St. Louis Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer
Collision Involving in a Commercial Vehicle
Commercial truck accidents occur when a large truck operated for business purposes collides with another motor vehicle, a pedestrian, or an obstacle like a guardrail or building. Commercial trucks may be operated by the person driving them, known as an “owner-operator,” or by a separate company for whom the driver works. When a commercial truck collides with a passenger vehicle or pedestrian, causing injury, there may be several layers of parties to go through before figuring out who should ultimately be held liable for the crash.
Because there may be many insurance companies and policies involved after an accident, it’s important to find an experienced St. Louis truck accident lawyer in St. Louis who knows how to navigate negotiations and information-sharing with many insurers. Accidentally forgetting one of these parties or not realizing one should be involved can cause serious delays and other problems in seeking rightful compensation.
Commercial Truck Drivers in Missouri
As the person behind the wheel, the driver of a vehicle has immediate control of the situation. Often, something the driver has done or failed to do in the moments before the accident plays a key role in how the crash unfolds. For instance, a driver who is distracted or fatigued may not be able to respond to a situation quickly enough to avoid a crash, while a driver who is paying close attention to the road may be able to avoid a collision or maneuver the commercial truck so that the damage is reduced.
Some drivers own their own trucks and their own trailers. Others own the truck but not the trailer the truck is pulling. Some drivers lease their equipment from another company, but work for themselves. Finally, some drivers drive tractors and trailers that belong to another company, for which they are employed.
A truck “employer” is someone who controls the hours, loads, and routes a truck driver drives. Often, but not always, the employer also owns the commercial truck the driver is operating on a given route. Employers are usually responsible for administrative tasks such as insurance, scheduling, and making sure repairs and maintenance on the trucks are performed regularly and correctly. They must also make sure their drivers are properly licensed, pass their required drug tests and health screenings, and meet federal commercial trucking regulations, such as keeping track of the hours they drive.
Not all commercial truck drivers are employed by a separate company. Commercial truck drivers who work for themselves, known as “owner-operators,” may drive loads for other businesses, but they typically work as independent contractors. Owner-operators are responsible for the administrative side of the business as well as for driving the truck. They must make sure their own licenses, insurance, health, and drug screenings, and other requirements are met.
Truck Insurance for Commercial Vehicles
Nearly all commercial trucks on the road are insured. Most states require liability insurance for all vehicles on the roads, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires commercial trucking companies to carry insurance as well. In addition, loads are often insured separately, especially if they are perishable, valuable, or required in order to finish work on time. An owner-operator and the company for which the owner-operator is hauling a load may have separate insurance policies and companies for various purposes, any of which can come into play if an accident occurs. In addition, an injured driver or passenger may also have auto insurance that may cover some or all of the bills after an accident.
Experienced St. Louis Attorneys
Our St. Louis commercial truck accident attorneys handle truck crash cases on a daily basis. We know about the many parties and issues that may be involved in a commercial case, and we’re well-trained in balancing competing interests to get our clients the compensation they need after a crash. Call us today to learn more.