Getting into a motor vehicle crash with a large commercial vehicle could cause a lot of upheaval and stress for you and your family. The large size of commercial trucks often means that they cause catastrophic damage to other vehicles, as well as severe injuries to the people in the smaller passenger vehicles involved in a crash.
You may have to worry about covering the costs of medical care, as well as the loss of your wages during your convalescence and the expense of replacing or repairing your motor vehicle. While you may have a decent auto insurance policy, your policy protects you from liability if you cause a crash with someone else.
You will have other options available for compensation in a collision caused by a commercial driver. The three most common forms of compensation may be available to you individually, or you may be able to seek a combination of these different kinds of compensation.
Injured drivers may receive a payout from the commercial driver’s insurance
Perhaps the simplest and most straightforward way to get compensation after a crash caused by another driver is to make a claim against their insurance policy. The average commercial driver, whether they work for themselves or for a large transport company, will have significant liability coverage on their vehicle.
Provided that you have adequate documentation and are able to negotiate with the insurance company, you may be able to secure a settlement offer that accurately reflects the impact of the accident on you and your family.
However, policies have their limits, and the more severe the injuries you and others suffered in the crash, the more compensation you will need to offset their impact on your life. Sometimes, insurance on its own simply isn’t enough.
You can potentially hold a commercial driver personally responsible
If a commercial driver did something particularly negligent or illegal that led to the crash, you may have grounds to bring a lawsuit against them. Whether they work for a company or have their own small business, you may be able to pursue compensation beyond what insurance is able to offer.
Like with most personal injury cases, you will need to demonstrate to the courts that the driver was either negligent or breaking the law at the time of the collision. Impairment, fatigue, speeding and texting at the wheel are all examples of driving decisions that could lead to personal injury lawsuits.
Sometimes, you can hold a company accountable for systemic issues
While the driver may have been the one who caused the crash, it’s possible that their employer put them in a situation where they had no choice but to make a bad decision. Too many commercial trucking companies expect their drivers to work incredibly long shifts, meet very tight schedules and even use their phones while on duty in some cases.
If you are able to secure documentation that shows a company culture that encourages or requires rule-breaking on the part of drivers or if shoddy maintenance to the commercial vehicle played a role in the crash, you may be able to hold the company that employed the driver responsible for the injury you suffered.