Wrongful Death Case Differences Between Car and Truck Accidents
Limits of Liability
In car accidents, the amount of insurance coverage can range from a minimum policy of $30,000 to something like an umbrella policy where the limits can be as high as $250,000. Many people opt for the lowest 30/60/25 coverage, which equates to a maximum of $30,000 for each injured or killed individual, up to $60,000 per accident, and up to $25,000 in property damage, according to the Texas Department of Insurance.
The amount that you will be able to receive greatly depends on whether the negligent party had minimum coverage or an umbrella policy. However, if your accident was caused by someone driving a semi-truck or 18-wheeler, the liability coverage will be higher as the minimum coverage is $1 million. Trucking companies purchase large policies so that their business is protected in the event of a lawsuit. A plaintiff will pursue a $5 million policy before going after the business itself and its assets.
Investigating the Accident
Generally speaking, investigating an accident that involves a commercial semi-trailer truck is more complex than a car accident between two individuals. For one, there are often more than two parties, as the size of a semi truck means that others may have been involved in causing the accident. Secondly, truck crashes and truck-caused fatalities are often caused by something falling off the truck or some defect with the truck that was caused by improper inspection or maintenance.
Companies that Operate Commercial Vehicles are Held to a Higher Standard
During the investigation, the safety record of the vehicle itself must be taken into account. Trucks must be inspected every day before beginning the shift, as a small defect on a truck, such as worn brakes, could lead to a catastrophe. Similarly, the truck driver’s hour log must be analyzed because truck drivers are only allowed to drive a certain number of hours in a row. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truck drivers are only allowed to drive 14 consecutive hours within a 24-hour period.
Drowsy driving crashes occur frequently due to the long hours truck drivers log, and when they violate this and other hourly rules, they may be held accountable for a causing a fatal crash. Trucking companies have a duty to ensure that their drivers are properly trained and to ensure that all rules and regulations are being followed. All of this means that even if the deceased party contributed to causing the crash, the trucking company could still be held liable for significant damages.
Reach Out to Our Houston Wrongful Death Attorneys
Wrongful death cases that involve large trucks are different in many ways from wrongful death cases that involve other passenger vehicles. There is more compensation at stake, and therefore more pushback from the other party’s insurance carrier. You need an experienced attorney and the law offices of Michael P. Fleming and Associates can deliver that expertise. We are prepared to take on your case as soon as you are ready. Call us today to schedule a free consultation 713-221-6800.