Truck Accident Law - (2023)

  • What is Truck Accident Law?
  • Trucking Accidents Law - US
  • Truck Accident Law Articles

What is Truck Accident Law?

Truck accident law covers personal injuries sustained by occupants of a passenger vehicle as a result of a collision with a commercial freight truck, also known as an 18-wheeler or "big rig." Liability in these cases is premised on the doctrine of negligence. Because the negligent party is a professional truck driver, multiple sources of law will apply. These include traffic laws and civil liability rules, as well as regulations of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Causes and Contributing Factors

The average passenger car weighs 4,000 lbs., while semi-trucks can weigh 80,000 lbs. or more. Taking into account further differences, such as ride height, stopping distance, and driver field of vision, it is easy to see how problems result when these two types of vehicles share the roadway. Moreover, commercial truck drivers are provided financial incentives for traveling distances as quickly as possible, and the safety of nearby passenger cars is not always their priority.

Of the many kinds of truck driver conduct that can result in an accident, certain ones tend to arise most often. Accidents can occur when a driver fails to stop and rest at appropriate intervals, or drives under the influence of sleep-suppressing drugs like methamphetamine. Truck drivers can also put others at risk by driving aggressively, making wide turns, merging too quickly, carrying an unsafe load, or driving too fast. It is worth noting that a truck may have been traveling within the posted speed limit, and still have been going too fast for road conditions.

Sometimes the risk posed by a semi-truck is unrelated to any acts or omissions by the driver. For example, other individuals from the trucking company may have failed to inspect or repair the truck as they should have. Cargo may have been loaded improperly, or the truck may have been manufactured with faulty lights, brakes, or other equipment. Damaged truck tires can also cause accidents by suddenly coming apart at high speeds.

Identifying the Proper Defendants

In order to establish liability and recover compensation for a truck accident, the plaintiff must first identify every individual, business entity, or government official responsible. It is critical to name all of these parties in the court documents at the time the lawsuit is filed. If any are left out, and it is later revealed that an omitted party shares responsibility, it may be too late to add that party due to the filing deadlines applicable in negligence cases.

Accident victims without previous experience in personal injury litigation often assume that the proper defendant to sue in a truck accident is the driver. After all, it was the truck driver's carelessness that caused the accident. While the driver should be named, a number of other parties may be legally responsible as well. These additional defendants may include the trucking company, the manufacturer of the truck, parts companies (if defective equipment is involved), mechanics and maintenance companies, and others.

Proving Liability and Damages

Once all of the defendants have been named, the plaintiff in a truck accident lawsuit must establish a theory of liability. With the exception of strict liability defective product cases, the plaintiff's theory will be based on negligence. As asserted against the truck driver, negligence is a straightforward concept, requiring only that the plaintiff show that a reasonably prudent driver in the defendant's position would have acted with greater care.

With respect to the other defendants, however, more nuanced aspects of the negligence doctrine become relevant. Consider the trucking company that employed the driver, for example. If the company knowingly hired a driver with substance abuse problems or previous accidents, or failed to properly train the driver, the company may be liable for its own negligence. But, under the "vicarious liability" rules, it can also be indirectly liable based on its employer status. This is true even if the trucking company did nothing wrong.

In addition to proving liability, the plaintiff must show the extent of his or her damages. This is best accomplished through the use of expert witnesses. A physician will be needed to perform an examination of the plaintiff and offer a medical opinion regarding the harm suffered from the accident. The plaintiff will also need to hire an economist to form an opinion on damages such as lost income and earning capacity, and to explain how these figures can be converted to present value.

A Truck Accident Lawyer will Fight for You

Truck accidents occur every day. To avoid liability, trucking companies and their insurance providers have entire teams of investigators and attorneys ready to go to work. There is no need to face them alone. If you have been hurt in a truck accident, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer for help.

Trucking Accidents Law - US

  • Illinois Truck Accident Law

    Truck accidents in Illinois have specific laws governing the case, the evidence and what to do based on circumstances involving liability and the injury of any involved in the truck accident such as other drivers or passengers. The person suffering from injury and property damage in the case will need to hire a lawyer to litigate or seek a settlement through negotiations.

