Commercial vehicle accidents typically result in injuries that range from serious to fatal. This is simply because of the sheer size of a commercial vehicle as compared to a standard passenger vehicle. At its maximum, a commercial vehicle can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds whereas a passenger car weighs 4,000 pounds on average. This disparity in size and weight causes a commercial vehicle, such as a tractor-trailer, to inflict heavy damage on the much smaller vehicles.
This is why it is critically important to file a claim for compensatory damages after a commercial vehicle crash. The amount recovered through such a claim helps you meet the medical costs of your injury as well as the costs of having your damaged vehicle repaired or replaced.
Before you actually file a claim for damages, it is important to understand various aspects of a commercial vehicle accident. Here is a look at these.
What to do After Commercial Vehicle Accidents?
When you end up in commercial vehicle accidents, it is important to take the right steps right after the crash. The right steps allow you to stay safe, guard your legal rights, and ensure that you are able to recover a fair compensation down the road. These steps include:
- Getting Medical Attention: As noted above, commercial vehicle accidents usually result in serious to critical injuries. Even if you are fortunate enough to avoid such an injury, you must undergo medical treatment right after the crash. On one hand, this allows you to have any internal or hidden injuries diagnosed at the earliest. On the other hand, this ensures that you can cite your medical treatment when you later file a claim for damages.
- Notify The Authorities: If you are conscious and able, call 911 and report the incident. Reporting a crash that involves property damage, injury, or death is a legal requirement under North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 20.
- Provide a Statement: Once law enforcement personnel reaches the scene of the accident, you will be asked to provide a statement. When giving the statement, make sure you stick to the facts. At this stage, it is important not to admit fault or blame anyone for the crash.
- Get Relevant Information: If you are physically able and conscious after a crash, make sure you record important and relevant information. This should include the make, model, type, registration number, and owner of the vehicle. You should also get the license details, name, and other details of the driver of the vehicle. Finally, make sure you also get insurance details.
Who is Liable?
An important part of recovering damages in a commercial vehicle crash is to identify the liable party. The following entities can be held liable in a crash like this:
- Trucking Company: The company that owns and operates the vehicle can be held liable for driver errors and vehicle faults. This is primarily because the company is responsible for ensuring that its vehicles are safe to operate and its drivers are reasonably qualified for the job. Overworked drivers and poorly maintained vehicles can both be charted up to a trucking company’s negligence.
- Shipping Company: The shipping company is usually on the hook if the cargo on board a truck wasn’t secured or within limits and this caused the crash. This is simply because it is the responsibility of the shipping company to ensure that regulations governing commercial cargo are observed.
- Driver: As noted above, most driver errors can be linked to the negligence of the trucking company. However, there are instances where a driver may be actually responsible for commercial vehicle accidents. If the driver was acting against company policies or driving without company authorization, then the driver may be held negligent without the liability of the trucking company.
Once liability is clear, you then have to determine the types and amount of damages you are entitled to after commercial vehicle accidents. This requires the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer.
Get a Reliable Charlotte Truck Accident Lawyer
Here at Ted Greve & Associates, our aim is to help commercial vehicle accident victims recover a fair amount of compensation for their losses. This is why our truck accident lawyers go the extra mile to ensure your claim is filed against the liable party in time. We also negotiate with the trucking companies, insurance companies, and defense lawyers on your behalf to make sure your rights are secure. Message us today for a free consultation with our expert lawyers.