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Vehicle collisions can feel like a nightmare: adrenaline makes the scene move in slow motion, making every detail stand out, sharply highlighted. Afterward, your reactions and reflections can be tinged by pain from injuries and emotional trauma. In an accident involving a commercial truck, there are a few more details to consider, as well. From insurance and company policies, not to mention considering who is at fault, there are more factors and parties involved. To avoid any confusion, here are the steps you should take if you’re hit by a commercial truck.
Montana is the land of trucks, from Ford Rangers to Toyota Tundras and on up to dump trucks and eighteen-wheelers. But here we’re talking about commercial trucks, primarily used for hauling. That could be a delivery truck, a cement truck, or a semi. It’s a hauling vehicle owned by a business, used for business purposes, and operated by an employee or contractor.
Collisions with bigger vehicles can lead to more severe injuries. It’s important to be on the alert for signs and symptoms of major issues like brain injures, broken bones, internal injuries, spinal cord injuries, and head trauma. That’s on top of the typical ones to look for after a crash like whiplash and strain. Be sure to seek medical care as soon as you can following an accident, even if it’s just for a quick check-up. Keep all of your medical records from visits with doctors and specialists during this time. Then, document any issues that arise over the next couple of months, just in case any delayed-onset injuries begin to sink in.
Things work a little differently with accidents involving a commercial vehicle. While in a regular vehicle collision, one of the parties driving a vehicle is likely the only one at fault. However, when commercial vehicles are involved, entities like the trucking company, cargo company, or manufacturer may hold some or all of the liability in an accident.
Truck drivers are subjected to more laws than just the rules of the road. They often have restrictions on how many consecutive hours they can drive, and how long of a break they need to take in between. If the driver responsible for the incident was in violation, this might mean that the driver’s employer was not complying with these laws. In this case, the employer would be liable. Trucks also have to travel at slower speeds than other vehicles. If the driver was going over the speed limit, it might implicate the driver as liable. In many cases, more than one party is at fault.
If you work with a personal injury attorney like those at Cok Kinzler, they’ll look into every detail regarding the involved company’s policies, local, state, and federal laws around commercial trucks, and more to make sure you have a full understanding of who’s at fault before pursuing damages.
As a modified comparative fault state, Montana evaluates the percentage of fault that the plaintiff holds relative to the defendant in a collision case. The amount that can be recouped is then adjusted based on the percentage of fault held by you, the plaintiff. That’s where having skilled attorneys—like the ones with Cok Kinzler—comes in.
You might be eligible for both economic and non-economic damages in the case of a collision with a commercial truck. You also may qualify for punitive damages, if the responsible party acted with malice that caused the crash. But be aware, Montana law exempts public employees and public entities from punitive damages. So punitive damages wouldn’t be available if you were the victim of an accident with a state or local government vehicle. Cok Kinzler excels at unraveling the ins and outs of each unique situation, helping you pursue what is owed to you after an accident.
To seek out legal support following a crash involving a commercial vehicle, contact the professionals at Cok Kinzler. Fill out the contact form below to get in touch for a free consultation.