Highway Wreck Caused by Tractor Trailer...
We were driving and had entered the slow lane to exit the highway when a tractor trailer attempted to enter the same lane we were in. We were most likely his blind spot so he continued changing lanes. We attempted to move to the shoulder to avoid a collision but we lost control and ended up pinned under his trailer.
He continued traveling as if he was unaware we were there. When we became dislodged our vehicle slammed into a guardrail where it then caught on fire. The car is totaled. Thank God nobody died.
Where does liability lie in this scenario? Is it going to be difficult to collect from the tractor trailer company? Thanks.
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ANSWER for "Highway Wreck Caused by Tractor Trailer...":
Bill (Millersville, MD):
The Police Report usually has a lot to do with determining liability. We presume the state or local police were dispatched to the scene. They surely conducted an investigation. That will often include measuring tire skid marks, points of impact, glass breakage, and similar telling signs of fault.
They also interview the participants and possibly any witnesses to the scene. Many times the police will also issue a citation to the driver they believe was at fault.
From the facts you present you were first to enter the slow lane. If so, the tractor-trailer driver would be the at-fault driver.
It shouldn’t be difficult to collect from the tractor-trailer company. To do so you should:
A: Get a copy of the Police Report.
B: In the Report you will see the tractor-trailer driver’s insurance information.
C: Call his insurance company and report the collision.
(By now the tractor trailer driver should have already contacted his insurance company)
D: Call your own insurance company and report the collision.
(Doing so is not a “black mark” against you. Your insurance company needs to know about the collision, especially if there is a gap in the at-fault driver’s policy coverage.
If there is a gap in coverage your insurance company will pay the difference and then “Subrogate” against the at-fault driver. Subrogating means they will attempt to collect from the at-fault driver the amount they paid out on your behalf.)
E: When you're contacted by the at-fault driver’s insurance company representative, called a Claims Adjuster, give her the names of your doctors, body shop where your car was towed, and any other costs you and your family have so far incurred as a result of the collision.
F: Once all of the occupants of your vehicle have completed their medical treatment, and your vehicle has been replaced, you will be ready to begin the negotiations to settle your case.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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