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According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 415,000 auto accidents involve commercial trucks. These collisions are fatal, resulting in significant losses, especially if smaller vehicles are involved. Ideally, driving alongside trucks puts you at risk of sustaining fatal injuries should a collision occur.

It gets worse if the truck driver is unlicensed. Due to the complexity of the legalities involved, the process may drag, forcing you to wait indefinitely before being compensated. But the good news is you do not have to deal with this alone. Contact a Houston car accident lawyer today. Let us help you focus on your recovery while we deal with the legal procedures.

Do You Need a License to Drive a Box Truck?

Besides the jurisdiction, a box truck’s weight determines the type of license required to operate it. For example, box trucks with a gross weight rating of 26,000 and above pounds are classified as commercial vehicles. To operate such a vehicle, the driver must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Therefore, you may be deemed unlicensed if caught operating a commercial vehicle while bearing a regular driver’s license. This is a legal offense that can result in various penalties. These penalties may include the following.

  • Fines. The amount of penalty imposed for operating a commercial box truck without the appropriate certification varies from state to state. However, these fines can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
  • License suspension. This crime is as good as operating a vehicle without a license. It is a severe offense that can lead to a license suspension. Depending on the jurisdiction, a revocation may also be issued.
  • Vehicle impoundment. The authorities may hold the box truck being operated without a CDL indefinitely. The liable driver might incur impoundment fees once the authorities are ready to release the vehicle.
  • Criminal charges. Operating a commercial box truck without a CDL may be considered a criminal offense, especially if the driver can be linked to other violations. These scenarios come with severe penalties, which may include imprisonment.
  • Increased insurance rates. Did you know that violating traffic rules could increase your insurance rates? Insurance companies may view you as a high-risk client needing coverage often. Raising your insurance rates may be their only option for covering you without incurring losses.

What Happens If an Unlicensed Commercial Box Truck Driver Causes a Collision?

Operating a commercial box truck without a CDL is illegal. Causing a collision while operating the box truck escalates things further, warranting legal consequences. You may be charged in a court of law, leading to imprisonment or a license revocation, mainly if the incident resulted in a wrongful death. A heavy fine may be imposed on the unlicensed box truck driver if the crash resulted in injuries.

Ideally, liable parties cater to all the victims’ injuries and damages. Therefore, the unlicensed driver is expected to settle all the medical expenses incurred by the victims while recovering. Due to their injuries, some victims may have to take time off work to focus on their recovery. The unlicensed driver is expected to cover the wages these victims may lose while recovering. Other additional expenses that the unlicensed box truck driver may have to cover include home care, child care, or personal care.

A collision can also cause insurance implications for the unlicensed driver. Insurance companies require all drivers to have valid certifications. Failing to comply with this requirement can interfere with the liable driver’s compensation process. Besides a decrease, they may be denied coverage for their losses.

The trucking company that hired and authorized the unlicensed driver’s operation may also risk losing its operation rights or face legal consequences. Allowing a driver to operate without appropriate qualifications endangers the lives of other road users, which is negligence, a legal offense.

Importance of a Houston Car Accident Lawyer After a Collision with an Unlicensed Commercial Box Truck Driver

The legal framework for dealing with unlicensed commercial box truck collisions is complex. Hiring the expertise of an auto accident attorney is necessary. Their roles include the following.

  • Providing legal guidance. Experienced car crash lawyers have dealt with similar cases before. Therefore, they know what is required to make a solid claim. They also know all the tactics insurers may use to reduce your payout. For example, when dealing with insurers, you should refrain from using phrases such as “I am sorry” as they are interpreted as an admission of guilt. This is not common knowledge, and it may take guidance from a legal expert to choose the right words when addressing insurers.
  • Conducting investigations. A reasonable basis for a factual claim is evidence. Apart from the regular evidence gathered by taking pictures and videos of the scene, more concrete proof, which may include gathering findings from expert witnesses, may be required. This capacity can only be attained by qualified car accident lawyers due to their level of exposure and resources.
  • Determining liability. Determining liability is difficult, especially if a commercial box truck is involved. In such a scenario, more than one party is involved, meaning multiple parties can be liable for the damages, including the unlicensed driver, the trucking company, the truck’s owner, or other third parties, such as the truck’s maintenance company. However, pinpointing responsible parties requires proof of negligence and how their actions contributed to the incident. This is a complicated process whose execution requires a well-versed attorney.
  • Avoiding lowball offers. Insurers are in business. They make a profit by paying out less for damage coverage. The most common tactic insurers use to pay less is issuing first offers. Following a collision with a commercial box truck, you may be desperate to get an immediate handout due to the severity of injuries sustained. Insurers know this. They take advantage of such victims by offering them a quick settlement before they begin their claim process. The offer may seem enticing initially, but it is always far from the actual value of your damages. With a lawyer’s help, negotiations may be held until the insurers agree to fair compensation.
  • Negotiating with insurers. Before an amicable settlement is reached, negotiations must be carried out. You may not know precisely how to negotiate if you have little or no knowledge about insurance or its laws. This may result in a payout of less than what your damages are worth. Hiring a qualified car injury attorney to handle all communication with insurers ensures your rights are protected.
  • Calculating damages. Miscalculating damages is not new when it comes to insurers. This tactic is used to reduce the amount payable to clients for coverage. This applies mainly to Emotional and psychological pain. Appropriating a value to these damages is challenging because they cannot be calculated, unlike economic damages. A reasonable settlement should cover your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other expenses such as personal or home care. Hiring a lawyer prevents miscalculations, ensuring you receive a settlement proportional to the value of your injuries.
  • Legal representation. While most settlements are reached during negotiations, others are not. In such a scenario, taking the matter to court is the solution. Court sessions are intense. Handling them without a lawyer is futile. To win, concrete proof is required. For example, you may have to dig deeper for any traffic violations that may have been committed by the unlicensed driver or unethical conduct that the trucking company may have committed. To get your hands on such documentation, resources are required.
  • Peace of mind. Dealing with the aftermath of a collision with a commercial box truck can be overwhelming. Having to deal with complex legalities is adding salt to the injury. Imagine leaving the entire legal procedure in the hands of a car crash law firm while you focus on your recovery. Absolute peace, right? The best part of this arrangement is knowing that your legal representative has your best interests at heart.

Qualities of a Qualified Houston Car Accident Lawyer

The qualities you should look for when hiring legal help after a collision with an unlicensed box truck driver include the following.

  • Experience. Experience is the best teacher. Before hiring a lawyer, check their track record. It should consist of successful and favorable outcomes for previously handled cases.
  • Specialized expertise. You must hire a lawyer who has dealt with similar cases. For instance, it would help to hire a lawyer who has dealt with commercial trucks before than one who has only dealt with non-commercial vehicle collisions.
  • Communication skills. You need a lawyer who can keep you up to date with the progress of your case. You also need a lawyer who can respond quickly to any concerns or issues.

Conclusion

The legal aftermath of a collision with an unlicensed box truck driver is complex. Handling it alone can be frustrating. Besides losing focus on your recovery, you might also get a payout that is less than the value of your damages. Contact a Houston car accident lawyer today for legal representation to avoid this.

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Husain Law Firm

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