Just think what a fully-loaded tractor-trailer can do when it hits anything doing 65 miles an hour. Professional drivers are (or, should be) trained operators who don’t take unwarranted risks, such as driving drowsy. They have numerous legal safeguards to prevent exactly that. Truckers don’t often go off the road but, when they do, damage can add up really fast and claims can be complex. The Morgan Law Firm is Meridian, Idaho’s top trucking accident firm and we should be your legal representative.
This is the most important question because it drives everything else. One might think that, for example, if the driver simply fell asleep, it’s his/her fault and that driver is totally personally responsible.
One would be very wrong. It’s never that simple.
Many drivers work in tandem, so the partner also has a personal obligation to prevent dangerous behavior. The trucking company, if the trucker is an employee, has a duty to train and oversee. Were the tractor and trailer owned by the same company? Was the crash caused by stevedores incorrectly loading a trailer? If the crash was due to mechanical failure, the people who did the repairs (maybe the trucking company, maybe a contractor) bear some responsibility. Did the mechanic fail or did the part? The part manufacturer might be facing a product liability case.
Was the property in the owner’s home state, was the trucker operating in his/her home state? Is the trucking company local or interstate? Were the parties involved in something happening in a state where no one lives, works or conducts business?
Generally, the laws of the state where the incident occurred take precedence, but trucking is an interstate industry, so federal law also comes into play.
These cases differ from auto accidents; “property damage” means property other than the victim’s vehicle — fence, house, business (building, inventory, etc.), barn, livestock, just about anything. Most property “depreciates”, becoming less valuable over time, while inflation increases cost over time. Do you sue for original value, current value or cost of replacement? Do you repair or replace? Can you upgrade or replace with something different if the original is no longer available? Does the damaged property have antique, cultural or historical value?
Every property damage case has its own details and challenges, and, of course, the defendant (or defendants) may try to negotiate a settlement, all will try to clear themselves of any wrongdoing. You need a partner that can handle all the potential details and complexities of your insurance claim. Contact Meridian, Idaho’s Morgan Law Firm — we handle it all.