Trucking Accidents, Commercial Vehicle Accidents, and Car Accidents
Cases involving injuries from a collision with a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicles are unique from cases involving injuries from a collision with a personal, passenger car. Generally speaking, the federal government regulates the trucking industry through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”). Car wrecks, in contrast, typically involve purely state law issues. In either case, it is critical to hire a lawyer who is experienced in litigating these types of cases and in uncovering all available insurance that might help fully cover a loss.
Why does finding a lawyer familiar with uncovering insurance matter? In a recent case, a tractor-trailer ran a red light and t-boned our client’s vehicle. Our client was knocked unconscious and incurred over $150,000 in medical expenses. The insurance company for the tractor trailer driver initially disclosed only $25,000 in insurance coverage available to cover the injuries, claiming an agricultural exception under Georgia law that allowed such an insufficient insurance policy. We uncovered facts that eliminated that exception in this case and required the insurance company to honor $100,000 state minimum required of this trucking company, and we found an additional $25k in uninsured motorist coverage available through a resident relative – a grandmother living in the home who had an additional policy with the right kind of uninsured motorist coverage (add-on coverage). We also negotiated the medical bills down under $50,000 – the client’s employer had an ERISA, self-funded plan, meaning that its right to reimbursement was federally protected. Still, we negotiated for them to take a significant reduction under the circumstances. We resolved the case for the full, insurance policy limits of $125,000. Unfortunately, in this case, there was not enough insurance coverage available to fully compensate our client – the reality in many serious motor vehicle collision cases – but we were able to help this client avoid significant medical debt and to return additional money to her to help her through a very trying time.
Why should I choose a trial lawyer? In our experience, having a lawyer who litigates and tries cases helps case values. Having an experienced litigator handling your case certainly helps at trial, and it also helps to add value when negotiating a settlement. In a couple of recent cases, we were referred cases by other lawyers when settlement discussions broke down, and we were able to resolve those cases within months of referral for over 10x the previous offers from the insurance companies. In both cases, the clients benefitted from our diligence in listening to their stories and tailoring our litigation strategy to focus the cases on what we could prove, what mattered most to our clients, and what drove the value of each respective case.
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