Truck Accident Law Articles

  • Steps Taken in Complex Truck Accident Investigations

    Truck accidents can be very dangerous. Part of the reason for this is that trucks are simply different than other vehicles on the road. For example, the curb weight of a midsize SUV is going to be around 4,000 to 5,000 pounds. But a semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds under current legal standards. Their size alone means that it is very likely that people in other vehicles are going to suffer significant injuries if involved in a crash with a truck.

  • Navigating Personal Injury Claims in Georgia

    Let’s talk about going through the claims process for a personal injury accident in Georgia. Let’s assume for the sake of this blog post that you were injured in a motor vehicle collision (MVA) aka a car accident. You are not the at-fault or negligent driver which means that you did not cause the accident – the other person did. We call that person the Defendant. You are now the Plaintiff.

  • Risks of Self-Representation in a South Carolina Truck Accident Case

    If you have suffered injuries in a truck accident in South Carolina, you may be eligible to claim compensation for your related losses. Some people in this situation question whether they need to hire a lawyer. However, representing yourself is risky since recovering the maximum amount of money you deserve after a truck accident is unlikely to be straightforward.

  • Car Crash Head Injuries Caused by Blunt Force Trauma

    Some of the most common types of injuries people sustain in car accidents are blunt force trauma injuries. And while a blunt force injury can be as simple as a minor bruise, it can also be severe and result in complications, such as head or brain injuries.

  • Indiana Bicycle Accidents Caused by Driving Distractions

    Cycling is becoming increasingly common these days. In fact, many riders have started to opt for bicycling to commute around town instead of driving or using public transportation. And there has been an especially large increase in bicyclists on the road since the pandemic, as cycling is a more socially distant and healthy way to get around. Unfortunately, despite the increasing number of cyclists on the roads, bicycle safety continues to be a significant issue. Around 1,000 bicyclists die every year, and over 130,000 are injured in motor vehicle-related accidents. And one of the primary causes of these accidents is distracted driving.

  • Party Hosts Can Be Liable for Indiana Drunk Driving Accidents

    Driving while under the influence of alcohol is highly dangerous and can cause a serious or fatal traffic accident. If you’re injured in a wreck caused by a drunk driver, you can file a personal injury claim against them. Additionally, if someone served the drunk driver alcohol while they were already intoxicated, you can file a claim against the establishment that served them. This is known as dram shop liability, and in Indiana, private party hosts are liable for drunk driving accidents through dram shop liability. Here, we discuss everything you need to know about Indiana’s social host liability, avoiding dram shop liability, and proving that a social host is liable for your injuries.

  • Can Muscle Pain Be Part of My Car Accident Injury Claim?

    Victims often suffer from muscle pain after a car accident. This can range from inconvenient to life-altering. Muscle spasms and ongoing muscle pain can definitely be part of your personal injury claim, assuming they are the result of being injured in a car accident.

  • Post Concussion Syndrome After an Accident

    The types of injuries sustained from a car accident are numerous and vary greatly in severity. Injuries to the head during a car accident are common and can be quite serious. Whether your injury involved hitting your head against a surface inside the car or was the result of abrupt head movement during impact, you may have suffered a concussion.

  • Is Physical Therapy and Rehab After a Car Accident Covered?

    The simple answer to this question is yes – if someone’s negligence has caused your car accident injury, that person (or that person’s car insurance) is liable to compensate you for all of your damages. These can include: • Ambulance and hospital bills • Medication and prescription expenses • Medical equipment (like walkers, wheelchairs, or crutches) • Rehabilitation costs • Physical therapy and rehabilitationA personal injury claim includes all kinds of other damages, both economic (like lost wages) and noneconomic (like pain and suffering). In this article, we’ll focus on physical therapy and rehabilitation.

  • Common Injuries When You Are in a Head-On Collision

    A head on collision (also called a “frontal” crash) can result in numerous injuries and can have a devastating effect on a person’s ability to return to his or her normal life and make an income.Extreme physical trauma – things like broken bones, internal bleeding, severe lacerations, and burns – are just some of the common injuries in a head on collision.

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