The idea of a large 18-wheel truck losing control on a highway would scare any driver. We assume that if that truck crashes into our vehicle, the injuries would be catastrophic. But what other assumptions do we make about trucks, their drivers and the trucking business? And are those assumptions dangerous?
For most people, big over-the-road trucks are something that you usually see on a highway, clogging up interstate traffic. There is usually no reason to think any more about what trucks do and how they do it. But that changes if you are involved in a crash involving one of these behemoths. The first assumption people make is: there must be plenty of liability insurance.
It would be fair to believe that a big trucking company is behind that logo. And that they have sufficient insurance to pay for serious injuries caused by their drivers. The facts show otherwise. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act governs Interstate Trucking. The Federal DOT requires trucks to register that they have liability insurance. However, the minimum was set in 1980 at $750,000. Since that time, costs for medical care resulting from crashes have skyrocketed. Additionally, the sizes of trucks have increased, increasing the likelihood of serious injuries.
When you experience the tragedy of a serious truck crash, one reason to consult with an injury lawyer as quickly as possible is to immediately investigate insurance coverage. Not only will your lawyer be able to determine what the company has filed, but they can begin to investigate the other companies that were involved in the subject trucking operation.
This is because of another assumption: that the company transporting the load is the only possible defendant. Trucking in the United States is complex. There are often multiple layers of companies involved in one single shipment. Federal Motor Carrier rules require that the companies involved in the shipment perform their role within the rules and do so safely. Sometimes, the party that is really at fault might not even be the employer of the driver. This is because a Broker for a shipment may be responsible for failing to do their due diligence by investigating to see that they hired a safe driver to deliver a load.
The trucking industry has its own special rules and operates in a unique fashion that most Americans are not aware of. There are also situations where financial and time pressures lead to companies operating in a way that cuts corners and may be unsafe. This can include hiring drivers or companies that should not be entrusted with transporting heavy loads across America’s roads.
The first thing that must happen after a serious truck crash is seeking urgent medical care. However, once the injured person is stabilized, it is important to focus on seeking legal advice from lawyers who know the trucking industry and the rules that apply so that they can explore all avenues to protect your rights and work towards justice.