If you were involved in an accident with a truck, you may be wondering what your next steps should be. Commercial vehicles, tractor-trailers, 18 wheelers, semi-trucks, Mack trucks, panel vans, and more heavyduty vehicles are an ever-present feature on the roadways. There are millions of tractor-trailers operating in the United States, and they travel billions of miles per year.
That substantial amount of time on the road may lead to accidents. However, you may be surprised to discover that commercial trucks are involved in a small percentage of all motor vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, that small percentage accounts for many truck accidents yearly. If you were involved in a crash with a truck or tractor-trailer, specific things are helpful to know. These include:
Who do I sue?
In the aftermath of a tractor-trailer accident, the question you may be wondering who to sue to get the justice and compensation to which you are entitled. However, pinpointing the liable party or parties can be somewhat complicated. Commercial trucks, including 18 wheelers, are typically owned by a business. In that event, you would sue the owner of the truck. In some circumstances, the trailer attached to the tractor might be owned by a different company than the truck. Furthermore, they may be insured by different insurance companies, too. In that case, you might have to bring a lawsuit against the trailer owner, as well.
Sometimes the truck drivers are merely employees. In other instances, the truck drivers who are independent contractors would be the target of your lawsuit. Moreover, if the accident happened because of a mechanical malfunction, you might sue the company that services and repairs the truck. You could also potentially sue the warehouse that loaded the truck or even the manufacturer of the truck itself, depending on the circumstances. You will want to be sure you identify all of the parties who are potentially responsible before bringing a lawsuit. A personal injury truck accident attorney can help to determine who to sue.
Who will cover my medical expenses and lost wage benefits?
Your insurer probably covers your medical costs and reimburses you for lost wages if you were injured in an automobile accident. However, if your vehicle is involved in a collision with a vehicle weighing more than a specified number of pounds, and that truck is at fault for the incident, then your insurance company will likely go after the at-fault vehicle’s insurance company to get their money back.
What if I was driving a tractor-trailer, and I didn’t cause the accident?
Unless they are independent contractors, tractor-trailer operators are usually covered under their employers’ workers’ compensation insurance. Independent contractors might carry their own workers’ compensation insurance. A driver might have two cases in this situation. The driver might have a workers’ compensation case to pay for medical and lost wages and a separate personal injury lawsuit against the driver of the other vehicle that aims to collect benefits for pain and suffering and any excess economic losses.
As you can see, dealing with cases involving trucks and tractor-trailers can be quite complicated. A personal injury attorney has the knowledge and experience to handle all kinds of motor vehicle accident lawsuits.