Accidents involving large semi-trucks can be absolutely terrifying for those involved due to a commercial tractor-trailer’s large size and the amount of damage it can do. While there are stringent regulations imposed upon trucking companies to maintain acceptable levels of road safety, these accidents happen far more often than they should.
While many trucking companies follow the law and have good safety records, these alarming statistics point to negligent practices on the parts of some. If you’re a victim of such an accident, you’re entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Layton & Southard will aggressively protect your rights and fight to get you a fair award for your damages.
Common Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents
An unfortunate reality of the trucking industry is that many companies view accidents as a cost of doing business. Drivers are often pushed to their physical limits and might be:
- Speeding to meet cost-saving deadlines
- Driving a truck loaded beyond a safe capacity and/or in an unstable way
- Distracted by cell phones, eating, or other activities
- Impaired by alcohol or drugs
Understanding the Truck Driver’s Duty of Care
While every driver has a duty to take all precautions necessary to prevent an accident, truck drivers operate under more stringent obligations due to the increased destructive potential inherent in larger vehicles. One of the most effective ways to win a case against a trucking company is to prove that there was a negligent violation of this duty of care.
There are strict regulations dictating the acquisition of commercial driver’s licenses, as well as logbook regulations that must be adhered to at all times. If your attorney proves that any of these regulations were violated, the courts will consider the violation negligence per se (in itself) and award appropriate compensation to the plaintiff.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
A fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds. It can do a frightening amount of damage when traveling at a high speed, so the injuries that result from a truck crash are among the most severe:
- Respiratory injuries
- Broken bones
- Psychological trauma
- Spinal cord injuries
- Concussions and brain injuries
Because the damages suffered in semi-truck accidents are generally much greater than those suffered in car accidents, the defendant’s insurance company will do its best to devalue your claim and offer you a low award. Your lawyer will know how to negotiate with insurance adjusters whose job it is to pay you as little as possible. Your attorney will also know how to present your evidence and argue for you in court if your case should go to trial.
One Accident Can Have Multiple Defendants
Whereas a car accident victim normally files a claim against the insurance company of one at-fault driver, you might have claims against multiple defendants in a truck accident:
- Truck driver
- Truck owner
- Trucking company
- Vehicle or parts manufacturer
- Truck repair service
- Truck rental/leasing company
- A municipality (in the case of a garbage truck or heavy equipment accident)
- Cargo loading personnel
If you make a claim against the wrong party, it will be dismissed—and you could lose your opportunity to get fair compensation. An experienced truck accident lawyer will investigate your accident thoroughly and collect evidence in order to determine which parties are liable for your damages.