What Happens if an Accident Occurs With an Uninsured Truck Driver?

What Happens if an Accident Occurs With an Uninsured Truck Driver
What Happens if an Accident Occurs With an Uninsured Truck Driver?

Any accident presents a difficult situation for all parties involved. However, an uninsured truck driver accident is even more complicated and costly.

But what happens if an accident occurs with an uninsured truck driver? And what recourse for compensation do those involved have?

Knowing the answers to these questions will make it easier for you and your truck accident attorney to hold the responsible party accountable and secure your right to full, fair compensation for damages.

What Insurance Do Truck Drivers Need?

What Insurance Do Truck Drivers Need

Insurance requirements for truck drivers vary depending on the truck's size and what it is used for.

However, all commercial trucks must carry at least one or more of the following: 

These insurance policies are meant to protect commercial truckers and other motorists in case of an accident. When they fail to meet the financial damages caused by an uninsured truck driver, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Why Would a Truck Driver Not Have Insurance?

There are several reasons why a truck driver may not have insurance.

Some common reasons include:

  • Failure to renew or maintain their insurance policy. Truckers must maintain valid and up-to-date insurance policies. However, some may fail to do so due to negligence or financial issues.
  • Deliberate avoidance of insurance requirements. Truck drivers may intentionally avoid purchasing insurance to save money or because they have a history of accidents or violations that make it challenging to secure affordable rates.
  • Lapsed insurance due to non-payment. Some drivers may have had insurance at one point but, due to financial struggles, could not keep up with premium payments, and their policy lapsed.

The reason doesn't matter. If an uninsured truck driver causes an accident, they can face serious legal and financial consequences.

Understanding Liability Laws and Fault for Uninsured Truck Drivers

Does uninsured automatically mean at fault?

Not necessarily. Fault in a truck accident case must be determined by examining all the evidence and factors involved. However, if an uninsured truck driver causes the accident, you can hold them personally responsible for any damages or injuries.

Sometimes, state laws hold trucking companies or employers liable for accidents involving their employees, even if the employee is uninsured. This is called vicarious liability.

So, while no default ruling makes uninsured truck drivers responsible for all accidents, they are still subject to the same legal consequences as insured drivers if found at fault.

Additionally, they can face penalties in addition to paying compensatory damages, including:

  • License suspension
  • Criminal charges for driving without insurance
  • Higher insurance premiums in the future 
  • Financial penalties

Understanding your state's fault laws and seeking the help of an experienced truck accident attorney ensures you can seek justice and compensation after an accident occurs with an uninsured truck driver.

Why Do I Have to Prove Liability in an Uninsured Truck Accident?

Why Do I Have to Prove Liability in an Uninsured Truck Accident

Because uninsured truck drivers don't have insurance policies to cover damages and injuries, there is no insurance company to negotiate with or pay out compensation. For this reason, you may need to file a claim or personal injury lawsuit to recover damages against your own insurance for uninsured motorist coverage. 

To succeed in a personal injury lawsuit, your attorney must prove that the uninsured truck driver was at fault for the accident. This can involve gathering evidence such as police reports, witness statements, and other relevant documentation.

Securing full compensation for your injuries and damages may be difficult without proper legal representation and a strong case proving liability.

Common ways to prove liability include: 

  • Showing that the driver was negligent or reckless in their actions
  • Proving that the trucking company was aware of any dangerous behaviors by the driver and failed to address them
  • Demonstrating that the accident was caused by a defective vehicle part or equipment provided by the trucking company.

You must prove liability in any personal injury case, but especially when dealing with uninsured truck drivers. An award-winning personal injury attorney will make every effort to hold the responsible party accountable.

The Costs of Uninsured Truck Accidents

Economic Damages

It’s easy to disregard minor accidents and think paying for damages out of pocket is less complicated. However, when it comes to truck accidents, the costs can easily escalate beyond what most people can afford. 

Economic damages that may arise from an uninsured truck accident include:

  • Medical bills: Injuries sustained in a truck accident can be severe and require extensive medical treatment. For example, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and internal injuries can result in high medical bills exceeding $3+ million over a lifetime.
  • Property damage: Truck accidents often involve damage to other vehicles and property, which can quickly add up in repair or replacement costs. With the average price of a new car in the USA being $45,000, even a minor accident can result in significant expenses.
  • Lost wages or earning potential: Injuries sustained in a truck accident may prevent individuals from working and earning an income. This loss of income can majorly impact their financial stability and future earning potential, costing hundreds of thousands of millions over a lifetime
  • Funeral and burial expenses. When a truck accident leads to wrongful death, families of injured parties may be responsible for funeral and burial expenses, which can add up to tens of thousands of dollars

Even in truck accidents where the driver is insured, the cost of these economic damages can easily exceed insurance policy limits, which are typically set at $10,000 to $50,000 per person or $500,000 to $1 million per incident.  

