Semi Truck Accidents - Frequently Asked Questions
After being injured in a semi-truck accident, you are thrown into an "adversarial legal system". In other words, you are not negotiating on level ground when dealing with a trucking company after an accident. Most trucking companies are highly skilled at auto/truck accident investigation and claims. These adjusters represent the truck company, not you!
Truck companies have accident investigators that are on call and dispatched to the scene of the crash as soon as the trucking company learns there has been an accident. Further, while the families of the accident victims are tending to medical and hospital care and funeral arraignments, the trucking company is investigating the accident and setting up their defense. This is why the victims of semi-truck accidents need to also have an attorney on their side, fighting for their rights.
- What is a "commercial truck"?
- How are traffic accidents involving trucks different from accidents involving passenger cars?
- What are the most common causes of accidents involving commercial trucks and automobiles?
- Is investigation important in a truck accident case?
- If I am injured in a truck accident, who can I sue?
What is a "commercial truck"?
A commercial truck is a vehicle used in the course of business and/or for the transport of commercial goods. Examples are 18-wheelers, tractor trailers, tanker trucks, dump trucks, delivery vehicles, semi trucks and other large freight trucks.
How are traffic accidents involving trucks different from accidents involving passenger cars?
Accidents involving trucks are typically more catastrophic than accidents involving cars due to the sheer size of a truck. A typical fully loaded large commercial truck can weigh 80,000 pounds or more, while an average passenger automobile weighs approximately 3,000 pounds. Due to this size disparity, and the basic laws of physics, any collision between a commercial truck and another vehicle is likely to result in serious, even fatal, injuries.
What are the most common causes of accidents involving commercial trucks and automobiles?
Some common causes of truck accidents include inadequate training as to driving technique, safety issues and defensive driving; driver fatigue; a truck's characteristics and capabilities (such as limits associated with acceleration, braking and visibility); drug or alcohol use by the driver; speeding; mechanical failure; defective parts; and improper loading or overloading the truck.
Is investigation important in a truck accident case?
Yes. It is critical. If the truck was commercially owned, in most situations large trucking companies will perform their own investigation immediately after the accident. This puts you at a vast disadvantage. It is important that you retain an attorney who immediately investigates the case to attempt to pin down liability on any potential at-fault defendants.
If I am injured in a truck accident, who can I sue?
Generally, you will likely be able to sue the driver of the truck, the trucking company and perhaps the truck's manufacturer. Whether you can sue the trucking company depends on whether an employment relationship is established between the truck driver and the trucking company. However, the trucking company may be liable for negligent hiring or supervision of the truck driver. It may be possible to sue the truck's manufacturer if you can show that the accident was caused by some defect in the truck.