The Complexities of an Uninsured Truck Driver Case
It is reasonable for a person who has been involved in a serious accident
with a large truck to assume that the driver of the commercial vehicle will have adequate insurance to cover the harm that he caused. However, there are many times when this is not the case.Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies May Not Have Adequate Insurance
If the driver is an independent driver or working for a company that does not satisfy the federal requirements governing commercial motor vehicles, a victim may find himself facing a situation where the driver and the motor carrier for whom he worked are not insured or are underinsured. Most tractor-trailers that are engaged in interstate hauling of merchandise and other materials will have sufficient insurance to cover property damage or personal injuries that may occur as the result of a crash with another motor vehicle so an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim will not be necessary. However, there are many trucking companies or drivers who do more local or regional transportation of goods that may not carry the required minimum amount of insurance or that may have caused their insurance coverage to lapse. In addition, there are some trucking companies that have only the minimum coverage and the economic consequences of the injuries of the victims involved in the accident exceed the limits of the policy.Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Claims are Possible
In a situation where the truck driver or trucking company has little or no insurance, it is possible to bring claims against them while also bringing a claim against the victim’s uninsured motorist coverage, if he has it. Uninsured motorist coverage is something that can be purchased as part of a driver’s policy. Often, this type of insurance comes into play when there is a hit-and-run accident. An uninsured motorist claim should not increase the insured’s rates and filing such a claim does not preclude bringing a claim against the negligent driver. However, if the victim recovers compensation from the victim, it is necessary to pay back the money received from the uninsured motorist coverage.
In order to determine whether the victim has an uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM) claim, it is necessarily to determine:
- Whether the injured party is an insured person under the UM policy;
- Whether the crash and resulting injuries were caused by an uninsured or underinsured truck driver; and
- Whether the truck driver caused the accident through negligent actions, thereby breaching a duty to the injured person and incurring liability for the harm that was done.
It is important to pursue uninsured motorist coverage because victims of commercial truck accidents often have the following damages:
- Emergency medical care;
- Long-term medical treatment and rehabilitation;
- Lost wages;
- Other expenses that directly relate to the car accident; and
- Pain and suffering.
Commercial trucks may weigh up to 80,000 pounds as compared to most passenger vehicles that are less than 4,000 pounds. This means that any crash between a large truck and a car or light truck usually leads to catastrophic damage to the vehicle and severe harm to the driver and passengers. It is not uncommon for accident victims to need treatment and rehabilitation for many years following the accident. The knowledgeable and caring Maine personal injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates understand that any negotiated settlement or award must take into consideration the far-reaching consequences of the accident. We will sit down with you and find the legal strategy that works best for you and your family. To schedule an initial consultation, call 1 800.804.2004.