Very simply, federal and state laws require commercial truck drivers and the companies that employ them to carry multiple forms of insurance. This is true for all large commercial trucks, from 18-wheelers and tanker trucks to construction vehicles. Filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim against each applicable policy can secure compensation.
That simple answer to how to get compensated after a commercial trucking accident hides a lot of complexity—so much complexity, in fact, that entire legal professions exist to represent both the crash victims and the at-fault truck drivers. I cannot provide every detail here, but I will summarize four things that must happen to secure an insurance settlement or win a lawsuit following a commercial vehicle accident.
You Must Prove That the Truck Driver Caused the Crash
Ohio courts follow the rule of comparative negligence. This means that you will have grounds to claim compensation for injuries or a wrongful death if evidence shows that the commercial truck driver was primarily at fault for causing the crash. Note that a family member or designated legal executor would file claims on behalf of a deceased crash victim.
The official crash report that police are required to prepare when they respond to a call is a good source for evidence of fault. Partnering with an experienced commercial truck accident lawyer in Columbus or elsewhere will also make it possible to conduct an independent investigation, contact and interview witnesses, and counter accusations that the victim was more to blame.
You Must Prove That Your Injuries Resulted Directly From the Crash
The insurance company or trial jury will demand proof that the crash inflicted serious or fatal injuries. Medical records, hospital bills, prescription orders, and therapists’ notes provide evidence of this. It is essential that truck crash victims hold on to every piece of paper they receive from a health care provider or their own health insurance company.
Reports and testimony from experts often also prove valuable for establishing the link between a crash and injuries, especially when the truck driver’s legal team argues that the crash victim suffered from preexisting health problems. A personal injury and wrongful death attorney will know how to enlist experts to assist with their clients’ case.
You Must Know Which Insurance Policies Apply
As noted above, commercial truck drivers and truck drivers carry a number of insurance policies. Ohio law makes it possible for crash victims to file claims against each of the policies that apply. Determining which policies those are, however, is not always easy. And going after the wrong insurer can greatly complicate attempts to secure a settlement after a commercial vehicle accident. Consulting with an attorney whose sole job is advising and representing plaintiffs in such cases will clarify which steps to take and when to take them.
You Must Be Prepared to Fight for Your Right to Be Compensated
Companies that insure truck drivers and trucking companies do not welcome opportunities to pay settlements or jury awards. Claims adjusters and defense lawyers will contest fault, question medical evidence, and argue that the crash victim did not actually need extensive medical treatment or suffer much physical pain and emotional distress. They will also apply pressure to accept a quick, inadequate settlement or to abandon a claim altogether.
There is no accurate formula for determining how long it will take to resolve a personal injury or wrongful death case arising from a crash caused by a commercial truck driver. Nor can it be guaranteed that a crash victim will succeed in holding an at-fault driver or trucking company accountable.
But a dedicated, caring plaintiff’s attorney will make every effort to speed up the process while fighting through the obstacles to financial recovery that the insurer throws up. If you need help from a Columbus commercial truck accident lawyer, reach out to Corey Heit of Heit Law for a free consultation. You can schedule an appointment online or speak with Corey by calling (614) 898-5300.
Please call my Personal Injury law firm office in Columbus today to schedule a free initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer. Our Personal Injury lawyers handle all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. You don’t pay attorney fees unless we win. You can reach me by phone at 614-898-5300, toll-free from anywhere in Ohio at 877-898-HEIT, or contact me via email to get started.
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