Truck accidents can pose very unique dangers, making them very serious in nature. Commercial trucks are typically 25 times heavier than your standard passenger vehicle, which means an accident could very well cause catastrophic injuries to those involved. And yes, the statistics say that commercial truck drivers are generally more careful on the road than automobile drivers because of the extensive training they must endure – however, this does not mean that accidents will never happen. No, 4,995 fatalities occurred due to commercial truck accidents in 2006 alone!
Negligence and Determining Defendants
What happens when a commercial truck driver has acted negligently and you were injured as a result? To show negligence and liability, many elements must first be proven. For one, it must be shown that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to exercise a reasonable degree of care to avoid injury under all circumstances and that they failed to exercise this reasonable care. It must also be shown that the defendant’s failure to exercise reasonable care was the cause of injury suffered by the plaintiff.
The question is: Can you identify the possible defendants in your case? There may be many potential defendants, which may pose an issue when it comes to proving who caused the accident and who owes you compensation. In many cases, this might include trucking companies, contractors, employers, and insurance companies. Was a relationship established between the truck driver and a trucking company? Then this company may be held legally liable for the driver’s negligence. However, it must be shown that the company exercised some degree of control over the driver.
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Many people will show that a commercial trucker was negligent because they violated one or more state or federal regulations. Violations on a state or federal regulations are often seen as “automatic negligence” in the court’s eyes. Commercial truck drivers must be able to obtain a CDL license, which means that they must pass many stringent tests. These include tests showing proficiency on maneuvering and parking, maintenance of engines, pre-trip inspection routine mastery, and hazardous materials containment regulations. They must also be able to follow log books regulations that show items like the number of hours they drive each day and how much they rest, the date they picked up their cargo, the weight after cargo has been added, and the destination at hand.
Unique Dangers Posed by Commercial Trucks
- Jackknifing: Large commercial vehicles are prone to jackknifing when they must suddenly brake or turn. Drivers of trucks that have jackknifed may not be held liable if the jackknifing was due to unforeseeable slipperiness of the road.
- Turning Accidents: Commercial trucks may be difficult to turn. Some courts have found that turning from an inside lane or occupying two lanes is sufficient enough to establish the truck driver’s fault if an accident occurs.
So, what happens if you are involved in a truck accident where the driver was at fault? You could be entitled to damages for physical, emotional, and financial losses that come from the accident. If you have been involved in a trucking accident, you should have an experienced attorney on your side. Call Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi today for more information about your case.