How Are Truck Accident Claims Different from Car Accident Claims in Minnesota?
Being involved in a large truck accident in Minnesota can be an incredibly scary experience. Victims of large truck crashes often sustain serious injuries and face long recovery times. If you are somebody you love has been injured in a Minnesota truck accident, then you need to understand how these claims differ from traditional vehicle accident claims. It is important that you secure the compensation you are entitled to, and the differences between regular car accidents and semi-truck accidents have a big impact on the claims process.
Larger insurance policies
One of the main differences between a typical car accident and a truck accident has to do with the insurance policies. Typically, truck drivers are covered by insurance policies that are much larger than those carried by regular vehicle drivers. Semi-truck insurance policies often reach a million dollars or more. Because of the larger policies, truck accident victims should be aware that the insurance carriers will work to do everything in their power to reduce the amount they have to pay out in a settlement. Truck company insurance carriers often have vast resources available, something that the truck accident victim may not have. One way to level the playing field is for Minnesota truck accident victims to secure an attorney who has the resources and experience necessary to take on the insurance carrier and trucking company.
Different regulations for semi-trucks
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and several state agencies strictly regulate these vehicles and their drivers. The FMCSA requires that all drivers be properly trained and carry their commercial driver’s licenses. Drivers must follow proper hours of service (HOS) requirements in order to prevent fatigue driving. Truck drivers should never operate while impaired or distracted.
Trucking companies are responsible for regularly inspecting and maintaining each vehicle. Failing to do so could result in the truck experiencing vehicle failure while on the roadway. Trucking companies are also responsible for ensuring each driver is qualified and trained for the job.
More severe injuries and higher medical bills
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety states that there were 4,623 total large truck crashes during the latest reporting year. Out of these incidents, there were 1,345 total injuries. Due to the large size and weight of these vehicles, it is not uncommon for truck accident victims to sustain the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries or other head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries with paralysis
- Internal organ damage and internal bleeding
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Severe lacerations or amputations
These injuries often result in medical bills that are much higher than those incurred by victims in traditional car accidents.
What Minnesota’s ‘No-Fault’ Statute Can Mean for a Truck Accident Injury Claim
You may be aware that Minnesota is a “no-fault” accident state. Typically, this means that injury victims turn to their own insurance coverage to pay for their medical bills and certain non-medical expenses. However, Minnesota truck accident victims can pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier (trucking company’s insurance) if their expenses are greater than their Personal Insurance Protection Insurance will cover and if any of the following thresholds are met:
- More than $4,000 in total medical expenses
- Permanent injury as a result of the crash
- Scarring or disfigurement due to the crash
- 60 days of disability after the crash
Many truck accidents in Minnesota are severe enough that these thresholds are easily met and a victim can pursue compensation from the truck driver’s insurance carrier.
Have Questions about a Case?
Navigating through a truck accident claim in Minnesota can be a difficult undertaking. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a vehicle accident of this kind, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice. Contact our office to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.