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Commercial Truck Accidents

by | Mar 7, 2022 | Truck Accidents | 0 comments

Accidents involving large commercial vehicles can be some of the most devastating. The sheer size and power of big rigs, tractor-trailers, or eighteen-wheelers, make these vehicles one of the greatest threats on the road. For this reason, truck drivers are held to a higher standard legally than other motorists. Anyone involved in an accident with a truck is at risk of potentially suffering severe injuries. These injuries can make it difficult to complete day-to-day tasks and even interfere with your ability to work. Having a qualified truck accident attorney by your side can give you the best chance of receiving maximum compensation in for your commercial truck accident claim.

What Are Examples of Commercial Vehicles?

Commercial Vehicle Accident LawyersWhen a vehicle receives a commercial motor vehicle designation, the owner or operator of the vehicle is responsible for understanding and complying with a specific set of laws. Commercial vehicles serve commercial or business purposes. They often carry goods or transport paying passengers. Examples of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) can include:

  • Big rigs such as tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and semis
  • Tanker and HAZMAT trucks
  • Cargo vans
  • Box trucks or single-unit truck
  • Delivery vans
  • Garbage trucks
  • Cement trucks
  • Rideshare vehicles, including taxis
  • Buses (city, coach, or school)
  • Some tow trucks

What’s the Difference Between a Commercial Vehicle Accident and a Passenger Vehicle Accident?

Commercial vehicle accidents are often far more devastating than accidents involving two or more passenger vehicles. Passengers in non-commercial cars are up to 10 times more likely to suffer severe injuries than passengers in a commercial truck. Insurance coverage limits for commercial vehicles are also much higher than for a motorist driving a passenger vehicle. Because of these high coverage limits, the insurance company fights harder against truck accident claims and purposefully drags out the process. When there’s more money involved in a case, an insurance company will spend more time fighting the lawsuit. Because many more rules govern commercial vehicles than passenger vehicles, it is essential to seek advice from one a knowledgeable truck accident attorney. They can help you navigate the complexities of your claim. An auto accident attorney has the right experience to help you pursue the compensation you need to lessen the financial burden after a commercial vehicle accident.

What Are Some Common Causes of Truck Accidents?

Commercial truck accidents usually happen when a commercial motor vehicle driver fails to comply with federal safety standards. Even though cutting corners can potentially endanger the safety of all motorists and pedestrians sharing the road, some trucking companies encourage their drivers to do this to maximize profit. An example of this is a trucking company forcing its driver to drive for long periods. When a truck driver is fatigued, it can lead to a catastrophic accident. Here are some of the most common reasons why truck accidents occur:

  • Aggressive driving
  • Driving under the influence
  • Violating traffic laws
  • Violating trucking regulations for inspection and maintenance
  • Carrying defective truck parts
  • Loading cargo improperly
  • Negligent hiring practices or supervision

A truck accident can investigate your truck accident to uncover any negligence on behalf of the driver, trucking company, or truck manufacturer and put together a complete picture of what factors contributed to the accident. More than one party can be found responsible for a commercial vehicle accident in some cases. If you suffered injuries due to a careless truck driver and aren’t sure how to cover the cost of your medical expenses or property damage, consider filing a lawsuit. Get in touch with a lawyer who can explain your options to negligent parties accountable.

What Are Some Common Types of Truck Accident Injuries?

When a motorist in a passenger vehicle becomes involved in an accident with a large truck, the consequences are often devastating. Drivers in passenger vehicles who get into an accident with a motorist in another passenger vehicle have a higher chance of walking away with nothing more than a few scrapes and bruises. Due to their sheer size, auto accidents involving large trucks tend to cause severe injury and property damage. These injuries tend to affect some of the most important parts of our body, like the brain and spinal cord. Some common injuries that victims of truck accidents incur are:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Third and fourth-degree burn injuries
  • Amputations
  • Paralysis
  • Coma
  • Wrongful death

What Does the Investigation Process Consist of in Truck Accident Cases?

Investigating a truck accident claim can become complicated quickly. A lawyer can begin a thorough investigation into your case to determine who the negligent party was as soon as possible. We will look to see whether the truck driver or trucking company’s actions violated safety regulations at the time of the accident. An investigation into a truck accident case may include the use of expert consultants or investigators who will examine the scene of the accident to obtain as much evidence of fault as possible. If your case goes to trial, your lawyers need to prepare to pursue liability for your injuries before a judge. Some examples of evidence often collected in truck accident cases include:

  • Witness accounts
  • Electronic control module (ECM)- is a data recording device that presents information about the truck, including the speed at the time of the accident and whether the driver applied the brakes.
  • Truck cameras- Trucking companies have recently begun to install cameras inside their commercial vehicles. Some cameras face the road, others face the driver, and some capture the road and the driver. Camera footage provides an excellent piece of evidence in determining whether a truck driver’s negligence contributed to the accident.
  • Electronic logging devices- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all truck drivers to keep track of their hours by using an electron logging device (ELD). If we determine that a driver exceeded their hours of service, risking fatigue, your lawyer might use this as a critical piece of evidence in a negligence claim.
  • Records from the trucking company- All trucking companies must by law keep accurate records on the hiring and supervision of their staff. Suppose records show that a company did not perform a drug or alcohol test on a driver who crashed into a passenger vehicle while impaired. In that case, the trucking company can be responsible for negligent supervision.

