Understanding Car Accident Claims

What Distinguishes Commercial Vehicle Wreck Claims?

by Lois Gibson

The personal injury law system deals with a lot of motor vehicle accidents. Commercial vehicle wrecks, though, can stick out from other types of incidents in several ways. If you're not sure what might distinguish your case from a typical accident on the highways, you may want to consider these four issues.

Involvement of Companies

The involvement of a company usually means that there's a better chance that pursuing a claim is worth more effort. Companies are generally well-insured, and there is typically some sort of accountability at these businesses. That means there are usually more discoverable materials, especially maintenance logs, where mechanics checked tires, brakes, and other key safety components. Simply put, there's a better chance that a smoking gun that proves negligence will be found, and that often motivates companies to settle before the discovery process gets rolling.

Employment Practices

Another area of concern for commercial vehicle wreck attorneys when they take on cases is the condition of the vehicle's operator. There's a lot of pressure among fleet managers to get vehicles out on the road, and that can mean turning a blind eye to red flags, including things like evidence of drinking and drug problems. Drivers are also sometimes pressured to skip sleep.

Lawyers like these kinds of cases because they can ask questions about criminal background checks, pre-employment physicals, and other practices intended to reduce commercial operators' safety risks. Failing in any one of these areas can open a business up to significant civil liability.

The Cost of Doing Business

Many companies and insurance carriers accept wrecks as part of the cost of doing business. Fleet operators plan accordingly and purchase enough insurance to mitigate their risk exposure. This provides incentives for settlements because companies can write down losses for accounting and tax purposes.

Reduced Focus on the Driver

Leaving the driver to take the blame is a preferred tactic of the attorneys who are hired to defend companies. A plaintiff's attorney generally wants to focus on the business and its conduct rather than the driver. If a case goes to a jury, for example, bashing a driver can seem like a personal assault on working people.

Understandably, this can seem weird to clients, especially if they feel that the driver was highly culpable for what happened. Staying focused on the company, though, is likely to net you a larger settlement if things turn your way.