This is why uninsured truck accidents can be especially devastating. When the driver is uninsured, injured victims are left responsible for covering these expenses on their own while trusting a personal injury attorney to litigate on their behalf with the responsible party. 

Non-Economic Damages

The cost of an uninsured truck accident is not just limited to economic damages but can also include non-economic damages such as:

  • Pain and suffering: Injuries sustained in a truck accident can cause physical pain and emotional suffering, significantly diminishing an individual's quality of life.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: Severe injuries from a truck accident can result in long-term or permanent disabilities, limiting an individual's ability to enjoy life and participate in activities they once loved.
  • Loss of consortium: Spouses and family members may also experience non-economic damages due to loss of companionship, support, and services from an injured party.

Non-economic damages vary from state to state and may be subject to injury thresholds, caps, or other limitations. Trust a commercial truck accident lawyer to navigate these complex laws and secure full, fair compensation.

What to Do After an Accident Occurs With an Uninsured Truck Driver?

Call the police.

Uninsured truck drivers may try to convince you to handle the accident without involving the police or insurance companies. However, it is essential to call the police and report the accident to create an official record.

Without creating an official record of the accident, there is nothing to hold the uninsured truck driver responsible for their actions or your future medical expenses. 

Additionally, if they have a history of driving without insurance, this will be documented and used against them in legal proceedings to benefit your compensation claim.

Gather evidence.

Depending on where the accident happened, you may need to file claims directly with your insurance company before having the option to sue the uninsured truck driver. Therefore, gathering as much evidence as possible at the accident scene is crucial. 

This can include taking photos of the damage and injuries, obtaining witness statements, and collecting preliminary reports from the officers on the scene.

Contact a truck accident attorney.

Even if your insurance policy includes uninsured motorist coverage, having an attorney advocate for you is crucial to avoid being under-compensated for your injuries. 

Statistics show that a personal injury attorney can maximize compensation compared to pursuing legal action alone. Plus, with compassionate legal support filing, communication, negotiating, and litigating on your behalf, you can focus on your recovery and mental health. 

Organized all records. 

It is essential to keep all records related to the accident, including medical bills, car repair costs, and lost wages. These documents will be important in determining the extent of your damages and losses and can help support your personal injury claim.

Your documentation should also include notes on your pain and suffering, limitations on daily activities due to injuries, and any emotional distress experienced as a result of the accident. These non-economic damages can also be included in your claim for compensation. 

Forward all communications to your attorney.

Any communication from the uninsured truck driver or their insurance company should be forwarded to your attorney. They can handle all negotiations and communication on your behalf, protecting you from any potential manipulation or intimidation tactics.

Additionally, you should limit any social media posts or public discussions about the accident, as the other side will use them against you in legal proceedings. Run every post by your attorney before you publish anything.

How Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Work? 

How Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Work

If you decide to pursue legal action against an uninsured truck driver, the process will typically involve:

  • Filing a complaint: A complaint is a legal document that outlines the details of your case and demands compensation for damages.
  • Discovery: This is the process of gathering evidence from both sides, including witness statements, medical records, and other relevant documents.
  • Settlement negotiations: Your attorney will work with the other party to negotiate a fair settlement that covers your damages and losses.
  • Trial: If your lawyer cannot settle, the case may go to trial, where both sides present their arguments and evidence before a judge or jury.
  • Judgment: The court will then decide on the case and determine whether compensation should be awarded.

You need an experienced attorney for the lengthy and complex process of a personal injury lawsuit. 

While the process is ongoing, follow your attorney's advice and continue to gather any necessary evidence or documentation.

Have You Been in a Truck Accident With an Uninsured Motorist Seek Legal Help Immediately

Uninsured truck drivers pose a particularly challenging problem for those involved in accidents with them. 

Not only do they create financial strain for the injured party, but they also escalate the legal complexities of the situation.  

However, just because a truck driver is uninsured doesn't mean that you can't file a personal injury lawsuit to receive compensation for your damages. 

Contact a Roseville personal injury lawyer today for a free consultation and learn how to protect your rights after an accident occurs with an uninsured truck driver.

Uninsured Truck Driver Accident FAQ

Do I have to testify in court?

Personal injury lawsuits often rely on the testimony of expert witnesses and those directly involved in the accident. However, depending on the circumstances of the case, your testimony may or may not be required. If it is, your attorney will prepare you for the process. 

How long will it take to receive compensation?

The length of time for a personal injury lawsuit can vary. This depends on the case's complexity and whether you can settle or must go to trial.

How much does a truck accident attorney cost?

Top-rated personal injury law firms often work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you receive compensation. This fee is typically a percentage of the amount awarded in the settlement or judgment. Discuss payment options with your attorney during your free case evaluation.