In the aftermath of a truck accident, people can suffer injuries and vehicles are commonly damaged beyond repair. Life takes a drastic turn, and many people find that nothing is the same as it was before the wreck. What happens when a truck driver has an accident? The answer is as unique as the accident itself, but there are some commonalities.
If you have been involved in an accident with a semi truck, you need experienced legal representation to protect your rights. Call the offices of Carner & DeVita at 631-543-7070 or contact us online. We will discuss your case at no cost and provide you with a truck accident lawyer in Long Island to discuss your legal options based on the circumstances of your accident.
In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at what may happen after a Long Island truck accident. Please keep in mind that each case is unique and what occurs following your crash may not include all of what we discuss in this article.
Victims File Insurance Claims
When people are involved in accidents, one of the first things they do when the smoke clears is contact their insurance agents. Victims will contact their agents even if they don’t believe they were at fault in the wreck. The driver, or the driver’s employer if the driver is not the owner-operator, will contact their insurance agent as well.
If the truck driver or carrier company was at fault, the victim will file an insurance claim with the company covering the vehicle. Claims may include compensation for medical costs, property damage, lost wages, and projected future costs stemming from the accident.
Investigations Begin Almost Immediately
The majority of people think solely of police investigation teams and, perhaps, accident recreation specialists. In reality, several investigations may take place concurrently.
The police will begin to conduct their investigation immediately following the Long Island truck accident. First responders arrive on the scene, speak with all parties involved, and talk to witnesses. The accident scene may be studied and recreated as part of the investigation to determine fault. When the police report is completed, it will be made available to interested parties.
The insurance companies may choose to investigate the accident on their own. Keep in mind that an insurance company has a profit-driven motivation to not pay out a claim if it is able to avoid doing so. An insurance company’s investigator will look for evidence of the cause of the accident to determine whether a claim is approved or denied. Their investigation may also look into the victim’s claimed injuries, their reported level of disability, and the monetary value of claimed losses.
If people were injured in the truck accident, it is not unusual to hire attorneys to represent them in a personal injury case. These attorneys may also choose to conduct an investigation. The more evidence that an attorney can gather, the more likely they are to achieve a successful outcome for their client, either through a settlement or the court process.
Employee Versus Independent Contractor
Some truck accident victims have found themselves trapped in a cat and mouse game between the truck driver and the trucking company. A victim may find that the truck driver provides the police with the name of their employer, only to discover that the employer claims the driver to be an independent contractor and not an employee at all. There’s a very good reason behind this.
If a truck driver is an employee of a company, that company’s insurance must provide coverage following an accident. It is not only expensive, but it can blemish the public record of the trucking company. On the other hand, if the trucker is an independent contractor, the driver may be responsible for carrying their own insurance coverage. It would be that insurance company which must provide compensation.
You can see why it would be in the best interest of the trucking company to prove that their driver is not an actual employee.
Because of this concern, accident victims need to investigate the status of the driver and not take assertions by the trucking company at face value. In many cases, accident victims can prove the driver was in fact acting as an employee, thereby giving them the ability to access the company’s larger insurance policy.
Settlements Are Arranged Or Cases Are Filed
In the majority of situations, truck accident claims are settled out of court. Insurance companies do not want a long, drawn-out court battle. It’s often cheaper for the insurance company to arrive at a settlement. That’s not to say that an initial offer will be fair to the victim and that it won’t take some legal maneuvering to ensure an equitable settlement.
In instances where the insurance company simply refuses to provide a fair settlement, a court case will be filed. This takes the case before a judge, and sometimes a jury, who will make the final decision regarding compensation.
Hire a Strong Legal Advocate After Your Truck Accident
What happens after a truck driver has an accident largely depends on the strength of the legal counsel at your side. When you are involved in a truck accident, you can benefit from having an experienced Long Island personal injury attorney, which is why we at Carner & DeVita want to have your back.
Never assume that an investigation will come up with the truth, and never assume that the insurance company’s first settlement offer is fair. It costs nothing to speak with an attorney on our team when you call 631-543-7070 or contact us online to discover more about your rights and legal options. Reach out to our expert team when you need a strong personal injury advocate.