Trucking LitigationLegal Compliance Resource
November 12, 2012 — 960 views
The trucking industry is one where litigation is a fact of life. When big trucks and fast speeds are involved, accidents can happen. Trucking companies have to be prepared for tort actions when accidents arise. They also have to be aware of the insurance implications. All trucking companies have insurance that covers many of the costs of litigation. Still, those smart professionals within the trucking industry will do everything in their power to make the litigation process painless. These cases can be complicated, leaving attorneys, juries and judges a lot to sort through in the end.
General Negligence Tort Theories in Trucking Litigation
Most trucking litigation will revolve around general negligence theory. Cases often turn on which party is deemed to be at fault in the accident. The police who respond to these cases will have a say in determining this. Their opinion is not the final word, though. During the litigation process, competing attorneys will have the opportunity to argue why their client was not at fault for the accident. In some states, things get even more complicated from there. Some states divide fault among the different parties, so an attorney's job is much more difficult.
Insurance Coverage and Limits
Insurance companies play a pivotal role in the litigation process. Most insurance agreements state that the company is obligated to pay for the trucking company's legal defense. There may be some financial limits on the policy, though. Many insurance providers only cover their insured’s up to a certain point. In these instances, trucking companies could be on the hook for any judgment amount that goes beyond the cap for the insurance policy.
Settlement Discussions in the Litigation Context
In these sorts of tort cases, most plaintiffs and defendants will never see a court room. Trucking companies do not want the bad press associated with litigation. Insurance companies run their predictive models to determine the costs of going to court. In almost every instance, litigation is so expensive that it is simply not feasible for defendants. The better choice for the trucking companies is to settle the case as early as possible. Good attorneys work with their clients to come up with settlement plans that are reasonable and acceptable.
The trucking industry is full of litigation. Different tort claims make their way into the system each day. Smart attorneys help these clients deal with the ongoing threat of potentially damaging litigation.