If your vehicle is insured in British Columbia or you were the passenger in a B.C.-insured vehicle at the time of a crash, you are generally eligible for ICBC accident benefits. This is true of collisions involving semi trucks as well.
However, you may find that ICBC accident benefits do not fully compensate you for your injuries. Furthermore, pursuing a tort claim for negligence in a truck accident may not be as straightforward as you think.
With this in mind, it is important to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your truck accident claim. These claims are complex for a variety of reasons (see below), and it is in your best interest to have qualified legal counsel on your side.
Multiple Parties Will Likely Be Involved in Your Claim
Truck drivers are responsible for the safe operation of their vehicles. However, because they are acting as part of a commercial enterprise, other parties may be liable in the event of an accident.
Potentially liable parties in a truck accident include:
- The driver of the truck
- His or her employer
- The company that owns the tractor unit and/or the trailer
- The manufacturer of a defective part or component on the truck
- Mechanics, service centers, and other companies that were negligent in their maintenance or repair of the truck
- The owner and/or the handler of the truck’s cargo
To determine the share of fault that one or more of these parties has in the accident, it is often necessary for your lawyers to investigate not only the accident itself but the operations of multiple companies that may be involved.
Multiple Insurance Companies Will Likely Be Involved, Too
Each of the parties listed above may be covered by a different insurance company. Although you may be entitled to significant compensation through multiple commercial insurance policies, navigating the different terms, coverage, and policy limits is complicated.
Commercial trucking is an interprovincial and interterritorial (and even international) business. As a result, the truck that hits you may be insured by a company headquartered outside of British Columbia – or outside of Canada entirely.
The lawyer you choose for your truck accident claim should be well-versed in ICBC benefits claims as well as litigating claims against insurers from other provinces and countries.
Serious Injuries Are More Common in Truck Accidents
Another factor that often makes truck accident claims complicated is the high likelihood of serious injuries. Drivers and other occupants of passenger vehicles may suffer head and brain trauma, damage to the spinal cord, orthopaedic injuries, and more.
Treatment and rehabilitation for these injuries is costly. In some cases, victims never fully recover, which can limit their ability to work and earn a living.
Even if you are eligible for ICBC accident benefits, you may find that no-fault compensation doesn’t cover the entire cost of your injuries and other losses from the truck accident. If negligence was a factor in the crash, you may be able to recover full compensation through a tort claim against the truck driver and other parties.
To recover compensation, your lawyer must be able to prove that the negligence of the other parties resulted in your injuries. Litigating such a claim is often more complex than the process of applying for no-fault benefits from ICBC.
Truck Accident Investigations Are More Complicated
In car accident claims, investigation of the crash is generally straightforward. An officer of the local police or RCMP will arrive on the scene, and ICBC and other insurers may investigate the accident as well.
The investigation of truck accidents, however, is often much more extensive than cases involving other types of vehicles. In addition to investigation by local law enforcement and/or RCMP, agents of Transport Canada may respond to assess violations of the Canadian National Safety Code (NSC).
NSC regulations govern the safe operation of commercial vehicles, including:
- Training and licensing for commercial drivers
- Hours of service
- Cargo securement
- Inspection and maintenance of commercial vehicles
- Safety ratings for motor carriers
These standards are subject to change. It is important to hire a lawyer who has a thorough, up-to-date understanding of the federal regulations that may apply in your claim.
ICBC will also likely investigate the truck accident, as well as the insurers for the trucking company and other parties. The goal of private insurance companies in these cases will be to anticipate potential claims and develop a strategy to pay as little as possible.
If you pursue a tort claim against the truck driver, his or her employer, and other liable parties, you need an experienced litigator who will pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.
Evidence in Truck Accident Claims Is More Extensive
When negligence may have been a factor in a truck accident, the lawyer or law firm you hire will likely conduct an investigation of the crash and the parties involved. Given the scope of your injuries, the damages you have suffered, the role of multiple parties in the accident, and the complexity of applicable regulations, investigating a truck accident is a complicated process.
Steps of your lawyer’s truck accident investigation may include:
- Documenting evidence at the scene of the accident
- Requesting documents such as maintenance logs, employee records, and more from the trucking company
- Requesting accident reports from law enforcement and other agencies
- Inspection of the vehicles involved
- Downloading and reviewing data from the truck’s event data recorder
- Interviewing witnesses
- Consulting with experts
If you were seriously injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident, you deserve full compensation for your losses. Thorough preparation of your claim is the key to a favourable outcome.
Start Building Your Truck Accident Claim Today
Klein Lawyers has been serving clients for over 20 years. Our team of lawyers, legal assistants, and other staff has extensive experience helping victims of truck accidents and other motor vehicle collisions get the support and advocacy they deserve.
Please call (604) 874-7171 today for a free case evaluation. Klein Lawyers has offices in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia.