An 80,000 pound semi truck can cause a lot of injury and damage in an accident. Although truck driver injuries and fatalities do happen, the greatest harm occurs to the occupants of smaller vehicles. This is why truck drivers are held to a higher standard than ordinary motorists. However, even the most professional of truck drivers are at risk of getting into an accident. You can’t control what other drivers might do, or always avoid a crash caused by an erratic vehicle in front of you.
Sometimes, even the most professional truck driver can be found at fault for an accident. For example, it only takes a moment’s distraction while doing your pre-trip inspection to miss a critical problem with your rig. If this oversight causes or contributes to an accident, you could be facing a civil lawsuit in which an aggressive lawyer will go after as much damages as possible. If you’re an owner operator with insufficient bodily injury liability insurance, your savings, assets, and a good percentage of your future wages are at stake. In other words, your way of life is at risk.
Civil litigation is a business. The Internet is full of law firm websites with blogs that “educate” the public on their right to demand what is owed to them through civil lawsuits. As a consequence, public awareness of the civil lawsuit option is at an all-time high. In other words, we live in a sue-happy society.
Law firms are willing to work on a contingency fee basis in traffic accident cases. These include accidents involving semi trucks. A contingency fee is the money a lawyer earns only if she wins the case. It is usually a percentage of the awarded damages to the accident victim. Contingency fees mean that the victim doesn’t have to pay for the lawyer’s services and can therefore pursue a lawsuit without any financial risk. This increases the likelihood of a person suing you in an accident. The contingency fee motivates the lawyer to go after as much damages as possible since his income and the well-being of the law firm depends on it.
The point of the above is that a lawsuit is not as remote a possibility as you might think. As an owner operator, it’s important that you have enough liability coverage. While there are federally mandated minimums, they may not be enough for some owner operators. If you have questions about this or about Tennessee commercial or owner operator truck insurance, contact us.