When you are rear-ended by a company vehicle, it’s important to understand your rights. Your claim for damages can often be dramatically different when you’re rear-ended by a company vehicle. The reason for this is the potential for punitive damages, which increase the value of your personal injury case. Punitive damages are codified by the NC General Statutes in N.C.G.S. sec. 1D.
As a Charlotte personal injury law firm, our firm has experience representing individuals who have been in accidents involving commercial vehicles. Sometimes those clients are pedestrians who have been struck by a work vehicle. Other times, our client was rear-ended by a company vehicle while driving their own personal vehicle.
How Your Case Is Different When A Commercial Vehicle Is Involved
In a typical car accident, both drivers are operating their personal vehicles. Ideally, both drivers are insured at the time of the accident. The at-fault party can expect to pay damages to the other driver if they were injured in the accident. In these cases, each driver should carry the NC state minimum insurance requirements. In the event the injuries exceed the policy limits of the at-fault driver, our firm can typically recover additional funds from our client’s insurance company under the Underinsured Motorist coverage on our client’s policy.
In the commercial setting, if someone is rear-ended by a company vehicle, a few things are different. First, the insurance limits covering the company driver will typically be much higher than those carried by most private motorists. Second, as a personal injury law firm, we will investigate the facts surrounding the accident to determine if the company itself is at fault. For example:
Did the company driver have a prior history of accidents?
Did a failure to maintain the company vehicle contribute to the accident?
Does the company have a history of negligent retention of employees?
In the corporate setting, when you are rear-ended by a company vehicle, your case may be a good case for additional damages. Juries are often asked to consider punitive damages in these cases. This changes the nature of the jury’s deliberation. Usually, a jury is awarding the injured party an amount of money meant to compensate the injured party for their loss. When punitive damages are considered by a jury, the jury is considering an amount that will discourage the at-fault company and all other companies from engaging in similar behavior. This is why a failure to maintain a vehicle or knowledge surrounding an employee’s prior driving record is relevant.
Negotiating A Claim When Rear-Ended By A Company Vehicle
The available insurance coverage and the public policy to prevent companies from knowingly engaging in negligent behavior change the negotiation. Your personal injury lawyer will present your case to the insurance adjuster or their attorney in a manner that reflects this. By citing recent case law which supports the damages requested, your lawyer can build the value of your case so that you are adequately compensated.
Ultimately, your personal injury settlement should reflect all circumstances surrounding your accident. Our staff will walk you through the demand package we are submitting to the insurance company to be sure you understand the process as we request a settlement from the insurance adjuster.
Investigating The At-Fault Company
Another distinguishing factor in rear-end collisions involving commercial vehicles is the tendency for the personal injury law firm to employ an investigator to research the company’s history. This investigation will include uncovering past accidents, corporate policies, and finally whether the company complies with state and federal regulations. In cases like these, quite often the case is as much about your injury as it is about the company’s failure to abide by the rules for doing business in the state. If a failure to follow those rules contributed to the accident, it becomes a key factor in achieving full value for your claim.
Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Most of our clients have never sued another individual. Most of our clients have never been seriously injured in a car accident before. We understand this is all new territory to you, and your primary focus is on recovery from your injuries. In our opinion, it makes sense to partner with a personal injury law firm to be sure your rights are protected and you are treated fairly.
If you’d like to speak with us about your accident, call us at 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION and we will reach out to discuss your case today.