What Happens if an Accident Occurs With an Uninsured Truck Driver?

What Happens if an Accident Occurs With an Uninsured Truck Driver?

If an accident occurs with an uninsured truck driver, you may sue the trucker or their employer. You may also (or instead) access any uninsured motorist coverage within your auto insurance policy.

If you have damages following your accident, a truck accident attorney can determine the right approach for your unique circumstances.

Accident With an Uninsured Truck Driver Guide

What Happens if an Accident Occurs With an Uninsured Truck Driver

Let’s assume that the truck driver caused your accident. In Texas, the insurer for the motorist who is at fault for an accident must cover other drivers’ accident-related losses. If the truck driver who caused your accident did not have insurance, you might look to your insurance company for coverage.

Specifically, uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage may pay for medical bills, damage to your vehicle, and certain other accident-related losses. In many states, motorists must elect to purchase UM/UIM coverage, so you may or may not have this coverage in your auto insurance policy.

Your attorney will review your policy and determine:

  • Whether you elected for UM/UIM coverage when you purchased your auto insurance policy
  • What amount of UM/UIM coverage you purchased 
  • Whether your limits for UM/UIM coverage can pay all of your accident-related losses
  • You may file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurer, but a truck accident lawyer can explore other options. If a truck driver caused your accident, the truck driver or their employer should cover your damages. Therefore, you may seriously consider pursuing a lawsuit against the trucking company.

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    You May Need to Sue to Get Fair Compensation for Your Damages

    Truck accidents are not like other auto accidents. The weight of a large truck can cause a violent impact with the vehicle it strikes, leading to life-threatening injuries. These injuries can prove disabling or even fatal. In many cases, truck crashes will total the other vehicles involved.

    When serious injuries or total property damage (or both) happen, insurance may not provide adequate coverage. The specific damages you suffer, and the total cost of those damages, may require that you sue liable parties.

    A trucking company is the most common defendant in truck accident cases. These companies may have substantial resources and legal responsibility for their drivers’ conduct. Your attorney will discuss whether suing a trucking company or another liable party is the right strategy for your case.

    You may need to sue if an insurance company refuses to offer enough compensation to cover your losses. Your truck accident lawyer can negotiate with insurers and provide evidence to support your claim, but the insurance company might simply fail to make a fair offer.

    You never have to accept less than you deserve, as you can escalate the matter by filing a lawsuit in civil court. You can continue settlement negotiations during the litigation process, but if you cannot reach an agreement, your attorney can take your case to trial.

    At a trial, the judge or jury will decide how much compensation you should receive for your losses. You might also receive punitive damages if particularly severe and egregious conduct led to the crash.

    Truck Accidents Can Cause Serious Injuries and Devastating Damages

    Tuck accidents cause serious damages because:

    • Trucks carrying cargo can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which is the maximum weight limit for vehicles without a special permit
    • Trucks take longer to stop than lighter vehicles, meaning that a truck may slam into a vehicle in front of it at high speeds
    • Trucks may carry flammable cargo or loads that are dangerous for other reasons
    • Trucks’ height means that they may roll on top of other vehicles, or vehicles may slide underneath the truck—two scenarios that pose a high risk of serious injury 

    The primary danger when a truck strikes another vehicle is the truck’s weight. If such heavy vehicles strike another at a high or even medium speed, the truck may crush the vehicle it strikes and cause severe injury to passengers.

    When a truck hits a passenger vehicle, the occupants of the passenger vehicle face a far greater risk of fatal injury

    What Causes Truck Accidents?

    Lacking insurance is a form of negligence, but it doesn’t explain why your truck accident happened. If your lawyer is going to successfully sue the trucking company, they will need to prove that the truck driver caused your accident.

    Potential causes of trucking accidents include:

    Driver Distraction

    Distracted driving happens when a truck driver:

    • Takes one or both hands off the steering wheel
    • Takes their eyes off the road
    • Allows their attention to wander from the focus of driving safely
    • Engages in distracting conversation 

    These distractions often have fatal consequences, especially when the driver operates a vehicle as dangerous as a large truck. Phone-related distractions are some of the most common that truck drivers (and other motorists) engage in.

    Driver Fatigue

    Truck drivers work long hours, and fatigue is always a concern in the trucking industry. Fatigue may be an especially likely concern if the truck driver violates hours of service regulations, which is its own form of negligence.

    Just as dangerously, drivers who rely on caffeine, prescription drugs, or other sources of energy in an unsafe manner can become dangerous. Stimulants may make a driver impulsive, anxious, prone to anger, or otherwise dangerous.

    Dangerous Driving

    Truck drivers drive dangerously when they:

    • Speed 
    • Tailgate
    • Fail to adapt to dangerous weather and road conditions
    • Change lanes without adequate clearance
    • Running red lights, stop signs, and yield signs
    • Engage in any other behavior that increases the risk of an accident

    Knowing that their vehicles are large, comparatively slow, and dangerous, truck drivers must always exercise the utmost caution.

    Drunk or Drugged Driving

    Being under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs, or illicit drugs can be dangerous for any driver. When a driver is attempting to operate a large, heavy truck, the effects of impairment are exaggerated even further.

