Unique Aspects of Fort Worth Truck Accidents
Federal trucking regulations are a major factor in how personal injury claims are examined. When an individual is injured in a truck accident, there are significant differences between car accidents and tractor-trailer collisions. Truck accidents typically lead to a greater amount of property damage and significant bodily injuries, which result in more substantial settlements and jury verdicts.
Some of the unique aspects of Fort Worth truck accidents is the federal regulations and how insurance companies handle the claims. It is best to speak to a knowledgeable truck accident attorney to learn about your legal rights and options.
Regulations By The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
There are a handful of rules that truckers and their employers are required to adhere to. Commercial motor carriers, truck drivers and trucks are heavily regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They regulate the training someone needs to drive a truck and the specific types of load or cargo that the person is going to be transporting. They regulate how long a trucker can drive within specific periods of time or hours of service regulations.
Driving Under The Influence
The FMCSA sets a lower blood alcohol content or BAC limit for truck drivers, which is 0.04%. Here in Texas, the normal BAC limit for a non-CDL holder will be 0.08, is the lower threshold under the FMCSA for CDL holders. Fourth, the FMCSA determines how long, how wide, and how heavy trucks can be. Fifth, they regulate how cargo must be secured. Finally, they regulate how often trucks must be inspected and what must be expected on the trucks.
Understanding The Comparative Negligence Law
One of the unique aspects of Fort Worth truck accidents is its rules for determining fault. Texas follows a modified comparative negligence law. In a typical personal injury case, the plaintiff’s attorney must prove the defendant’s negligence directly resulted in measurable, tangible losses to the plaintiff. Comparative negligence comes into play in Fort Worth truck accident cases when the plaintiff is found to be partially at fault for their accident. The plaintiff can still recover damages even if they are partially to blame for their damages under comparative negligence law.
For example, a plaintiff could sue a distracted driver who caused an accident, but the plaintiff will likely be partially liable if the plaintiff was speeding or otherwise negligent at the time.
The Texas modified comparative negligence system only allows plaintiffs to recover damages if they were 51 percent or less at fault for the damages. If the plaintiff is found to be over 51 percent liable, they may not recover compensation for damages.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
When there is a truck accident, the motor carrier’s insurance is going to be involved, and one should never speak with the insurance adjuster without legal representation. Speaking to them without representation often results in claims being denied and, certainly, settlements being reduced.
After a truck accident, it is important to understand the role of the insurer. The insurance company is not there to help anyone. The insurer is there to protect its policyholder, which is the motor carrier, the 18-wheeler, and their company. The adjuster will be somewhat concerned about protecting their profits. The insurance industry is a big business, and they are consistently focused on making more money. They do this by denying insurance claims when they can and limiting payouts to valid claimants.
The big insurance companies know they have increased exposure when an 18-wheeler or a commercial vehicle has been involved in an accident. The minimum liability insurance policy on most tractor-trailers is $1 million. Many insurance companies often hire private investigators to film injured victims in the days, weeks, and even months following an 18-wheeler accident.
Insurers often deny claims or only offer a minimal amount of compensation, so it is crucial to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer. Having an attorney take the lead on communications with the insurance carrier is just vital.
How a Truck Accident Attorney Could Help
Calling a lawyer as soon as possible is crucial because trucking companies will destroy or alter evidence as soon as they can to try to protect themselves. This evidence could change how much money a person is entitled to get. Contacting a lawyer as soon as possible following a collision allows them to take legal steps that will obligate the trucking company to preserve all evidence related to the case, such as electronic vehicle data and the black box, which could be critical to the outcome of the case.
When a truck accident lawyer investigates a crash, they will look at every piece of evidence to determine if a federal regulation has been violated. It could be evidence they will use during the case to establish liability and fight for them to get the compensation that they need. Call today to learn about the unique aspects of Fort Worth truck accidents and your eligibility to recover compensation for damages.