ://datareports.lsu. edu/Reports.aspx?yr=2019&rpt=A13b&p=ci