A car accident involving a company vehicle can be complex and frustrating to deal with. If you go it alone, you could find yourself outmatched by companies with deep pockets, their insurance companies, and their lawyers.
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you in numerous ways. Below, you’ll find out what to expect from your attorney when navigating a company car accident claim.
Protecting your rights
After being hit by a company vehicle, you may face numerous challenges. Hiring an experienced car accident lawyer is crucial in protecting your rights and ensuring you’re treated fairly.
Your attorney can handle all communications with the company’s insurance provider. This prevents you from making a statement that could jeopardize your chances of recovering damages. Plus, an attorney can advise you on the best course of action to take throughout the process. That may include:
- Refraining from speaking to insurance companies.
- Attending all medical appointments.
- Keeping records and receipts of your medical treatment.
- Avoiding activities that can delegitimize your injury.
Determining fault after being hit by a company vehicle
If you were hit by a company vehicle, proving negligence is one of the most important aspects of building a claim. Your attorney will need to establish fault before negotiations for a settlement can begin. To successfully prove negligence, there are four key elements that your attorney needs to establish. That includes:
- Duty of care: In the case of a company vehicle car accident, it must be proven that the driver had a duty to operate safely and responsibly, as well as follow all traffic laws and regulations.
- Breach of duty: Once it has been established that a duty of care existed, your attorney will need to prove that the company vehicle driver breached that duty. This involves showing that the driver acted in a negligent or careless manner. This can include speeding, distracted driving, impaired driving, drowsy driving, or disregarding traffic signals.
- Causation: Next, your attorney will need to establish a direct link between the breach of duty and the crash itself. Your attorney must demonstrate that the negligent actions of the company vehicle driver directly caused or contributed to the crash.
- Damages: Finally, to prove negligence, your attorney must demonstrate that actual damages resulted from the crash involving the company vehicle. This can include physical injuries, property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Investigating company vehicle car accidents.
A skilled attorney is your best ally after being hit by a company vehicle. They can thoroughly investigate the crash and gather key evidence to support and strengthen your claim. That includes the police report, witness statements, crash scene photos, and any available surveillance footage.
In some cases, an attorney may call upon a skilled crash reconstruction expert to determine the events that led to your car accident. Using their expertise in engineering, physics, and forensic analysis, they meticulously examine vehicle damage, skid marks, and other crash scene evidence.
An attorney can also investigate the company that owns the vehicle you were hit by. Companies have a duty to ensure that their vehicles operate safely. They must ensure that all vehicles are properly inspected, maintained, and repaired before placing them into service. Additionally, companies have an obligation to hire drivers with good driving records. Some evidence that an attorney may look for includes:
- Driver logs and records: Driver logs and records can indicate whether a driver was adhering to regulations regarding rest breaks, hours of service, and other safety protocols. Any violations can be crucial evidence of negligence.
- Vehicle maintenance records: Maintenance records can prove whether or not a company properly maintained its vehicles. This includes regular inspections, repairs, and adherence to safety standards.
- Hiring and training practices: An attorney can investigate the hiring and training practices of companies. This includes looking into background checks conducted on drivers, driver qualifications, and the adequacy of training programs.
- Electronic logging devices (ELDs): ELDs are electronic systems that track a commercial vehicle's driving time and hours of service. An attorney can obtain and analyze ELD data to verify compliance with regulations. They can also identify any potential violations leading up to the crash.
Negotiating for a fair settlement
Car accidents involving company vehicles are often huge liabilities for insurance companies. For example, an insurance company stands to lose millions of dollars after a truck accident. Many insurance companies will go to great lengths to minimize their payouts, especially when there are multiple parties injured in the same crash.
A car accident with a company vehicle can result in a highly complex case. That’s why you should seek the help of an attorney who understands how to communicate and negotiate with insurance companies. They can use the evidence they find to link your injuries to the crash and fight for a fair settlement.
If they can’t reach a settlement, they can litigate on your behalf in the courtroom. When they take your case to trial, they can call witnesses to testify and present evidence before a judge and jury.