Who is at Fault for a Truck Accident?

There are many reasons why a commercial truck accident happens. Some truck accident collisions occur because of equipment failures, and others happen due to faulty road design or adverse weather conditions. In most cases, accidents involving commercial or passenger vehicles happen because of driver error. Examples of driver recklessness may include speeding or making unsafe lane changes. Determining who is liable for an accident when a commercial vehicle is involved is more complicated than a typical car accident claim. When two passenger vehicles collide, the accident victim may sue the negligent driver and file a claim with their insurance company. In cases involving commercial vehicles, victims typically file claims against more than one party. In commercial truck accident cases, you may file a claim against:

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking company
  • The truck driver’s employer
  • The cargo owner and loader
  • The truck maintenance company

While most truck accidents come down to truck company liability, not all commercial truck accident cases will involve claims against multiple parties. In some cases, truck drivers operate as independent contractors and will be solely responsible for the crash. When a trucking company employs a truck driver, it is the company’s responsibility to do everything in its power to prevent accidents. Taking measures to prevent accidents may look like regular vehicle inspections or proper training procedures. A company may be liable for damages in a commercial vehicle accident if we determine that they were negligent in fulfilling their duty of care and can have reasonably prevented the accident. A trucking company may also be responsible for the negligence of its employee through the rule of vicarious liability. Because trucking companies tend to have better insurance coverage than an individual driver, holding the company liable for your injuries and subsequent damages is preferable in most cases.

What forms of compensation can I receive after an accident with a commercial vehicle?

the national trial lawyers top 100Injuries and damages in commercial vehicle accidents tend to be significant and can amount to substantial financial losses. If you were the victim of a commercial truck accident, you may sue for:

  • Medical bills (hospital bills, prescriptions, surgeries, etc.)
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Punitive damages
  • Wrongful death
  • Costs for in-home care or home remodeling (i.e., wheelchair ramps)
  • Costs for therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Future medical costs
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Vehicle damages

During an initial consultation, a lawyer can explain what damages you might recover. The amount you receive in your judgment award will depend upon the unique facts of your injury case. Depending on the nature of your case, you may be eligible for non-economic, economic, and punitive damages.

Commercial Truck Accident FAQ

What are punitive damages in truck accident cases?

In cases where a driver is grossly negligent punitive damages may be available as an additional award. The compensation amount in truck accident cases tends to be higher than minor claims because they often result in serious injuries. Punitive damages are exemplary and intended to deter others from committing the same outrageous conduct.

Why is hiring a truck accident attorney important?

Trucking companies tend to have immense resources and are often represented by top-tier law firms, which is why seeking compensation from a commercial truck accident case can be complicated. You need lawyers with the resources and experience to investigate your claim and advocate on your behalf.

How can multiple defendants affect my commercial truck accident lawsuit?

When you file a truck accident lawsuit against multiple entities, each party may hold equal responsibility for your losses, or one entity might be responsible for a large portion of your damages. It is the defendant’s responsibility to decide each party’s share of fault, or a jury can determine it at trial.

What if I was the victim of an intentional truck accident?

If the driver’s actions were intentional, generally, their employers won’t be responsible for the truck driver’s actions. If a truck driver slams into your car because you cut them off, triggering road rage, their employer will argue that they were not behaving “within the scope of employment,” which means the company cannot be liable for damages.

Why should I call the police to the scene of my truck accident?

Paula A. Wyatt, Attorney In San Antonio

Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney, Paula A. Wyatt

Because accidents involving commercial trucks are often serious resulting in severe injuries and substantial damages, call an officer to the accident scene. An investigating officer will draft an official accident report which will serve as a critical piece of evidence in your case. Insurance companies often use traffic accident reports to determine how much compensation to award to an accident victim.

Don’t Wait to Discuss Your Case

Dealing with the aftermath of a commercial truck accident is often incredibly stressful. Most victims sustain severe and sometimes life-threatening injuries. If you were the victim of a commercial truck accident, consider how securing representation from an exceptional truck accident attorney can help you attain full compensation for your losses.