In this quick video blog, Attorney Ben Schwartz explains some differences between how cases are typically handled by Truck Accident Lawyers and Car Accident Lawyers.
Hi, I’m attorney Ben Schwartz and today I’m going to answer the question about why should I hire an attorney that has special knowledge about tractor-trailer accident or with trucking accidents if I’m involved in a car accident with a tractor-trailer truck. Basically, the answer is, that there are very significant ways that a tractor-trailer accident, or a commercial trucking accident, is different than your run-of-the-mill car accident case. Most car accident attorneys don’t have experience with tractor-trailer accidents. You want to find one. If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident caused by a tractor-trailer driver, you want to find an attorney who handles these types of cases. There are three ways that these types of cases are different from regular everyday auto accident cases.
The first way that they’re different in that the injuries tend to be much more significant. If you’re injured in a regular car accident, a car versus a car, pick up versus a car, or SUV, you can still have very significant injuries. I’m not trying to minimize the types of injuries that can come from what I am calling regular car accident cases. If you’re in an accident caused by a tractor-trailer what you have to realize is that a tractor-trailer may have an 18,000-pound load. That creates such a force that very catastrophic injuries often occur.
The second way the tractor-trailer accidents are different from run-of-the-mill accident cases is that in a regular accident case the behavior of the motor vehicle operators, the behavior of the drivers are regulated by the rules of the road. Rules of the road are basically a body of state law, state statutes. For example, I’m in Delaware. If you look up the Delaware code you’ll find the rules of the road for Delaware. It’s exactly what you would expect it to be. It’s the law that says you’ve got to stop at stop signs. The law that says you’ve got to yield the right away to vehicles that are already in the roadway. It’s the law that says you’ve got to pay attention. You’ve got to maintain the proper lookout. You can’t be distracted driving. These are the rules of the road. It’s what you’re familiar with. It’s what you learned in your Drivers Ed course in high school. The way that a trucking case, a tractor-trailer case is different is, that in addition to those rules of the road you’ve got what’s called FMCSA regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Those are federal regulations that truck drivers govern their operation of tractor-trailers. I’ll give an example of an FMCSA regulation. There’s a regulation that talks about hours of service. They limit the amount of time a driver can drive a tractor-trailer without taking breaks; without sleeping. So there’s this whole body of law that pertains to tractor-trailer accidents that don’t pertain to regular car accident cases. You want to make sure that if you have a tractor-trailer accident, you get an attorney that knows something about FMCSA regulations and how to handle a trucking case.
The third thing is that in a tractor-trailer case or commercial trucking case the insurance companies tend to fight harder. If you’ve got a regular car accident case and you file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, their personal insurance is going to cover it. Their personal insurance will have a limit. In Delaware, right now, the minimum insurance might be $15,000. You might see a twenty-five thousand, fifty thousand, hundred thousand dollars, or above a hundred thousand dollars. It’s rare but sometimes people have two hundred fifty thousand, three hundred thousand dollar limits. Some people might have 1 million dollar limits, but usually, on a personal auto policy, you’re going to be towards the lower end of the scale. If there’s a litigation and the insurance company is defending the at-fault driver, they’re not going to spend five million dollars defending the case to avoid paying out on a $15,000 policy. If you have a commercial trucking case you may have millions of dollars and insurance covering millions of dollars in potential exposure for that insurance company, so they may spare no expense in defending the case.
You’ll see things like accident Reconstructionists, who are going to come in and testify that the accident wasn’t really the truck driver’s fault. You’re going to see things like defense medical examiners doctors, who are especially hired by the insurance company, the at-fault driver’s insurance company. They are going to examine the plaintiff and testify that the injuries aren’t as severe as the plaintiff alleges that they are. You’re going to see teams of specialized trial attorneys defending the case on behalf of the insurance company, instead of having the local defense attorney that the insurance company always uses. They will bring in a team from out of state. The team will be made up of aggressive trial attorneys that only handle truck accident cases.
These are three ways that I can tell you from experience truck accident cases tend to be different from your regular car accident case. My point is that if you are seriously injured in an accident involving a tractor-trailer don’t waste time, get an attorney with specialized knowledge of tractor-trailer accidents and how to prosecute them in that way you’ll be protecting your legal rights.
Ben Schwartz is the Managing Partner of Schwartz & Schwartz, Attorneys at Law. If you are searching online for a personal injury attorney in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania or New Jersey, please contact us about your case. Ben and the other attorneys in the firm represent people who have been injured in car accidents, tractor-trailer and bus accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, and dog bites. We have offices in Havertown (suburban Philadelphia), PA, Wilmington, DE and Dover, Delaware. Give us a call today!