After a truck accident, many victims are seriously injured and inundated with seemingly insurmountable medical bills. However, truck crash victims can often take comfort in the fact that, if their accident was caused by commercial driver negligence, they may be entitled to financial compensation for medical expenses and a variety of other losses.
State and federal laws require the drivers of large commercial vehicles—such as semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, tankers, and delivery trucks—to carry hefty liability insurance policies to cover damages in the event of an accident.
Despite this requirement to carry insurance, far too many truckers remain uninsured or woefully underinsured. This can pose a problem for accident victims who are anticipating a much-needed financial recovery.
If you were hurt in a truck accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured commercial truck driver, here's what you need to know.
Benefits of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
In cases where the at-fault truck driver lacks insurance, or doesn't have sufficient coverage, accident victims may be entitled to compensation through their auto insurance policies—if their policies include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Usually considered an optional add-on, uninsured motorist coverage kicks in when the policyholder is injured in an accident caused by a motorist who doesn't have liability insurance. Similarly, underinsured motorist coverage can provide additional compensation to injured policyholders when the at-fault motorist's liability limits are too low to sufficiently compensate the victim for medical expenses and property damages.
Potentially Liable Parties
For truck accident victims, discovering the operator who caused their accident doesn't have insurance can feel like arriving at a dead end. However, the at-fault commercial driver may not be the only possible avenue for compensation.
Trucking companies are required to ensure their employees are appropriately licensed and insured. If the trucking company fails to confirm their driver has insurance—or employers are aware the driver lacks insurance, and encourages or allows them to continue driving—they may also be potentially liable for the accident and subsequent injuries and losses.
Common Truck Accident Causes and Injuries
Truck accidents can be caused by a number of factors. Some of the leading causes of serious truck accidents include:
- Passenger driver error, such as driving in a truck's blind spots, driving between two large commercial trucks or attempting to pass on a winding road.
- Commercial driver error, such as distracted driving, speeding, driving while fatigued, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, improperly-loaded cargo, or failing to perform regular truck inspections and maintenance.
- Mechanical defects, such as defectively designed or manufactured vehicle components.
- Inclement weather, such as rain, sleet, snow, ice, or fog.
Compensation Available for Truck Accident Victims
Truck accident victims seriously injured in crashes that weren't their fault can seek compensation for special and general damages, also known as economic and non-economic damages, respectively.
These damages may include compensation for:
- Past and ongoing medical bills related to the accident
- Property repair or replacement costs
- Lost wages or loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Do You Need a Truck Accident Attorney?
If you were seriously injured, or sustained significant property damage, in a truck accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured commercial truck driver, you have a difficult road ahead of you. The award-winning personal injury attorneys with McGartland Law Firm can investigate your case to determine if you have any other possible avenues for compensation. We're committed to helping you fight for the financial recovery you need and deserve following a devastating truck accident.
Contact McGartland Law Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your case.