When I meet with new clients for the first time, I find by far that the most frequently asked question is about the value of their accident claim. As an experienced lawyer, like one of the Auto Accident Lawyers Indianapolis, IN residents trust, who practices injury law in the city also known as the Crossroads of America—I tell them with certainty that the more important question is how much is collectable? Because injuries and deaths caused by semi tractor-trailers are frequently of a scope much greater than harms received from a car accident, my clients are concerned about paying the sizeable medical bills incurred and the loss of earning capacity at this time when money is stretched.
Collectability is always a concern when you are holding a trucking company responsible for your client’s injuries or the wrongful death of a loved one. The trucking business is an interesting study in that many commercial trucking transportation firms began as family-owned small fleet businesses that have been passed down through the generations. Before you can surmise a realistic and collectable value, your trucking accident lawyer must thoroughly investigate and understand the registered ownership within the structure of any subsidiary companies if such relationships exist.
Collectability issues may arise when the business owner or company is self-insured and doesn’t have the funds to fairly and adequately compensate you for catastrophic injuries or the death of the family’s breadwinner. A weak asset line can destabilize a strong case. If the facts of the claim permit, your trucking accident lawyer may turn to your uninsured/underinsured motorists automobile coverage as well as an umbrella policy if you have one in place and third parties who may have some responsibility for your damages.
Another point of interest is that trucking companies sometimes scatter their liability exposure within a hierarchy of sister/parent companies. For example, one company may be responsible for the hiring of truck drivers. A related company has the logistical responsibilities. You never know, until you thoroughly investigate all of the related companies, who has the ultimate responsibility and the insurance policy that will compensate you for your damages.
I would strongly advise anyone seeking to file a claim for damages against a trucking company to choose an experienced trucking accident lawyer, someone who is familiar with federal transport law; a lawyer with a sound reputation among his or her peers; an advocate who is not looking to make a name for him or herself; but an attorney with a sincere and realistic desire to make you, their client, financially whole once again.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Ward & Ward for their insight into truck accident cases.