Sometimes accidents are difficult to call on the scene as to which driver was at fault, if either was, and sometimes insurance companies decide the outcome of a claim based on their professional adjusters, not necessarily what the police are reporting. Typically, a diagram is drawn as to which vehicle was coming from which direction and then what was observed at the point of impact.
But that is only the beginning of investigating ‘fault’ in an accident and when a commercial vehicle is involved, dollar signs start popping up and often the at-fault driver will contest the outcome, resulting in lengthy litigation.
If you or one of your employees was involved in a collision in the Lone Star State, you really should consult with an consult with an accident attorney that Texas drivers count on in court. This is where you will be able to prove your driver was not at fault and if you doubt the need for an accident attorney in a situation like this, here are some things you might want to consider.
False Claims Are Filed Every Year
While not all false claims that are filed are auto insurance claims, a great deal of them are. The other driver who was at fault may very well dispute any claims your company makes because, of course, they want to win and win big. Whether they dispute your claim or get the jump on you and file before you do, it will almost always result in lengthy litigation in court. The not-so-funny ‘funny’ thing about situations like this is that all of a sudden witnesses crop up who were nowhere to be found at the scene when the police were taking eyewitness reports.
There have even been cases when false claimants said someone was in the vehicle that wasn’t present when the police arrived and use all kinds of excuses why that person didn’t stick around to be interviewed. Sound like nonsense? The truth is, people will try anything when they think they have a chance of winning a high dollar insurance claim. The most recent statistics on false insurance claims in the State of Texas are from the year 2013 in which the State’s attorney said there were more than 550 cases of suspected fraud investigated in that year alone. Again, not all were involving car accidents, but a great many were and personal injury claims were at the heart of those automobile insurance claims.
Traffic Fatalities in 2015
Now then, what would you do if there was a death resulting from an accident your driver was involved in? In 2015 there were 3,138 fatalities, some of which obviously involved corporate drivers. If your startup was unjustly penalized because your driver was found at fault what would you do? In the event of a fatality the claim could go sky high. Now then, if your driver was not at fault but you didn’t get legal representation and the other driver and their insurance company did, there is every possibility that you could lose.
If you didn’t have adequate coverage or the other party decided to pursue additional claims against your startup for corporate negligence, you could even be put out of business. There are so many mitigating circumstances which could cost your company thousands, if not millions of dollars that it would be foolish not to get legal representation from the very beginning.
A Few Odd Bits of Advice
Whether you own and operate a fleet of commercial vehicles or simply have a few drivers out on service calls, the one thing you should always do is have a general meeting including anyone and everyone who ever drives a company vehicle. Lay down some groundwork such as what steps they should take if they are ever involved in an auto accident of any kind. Advise them not to talk to anyone at any time unless directed to do so by your attorney.
Yes, they will need to give an initial statement at the scene if they are able to do so, but after that all communications relating to the accident should cease and only go through your attorney. You should also advise them you will be doing random urinalysis to ensure your drivers aren’t impaired and apprise them of any other regulations you have in place.
It is also advisable to have a qualified accident attorney licensed on retainer because accidents will happen and that’s a fact. Introduce your drivers to your attorney so that they know what to expect in case of an accident. Don’t lose your company as the result of an accident in which you or your company driver was not at fault. As the old saying goes, forewarned is forearmed so hope for the best (an accident free company driving record) and prepare for the worst (that one disputed claim when your driver is not at fault).
All of the above is why Texas startups need an accident attorney even if their driver was not at fault.