What Makes Commercial Vehicle Wreck Claims Different?
Commercial vehicle wreck attorneys deal with cases involving catastrophic incidents. There's a lot more that differentiates these sorts of claims from other types of accident cases, though, than just the sizes of the vehicles involved. Let's look at some things that differentiate the process.
Discovery is a legal concept that requires the parties in a case to turn over any evidence they may have. This includes giving over items that may cast a very bad light on a case. When it comes to dealing with commercial operators versus everyday drivers, there will generally be a lot more materials that can be requested in discovery. Large vehicles require maintenance, and that maintenance should be documented in logs. If there are questions about the maintenance of a vehicle, the mechanics can be asked to provide depositions and testimony to explain what was done and when it was done. Many companies now use GPS-based systems to track their vehicles. The logs for the GPS locations of a vehicle also can be sought during discovery. The hiring process should be subject to scrutiny, too. This is especially the case if a driver was intoxicated, reckless, or tired at the time of an incident.
In many states, the no-fault insurance system governs many accident claims and limits recoverable damages. A general exception to limits on compensation occurs when catastrophic injuries occur. Given that most commercial vehicles are significantly heavier than most passenger vehicles, there's a good chance a case will be handled outside the no-fault system.
During the no-fault process, you usually end up dealing directly with your insurance carrier, and the two companies covering the vehicles in an accident then have to reconcile issues among themselves. In the catastrophic scenario, however, you'll be filing a claim with either the other party's insurance company or the other party themselves if they're self-insured.
Not only are settlements and judgments involving commercial vehicles generally larger, but they're rising in value quickly. Some judgements could be upwards of millions of dollars depending on the circumstances.
The commercial fleet operator will want to put as much blame elsewhere as possible. Lawyers often choose to paint the drivers in these cases fairly sympathetically. The reason is two-fold. First, there's the issue of money, and the company has more than the driver. Second, liability for vehicle maintenance, drug testing, background checks and reasonable scheduling lies with the business.
For more information, contact companies like Frenkel & Frenkel.