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Truck-car crashes happen every day. According to the American Trucking Association and FMCSA, in 80-85% of cases the passenger vehicle driver is at fault. But proving that is not always so simple. The driver behind the 5-ton-plus semi-truck is often an easy target to point blame. Ensuring professional drivers are properly prepared for a crash investigation is vital to managing a fleet’s risk and avoiding a difficult verdict or settlement.
Dealing with law enforcement
Be a good information gatherer
In lawsuits concerning truck-car crashes, plaintiffs’ attorneys often wait to file until the state statute of limitations is nearing. In most states, the civil court statute of limitations is two or three years. By waiting, these attorneys are counting on memory loss and lost facts about the crash to give them the advantage. For a motor carrier’s defense, what’s reported and logged in the 24-hour window after a crash when the investigation is most active is crucial years later if a lawsuit is filed.
In a truck-car crash where all facts pointed fault at the passenger vehicle driver, the plaintiff’s attorney successfully argued the fault was on the professional driver using this quote from the professional driver’s statement in a law
enforcement report. The case resulted in a $3.5 million settlement. Words matter and making sure your drivers know what to say and how to articulate the facts of a crash in a stressful situation is important.
This content is for informational purposes only. Consult your actual insurance policy for details regarding terms, conditions, coverage, and exclusions.