Truck accident cases in Delaware often result in catastrophic injuries or are often fatal. Injured victims and their families often incur major financial losses like medical bills and lost wages, in addition to significant pain and suffering.
In our Delaware Car & Truck Accident Law practice, we represent those injured in truck accidents whether they involve small companies or large trucking companies and large scale businesses that operate trucks in Delaware.
In the article below, we discuss compensation in truck accident cases and the role of commercial auto insurance policies through the following hypothetical.
A Delaware resident is driving to work in the morning just outside of Wilmington. She is stopped at a red light waiting for the light to turn green. A truck driver is making a delivery to a local store and is traveling directly behind the Delaware resident at full speed. As the truck driver approaches the same intersection, he fails to see that the traffic light is red. He strikes the car in front of him with such force that the car is pushed into oncoming traffic. The Delaware resident sustains major injuries.
Injured Victims’ Compensation Claims
PIP Benefits Aren’t Included in Compensation Claims
In a Delaware truck accident case, the injured party can seek compensation for any and all financial losses as well as pain and suffering. However, the injured party, assuming they are a Delaware resident and have auto insurance coverage, would first make a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claim for medical bills and wage loss benefits. After the PIP benefit runs out, the injured individual may incur additional medical bills and lost wages. It’s these post-PIP financial losses that get compensated in a truck accident lawsuit.
In our example above, the Delaware resident would make a PIP claim under her own car insurance policy, up to the amount purchased on the policy. State law mandates a minimum PIP amount of $15,000 on every policy issued in Delaware. If the injured resident has a minimum PIP policy, she would be able to make a claim for up to $15,000 of medical benefits and wage loss pursuant to her PIP policy. Read more about PIP law in Delaware car accident cases.
After the $15,000 PIP benefit runs out, the Delaware resident would incur additional medical bills, and if the injuries result in a disability, she would lose wages as well. In her truck accident lawsuit, she can make a claim for these post-PIP financial losses.
Commercial Auto or Truck Insurance Policies – Auto Accident Liability
In most truck accident cases, including box truck or delivery trucks or tractor-trailers, commercial insurance policies apply. Regardless of the type of policy, the key coverage is auto accident liability. This type of coverage applies when an insured’s agent or employee was operating a truck or company vehicle and caused an accident.
The coverage amount will vary across policies. Depending on state and federal laws, certain types of insurance coverage may be required for large trucks. For example, federal regulations require that certain commercial trucks (in interstate commerce with a gross weight rating over 10,000 pounds) carry a minimum of $750,000 of commercial insurance coverage for truck accidents. The required amount of insurance increases, depending on the type of cargo. Hazardous cargo requires greater coverage amounts.
Going back to our example, the Delaware resident would make a legal claim against the truck driver’s employer by filing a lawsuit. The insurance company for the employer isn’t a party to the case, but per the commercial truck insurance policy, is obligated to process the claim. Essentially, the Delaware resident is making an insurance claim under the truck insurance policy. If the case is successful, she would receive compensation from the insurance company directly.
Representing Truck Accident Victims in Delaware
Contact our Delaware trucking accident lawyers for a FREE consultation. Our law firm has been helping residents of Delaware and the surrounding states since 1992. (302) 658-1717 (Wilmington, Newark) or (302) 736-5500 (Dover)
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