Our Albuquerque Truck Accident Lawyers Have Experience Taking on the Trucking Companies
Keller & Keller's experience includes more than 75 years of investigating claims that involve commercial policies like those carried by semi-truck companies. Time and time again we've witnessed the questionable tactics an insurance company will use to defend these claims.
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You can download a copy of our free book 10 Critical Questions You Need Answered Before You Sign Anything After a Truck Accident here to learn how to handle a complex truck accident claim and how to protect yourself against the trucking company’s insurance agents.
Truck Accidents are Unique Compared to Other Traffic Accidents
Unlike an accident involving two passenger cars, a collision with a semi-truck will affect those involved in different ways. Most likely, the person struck by the semi will be heavily scrutinized by the insurance company. At the same time, they will be unaware of the unique laws governing semi-trucks.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
Established in January 2000, the FMCSA was created by the Department of Transportation with the goal of reducing the number of injuries and deaths resulting from semi-truck accidents.
Semi-truck drivers and the companies that own the trucks are held to an entirely different standard than other vehicles on the roadway. A quick look at the FMCSA's rules and regulations is evidence enough that your accident will need to be given special consideration, especially with regard to legal implications.
Unique Differences Between Car & Truck Accidents
- Size and weight: Trucks are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, which can make them more dangerous in the event of an accident. The size and weight of a truck can also make it more difficult to stop or maneuver, increasing the likelihood of an accident.
- Damage and injuries: Because of their size and weight, truck accidents often result in more severe damage to vehicles and more serious injuries to drivers and passengers.
- Cause of accidents: There are many factors that can contribute to truck accidents, including driver fatigue, improper training, equipment failure, and poor vehicle maintenance.
- Legal considerations: Truck accidents often involve complex legal issues, such as determining fault and liability, that may not be present in car accidents. In addition, federal regulations apply to trucking companies and their drivers, which can further complicate legal proceedings.
- Insurance: Trucking companies typically carry much higher levels of insurance coverage than individual drivers, which can affect the settlement process in the event of an accident.
It's likely the insurance adjuster will want a recorded statement from you as soon as possible after the accident. Don't agree to this.
Trucking company insurance adjusters are trained to question you in a manner that elicits information that can permanently damage your injury claim. They will also ask you to sign a medical authorization form that allows them to dig into your medical history. In short, always speak to an experienced trucking attorney before you talk to the insurance company.
The current regulations in New Mexico mandate that a semi-truck, or other qualified commercial vehicles, be insured with a minimum policy of $750,000.00. Because these accidents typically involve multiple vehicles and/or significant injuries to multiple people, it's imperative that an attorney investigate all sources of insurance to properly compensate you for your injuries.
Liability Factors Can Affect the Value of Your Case
If the semi-truck driver is 80% at fault and you are 20% at fault, your settlement amount would be reduced by 20%. (Always consult with an attorney about your state's negligence laws).
Our goal is to place 100% fault on the truck driver to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation for your case.
Negligent Actions That Contribute to Truck Crashes
Drowsy Truck Driver Statistics
- Studies have shown that being awake for a long period of time (18 hours) will leave a driver with the motor reflexes of someone who has a BAC level of 0.08%, putting them at equal risk of crashing.
- Commercial trucks account for a small percentage of registered vehicles on our roadways, yet account for an alarming number of passenger vehicle accidents that involve death. (According to a 1999 report by the NHTSA, large trucks accounted for 3% of the registered vehicles on our highways, however, they were responsible for 13% of passenger vehicle deaths.)
- Fatigue and drowsy driving are said to be contributing factors in as many as 30-40% of all commercial truck accidents.
- A 1995 National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) study found that of 107 heavy truck crashes, fatigue was a prominent factor in 75% of the run-off-the-road crashes, with 68% of long-haul drivers and 49% of short-haul drivers suffering fatigue-related crashes.
- A commercial truck driver who skips mandated rest breaks and sleeps greatly increases the likelihood of their being involved in an accident due to drowsiness. Additionally, a truck driver's ability to gain proper restorative sleep is affected even if they try to "catch up" on sleep when they have a day off.
- Australian research and on-site investigations over the last several years have determined that, overall, one crash in every five truck drivers is due to falling asleep at the wheel and that up to 30% of truck crash fatalities on rural roads are due to sleep deprivation.
- The risk of a crash effectively doubles from the eighth to the tenth hour of driving and doubles again from the tenth to the eleventh hour of driving alone. (FMCSA, 2000).
How Our Albuquerque Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help:
Experienced and Award Winning
Insurance companies will be extremely aggressive in the defense of the trucking company; their only goal is to limit the amount they have to pay out to the victims. They are often backed by high-priced attorneys and will work to settle the case as quickly as possible. Without an attorney looking out for your interests, you could lose everything.
When you are represented by one of our attorneys, we work with the goal of ensuring you receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any emotional distress.
Contact Us for a Free Evaluation of Your Truck Accident Claim
We offer a Zero Fee Guarantee to victims of semi-truck accidents in New Mexico. This means you'll never pay for a consultation fee, and the only way our firm receives payment for its legal services is if a recovery is made on your behalf. We do this to ensure every resident has the opportunity to hire one of New Mexico's experienced injury firms at no cost and no risk.
If you wish to speak to one of our award-winning attorneys right now, you can call us at 1-800-253-5537, or if you prefer to write us the details of your accident, you can email us through our confidential, free contact form.