A fully loaded 18-wheel commercial truck weights over 80,000 pounds. The average automobile weights about 3,000 pounds. An accident between these two vehicles will result in a very serious injury, with death most likely.
Most operators of 18-wheelers are safe drivers and know the hazards of the road. The number one reason for a truck accident is driver fatigue. Many drivers are on the road for long periods of time and do not get sufficient rest.
Other reasons for accidents include failure to follow safety guidelines, failure to load the cargo correctly, and using alcohol and/or drugs while on the road to keep alert. Then, there are the drivers who are just not properly trained to drive such a large truck.
Truck drivers must abide by Federal and State regulations. The following are provisions that are common in truck accident lawsuits:
- Controlled Substances, Alcohol Use/Testing (49 C.F.R. § 382)
- Commercial Driver’s License Standards/Requirements/Penalties (49 C.F.R. § 383)
- Qualification of Drivers (49 C.F.R. § 391)
- Driving Commercial Vehicles (49 C.F.R. § 392)
- Parts and Accessories (49 C.F.R. § 393)
- Hours of Service (49 C.F.R. § 395)
- Inspection, Repair, Maintenance (49 C.F.R. § 396)
- Hazardous Materials (49 C.F.R. § 397)
Victims of trucking accidents can receive compensation by filing a claim and first establishing that the accident was indeed caused by negligence. If a driver acted carelessly and irresponsibly, those injured as a result may be able to receive compensation by demonstrating:
- The truck accident resulted from recklessness
- The truck accident caused harm to the victim(s)
- The victim is owed compensation from the negligent party for harm caused
Truck accident claims can include circumstantial evidence, such as if the police report indicated that the truck driver involved in the accident was discovered with bloodshot eyes, an odor of alcohol on his or her breath, or an open container of liquor in the cab. This most likely can show truck driver negligence.
Injuries must be directly linked to the truck accident. Trucking accident injuries can be catastrophic, if not fatal. Injuries can include, but are not limited to:
- Broken bones
- Head and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Decapitation or amputation
Compensation is often awarded to victims to help them pay for their accident-related expenses. In most cases, insurance companies and jurors use preset formulas to determine the values for compensation.
If the negligent actions of a truck driver or trucking company caused an accident in which you suffered damages, the law protects your right to be compensated. Depending on the case, a victim is entitled to physical and psychological pain plus:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income and future income
- Property damage to your vehicle and its contents
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Change in lifestyle
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
The process for litigation in a commercial truck accident can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. The more issues that can be resolved before the trial, the faster the trial will go. A personal injury attorney who has been successful in truck accident lawsuits will explain all the steps involved.
Personal injury attorneys help victims obtain the compensation to which they are entitled. If you or a loved one was involved in a trucking accident, contact a personal injury attorney today to learn more about your specific trucking accident.