Big Rig Accidents
Road accidents can be absolutely devastating, but when one involves a commercial truck, it can be even more catastrophic.
A typical commercial truck like a big rig that is fully loaded can weigh as much as 25 times greater than the average car. As a result of this excessive weight and size, the majority of big rig accidents with other vehicles on the road often result in very serious injuries that can even be fatal. In such grave accidents with injuries or death, the truck driver may be arrested on criminal charges, especially if he was under the influence or was found to be distracted at the time of the accident. In the worst case scenario, such as if the accident resulted in a death, the driver would want to rely on the bail bonds process to be released from jail.
Personal Injury Claims After an Accident with a Big Rig
If you or someone close to you has gotten into an accident with a big rig, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries by filing a personal injury claim against the parties responsible. It’s important to know how to go about with your claim as it is different than bringing about a lawsuit against a non-commercial driver. One thing to immediately know is that you should get in touch with an attorney who is experienced in the area of accidents involving trucks.
Unique Hazards of Big Rig Accidents
According to the US Department of Transportation, although truck drivers tend to be more careful than regular car drivers on the road, crashes involving big rigs still occur at a high percentage rate. Generally, in many cases, the driver isn’t at fault and accidents occur because of hazardous road conditions or other drivers’ negligence.
Additionally, accidents with large commercial trucks are even more dangerous due to the freight the vehicle may be carrying. For instance, if a gas truck is in an accident with another vehicle, burn injuries can occur and the effects can be absolutely devastating, even deadly.
How to Prove a Personal Injury Case After a Big Rig Accident
The main theory in a personal injury case of this nature is to prove negligence. As a result, if you are involved in an accident with a commercial truck and suffer injury as a result, it’s important to show the following:
• The defendant (the truck driver, trucking company, etc.) is under the obligation to exercises a reasonable amount of care to not cause injury other drivers, passengers and pedestrians on the road.
• The defendant failed to use reasonable care and breached their duty.
• The defendant’s failure to use reasonable care was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injury.
Defendants in Personal Injury Claim After Big Rig Accident
It’s important to find as many defendants as possible after you have suffered injuries after an accident with a commercial truck. In addition to a driver, the trucking company, contractors, employers and insurance companies can possibly compensate you for your injuries.
If there is an employment relationship between a truck driver and a trucking or shipping organization, that company can be legally held liable for the negligence of the driver. In that case, your attorney would have to show that the company had some level of control over the driver and that the accident occurred while the driver was working while the employment relationship existed.
However, if the truck driver involved in an accident is an independent contractor, it can be a problem. When a person is an independent contractor, they have little to no supervision, so the company may not be legally liable for that person’s negligent act.
In some cases, the manufacturer of dangerous materials the truck was carrying can also be held responsible for a plaintiff’s injuries. Usually, this relates to the manufacturer or shipper having a duty to inform the company or the truck driver of the potential hazards of those materials.
Special Considerations in Big Rig Accident Cases
Big rigs always being present on roads present potential dangers that are unique from regular non-commercial vehicles. Those include the following:
• Jackknifing: Big rigs, particularly 18 wheelers can easily jackknife, such as when making sudden turns or while braking. In a situation where there is an unseen road condition, the driver and any other defendant may not be found negligent.
• Turning Accidents: It can be challenging to make turns with huge trucks, which typically make very wide turns, often using two lanes to do so. This may not always be negligence.
If you have suffered a personal injury in an accident with a big rig, it’s important to have the right attorney on your side to represent you. It is your best chance at getting the maximum compensation for your medical expenses and damages.