Our section on truck accidents provides information that can be helpful if you or a loved one fall victim to an accident involving a semi or commercial truck. Truck drivers must adhere to more rigorous standards than regular drivers, and if an accident occurs, the driver or their employer may compensate you for injuries or damages.
Here, you can obtain useful information regarding the legal aspects of truck accidents. You will also find frequently asked questions, advice on safeguarding your rights under the law and what you should expect if you’re the victim of a truck accident.
When you have an accident with a large commercial vehicle, there are often many unique situations involved. The average semi, when carrying a full load, may weigh upwards of 40 tons. Meanwhile, the average personal vehicle only weighs around 1.5 tons. Because of the enormous difference in size and weight, it’s no surprise that accidents involving these trucks can be severe. Furthermore, the size of a semi means that they are hindered in terms of visibility, braking, acceleration speed and turning ability.
Eighteen-wheelers and other large trucks are susceptible to “jackknifing” in certain circumstances, especially when they turn or brake suddenly. If the truck jackknifed because of unforeseeable or unavoidable road conditions, or if they attempt to turn quickly to avoid another vehicle, the truck’s driver may not be deemed liable for the accident.
Large commercial vehicles also have trouble making certain kinds of turns. For instance, making a right turn almost always requires the truck driver to utilize two lanes. Court decisions attempting to determine negligence in these scenarios have been sharply divided.
Drivers typically operate these large commercial trucks for a shipping or trucking company. For this reason, identifying defendants in the case of an accident is often not the same as if you were in an accident with another person driving their private vehicle. Contractors, insurance providers, employers and trucking companies may all be considered partially liable for any negligence by the truck driver. In cases where the truck driver was both the owner and the operator of the vehicle, and when the truck was carrying hazardous materials, the question of liability can become very complicated. In either case, it’s strongly recommended to hire a reputable truck accident lawyer.
Most Frequent Causes of Truck-Related Accidents
Besides the various hazards caused by the semi’s size, weight and poor maneuverability, there are many other scenarios that can either contribute to or directly cause accidents with other drivers. In some cases, the truck driver is at fault for these. In other instances, they are due to errors commonly made by other drivers on the road.
Truck operators can present a larger risk to other drivers if they are poorly trained. This is also true when company’s payment structure encourages them to drive faster, or when unreasonable schedules lead to truck drivers who are rushed or exhausted. Unfortunately, these issues are commonplace in the truck-driving industry.
Other motorists increase their chances of being involved in an accident with a large commercial vehicle when they:
Change lanes abruptly or without signaling
Perform a left turn in front of a truck without having enough space
Move to the truck’s right side while the truck is performing a right turn
Drive in the trucker’s “blind spots”, which are located immediately beside or behind the truck. Visibility in these areas is limited or nonexistent.
Turbulence caused by the wind may also push a small car into the passing truck unexpectedly, and entering slowly into traffic may result in the truck driver attempting to stop rapidly. Other dangers that everyday motorists can present for truck drivers include cars left on the side of the road without adequate space, cars driving between two large commercial trucks and unsafe methods of passing.
Being involved in an accident can be a devastating event for everyone involved. Furthermore, it can result in financial or property losses, serious injury and long-term or permanent disability. If you or someone you love suffered an accident with a large commercial vehicle, it’s important to find a good truck accident lawyer right away.