    Truck or Cargo Trailer Defects

    Defects in a truck or cargo trailer can cause a collision.

    Important components that may cause an accident if they fail include:

    • Steering components
    • Brakes
    • Tires
    • Trailer hitches
    • Container doors 
    • Tie-downs for flat-lying cargo

    If a defect caused your truck accident, the manufacturer, assembler, or seller of the defective item may be liable for your accident-related damages.

    Dangerous Road Conditions

    Poorly-maintained roads can become pocked with potholes, marred by uneven lanes, and populated with other defects that can cause truck accidents. Dangerously-positioned work crews, unsafe concrete barriers, out-of-operation traffic lights, and downed or absent signage may also make road conditions dangerous.

    The municipality where such dangerous conditions exist may need to pay for the resulting accidents.

    Your lawyer will determine why your accident happened and who caused the accident.

    Why Would a Truck Driver Lack Adequate Insurance?

    The question of insurance will be central to your case, and specifically your lawyer’s strategy for seeking compensation. Your attorney will determine why the truck driver lacked insurance, as this may speak to the negligence of both the driver and their employer.

    A truck driver may not have valid insurance because:

    • They allowed the insurance to lapse: If the truck driver allowed their insurance policy to lapse without knowledge, they might be operating their truck illegally without realizing it. It is a driver’s responsibility and their employer’s responsibility to ensure their insurance is valid before operating the rig.
    • They thought their employer handled insurance: A miscommunication between a truck driver and their employer might lead the driver to believe their employer is managing all insurance-related issues.
    • They started driving before their insurance took effect: A new truck driver may drive before they’ve established insurance. While there should be safeguards against this scenario, the trucking industry is not always as controlled as it should be.
    • They knowingly went without insurance: If a truck driver was out of work for some time and chose to drive their truck anyway, they may knowingly operate the vehicle without insurance. While there may be other explanations for knowingly driving without insurance, an employed truck driver must generally have active insurance to work.

    It is difficult to comprehend how, between the truck driver and their employer, a truck driver can ever hit the road without adequate insurance. Nevertheless, it happens. When uninsured truck drivers cause accidents, liable parties must pay victims the compensation they deserve.

    Who Can You Hold Responsible for the Truck Driver’s Lack of Insurance?

    The truck driver and their employer may both be liable for a driver’s lack of insurance. If the truck driver owns a trucking business, they may be solely liable for a victim’s damages.

    Establishing liability is one of the many responsibilities your truck accident lawyer will handle for you.

    Recoverable Damages From an Accident Involving an Uninsured Truck Driver

    Your lawyer will investigate your recoverable damages. If you sue, you may have the leeway to seek compensation for:

    Your lawyer may get money to cover diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation for your accident-related injuries.

    Covered medical services may include:

    • Emergency medical treatment
    • Medications
    • Doctors visits
    • Hospitalization
    • Surgery
    • Rehabilitation
    • Transportation to all accident-related medical appointments

    If you have any other medical needs after your truck accident, your lawyer will seek fair compensation for them.

    Property Costs

    Property costs from an accident with an uninsured truck driver may include:

    • The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle
    • The cost of repairing or replacing your cell phone, clothing, and any other property damaged during the collision
    • Temporary transportation while your vehicle is unavailable

    If you have any other property expenses, your lawyer will account for them.

    Pain and Suffering

    Pain and suffering can include:

    A truck accident can imprint traumatic memories, leave you with lingering injuries, and change virtually everything about your life. Your attorney will account for these harmful realities as they calculate a fair settlement figure.

    Professional Damages

    Professional damages from your truck accident may include:

    • Lost income
    • Diminished earning power
    • Lost bonuses
    • Missed opportunities to earn promotions 
    • Loss of professional status

    These and other professional damages may prove extremely costly. You may even feel less fulfilled with life if you cannot work.

    Services You Can Expect from a Truck Accident Lawyer

    A truck accident lawyer will make your case their priority. Your attorney will gauge their success based on whether they get compensation covering your damages.

    An attorney will work to secure a fair financial recovery for you by:

    • Obtaining all relevant evidence: Attorneys immediately seek evidence when they accept a case. In a truck accident case, the lawyer may need to ensure that the trucking company does not dispose of any useful evidence. The fragile, time-sensitive nature of evidence is one primary reason to hire a lawyer as soon as you can.
    • Establishing liability: Your attorney will determine whether a truck driver, trucking company, or any other party is financially responsible for your accident-related damages.
    • Calculating your damages: Critically, your lawyer will need to determine exactly how much money you deserve for accident-related damages.
    • Engaging in settlement negotiations: Once your lawyer calculates a fair settlement value, they’ll engage representatives for liable parties in settlement talks.

    Most civil cases settle, but a trial is always an option whenever a lawyer handles a truck accident case.

    Start Your Search for a Lawyer Today

    As you search for an attorney, ask prospective firms whether they’re willing to take your case to trial. Your losses may be immense, and you should know that your lawyer will go the distance to seek the compensation you deserve.

    Research attorneys in your area today. Don’t wait, as your personal injury lawyer may face a tight deadline for filing your case.