Before discussing compensation for a trucking accident, it’s important to recognize that a collision with a semi-truck or other commercial vehicle is very different from a crash with a car, motorcycle, or pickup truck.
First, after an accident, time is of the essence. In most cases, it is necessary to have an expert perform a download of the “black box” information from the truck to determine, for example, the speed of the truck and when the brakes were applied. Many trucks now also have on board video surveillance that can also be requested. In addition, trucking companies are only required to maintain documents like trip receipts for a short period of time – so the attorney has to request that all evidence from the driver related to the trip be maintained.
Second, a semi-truck is much larger than a passenger vehicle and can cause much more damage. If you were hurt in a crash with a semi-truck, your injuries might be more severe and may require additional medical treatment. As a result, you may receive more compensation for a trucking accident than you would if you were hurt in a crash with a passenger vehicle.
Third, semi-truck drivers are almost certainly covered by one or more commercial liability insurance policies. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FCMSA) requires that semi-trucks carry commercial carrier insurance so that there is money available to offer compensation for a trucking accident. It is not unusual to find commercial carrier insurance policies in the amount of $1 million or more. Often these policies do not follow the same rules and regulations that apply to a regular passenger vehicle. That’s why, if you were hurt in a crash with a semi-truck, it’s important that you work with a skilled and experienced trucking accident lawyer who can get you fair compensation for a trucking accident.
Factors Used to Evaluate Compensation for a Trucking Accident
In Ohio, the factors that will influence your compensation for a trucking accident include:
- the injuries you sustained
- the medical treatment that you received
- the economic damages sustained, such as cost of medical treatment and lost wages and
- any non-economic, emotional damages or losses you suffered
No Two Cases Are the Same
Just like other claims for personal injuries, no two semi-truck accidents are the same.
Take, for example, a healthy 30 year old woman with no pre-existing conditions who was involved in a crash with a semi truck and sustained a torn rotator cuff. She would be taken to the hospital, treated for the rotator cuff tear, and would undergo a course of physical therapy.
This would present a very different case from someone who was involved in a collision with a semi truck and sustained multiple compound fractures, ended up in a coma, and was hospitalized for 6 months. Both people were injured in a crash with a semi-truck, but one person sustained more severe injuries and, therefore, will be entitled to more compensation for a trucking accident.
Establishing Corporate Negligence Can Lead to Higher Compensation for a Trucking Accident
Truck accident cases are unique because you are allowed to sue a corporate defendant, such as the corporation that hired the truck driver, the broker that arranged the trip, and even the shipper of the goods being transported at the time under certain circumstances. If you can establish control over the load and driver, suing a corporate entity often results in higher compensation for a trucking accident case.
If you were injured by the driver of another car and you go to trial in Ohio, you cannot tell the jury that there is an insurance company protecting that driver. Even though the jury is not supposed to consider the effect of a verdict on a person’s financial situation, juries are often reluctant to return a high verdict when they fear that it might financially cripple the defendant. This often results in lower compensation for a car accident case than in an accident involving a semi-truck.
Semi-trucks are also subject to different regulations that a driver a passenger car does not have to follow. Truck drivers are supposed to follow hours of service regulations to prevent fatigued driving, and are subject to mandatory post-accident drug and alcohol screening. Unfortunately, many drivers ignore these rules and drive when they are overly tired because of pressure to deliver on time.
In a trucking accident case, you can claim that corporate negligence, like failing to perform regular maintenance, safety violations, improper vehicle or tire maintenance, or overloading, contributed to the cause of your injury. This often results in higher compensation for a trucking accident case because it is a corporate policy, rather than an individual, who is to blame.
Cases against trucking companies are complex. They often cover multiple states and multiple defendants, and often involve catastrophic injuries. That’s why it’s important that you hire a skilled and experienced lawyer who knows the ins and outs of trucking litigation and can maximize your compensation for a trucking accident.
Seeking Compensation for a Trucking Accident?
If you’ve been hurt in an accident with a semi-truck, it’s important that you speak with a skilled and experienced Ohio trucking accident attorney as quickly as possible. Contact the experienced trucking accident attorneys at the Robenalt Law Firm today for a free consultation to discuss your case. Call 216-223-7535, complete our online form, or email [email protected].
Tom Robenalt started his litigation career representing trucking companies at a large firm in Cleveland. For the past 20 years, he has used that experience to help victims and the families of those injured to secure compensation for trucking accidents.