Why Does Insurance Matter?
As a lawyer who has tried many tractor-trailer cases, insurance coverage is one of the very first matters I take into consideration. Right now, just to drive across state lines, a truck has to have a million dollars in insurance coverage. What many don’t understand, is the tractor often has a different owner from the trailer it is pulling, which might mean more than one insurance policy. In some instances, big companies have ten, twenty, even thirty million dollars’ worth of coverage!
We recently had a case where it turned out that more than one company was involved in the financing of a particular tractor, which we call a joint venture. We were able to get our clients a substantial extra insurance policy for their loss because we proved these companies were working together. Insurance, like the rest of the regulations involving tractor-trailers, is a complex situation, but it’s one that’s very important to you and your family. If you’ve suffered a debilitating injury, the more insurance that is available, the better off you’re going to be in the end. It’s very important that your lawyer know who to ask about insurance and where it might be available to you in the case of a crash.
Who is Responsible in the Case of a Crash?
In the case of a tractor-trailer accident, the company that hires a driver takes great responsibility for that driver’s actions on the road. It’s their job to do background checks, drug and alcohol testing, as well as make sure the appropriate license is in place. The driver may even need a specialty license if they are driving chemicals or toxins. Unfortunately, at times we have found drivers who have purchased licenses and are driving illegally. It’s the hiring company’s job to investigate and verify that the employee has actually gone to school and has the appropriate training and certificates.
Even independent workers who are driving under the umbrella of a larger company have to be monitored. They operate under what’s called an ICC permit; the little numbers you see on the side of the doors of a tractor-trailer. Typically, those permits are owned by a company that the driver is working for. We, as lawyers, are trying to determine whether or not this driver was properly qualified by the company. Did he have a history of drug and alcohol abuse, a history of speeding tickets or moving violations? Did they do the appropriate background checks before letting him jump on interstate highways?
If you or someone you know has been involved in a tractor-trailer crash, all of these questions are important to your case. You need to ask them to figure out who’s responsible for the crash and, in most cases, it goes beyond just the driver of the truck. Here at The Segal Law Firm, we have the experience necessary to immediately start digging and get you answers, as well as the protection you need. You can call us at 855-344-9100.