How do you know if you need an accident injury lawyer? Commercial trucks are substantially larger than personal vehicles and can weigh up to 10,000 pounds when hauling a loaded trailer. Since the dimensions and weights are so dissimilar, a collision between a semi truck and a car can be catastrophic for the passengers in the smaller vehicle. In fact, over 80 percent of the fatalities that result from accidents involving cars and large trucks are sustained by those in the car.
While accidents are common, a collision with a semi truck raises additional issues including the safety of the equipment, maintenance schedules, driver impairment or erratic driving. To properly protect yourself in the event of an accident, it is critical to secure proper legal representation.
Responsibility for Operating a Semi Truck
Since the risk of injury and death is so much greater in accidents involving a semi truck, the industry is highly regulated by federal and state laws. Every state has a Department of Transportation to address the challenges of intrastate commercial trucking. Operating a commercial truck can include as many as nine different responsible parties and may involve several insurance carriers. Truck drivers and trucking companies are required to maintain a specific quality standard in the following areas:
* Licensing: Anyone who drives a large truck for commercial purposes must be properly licensed. A commercial driver’s license is difficult to obtain and requires special driving skills and an advanced knowledge of driving laws and safety procedures.
* Vehicle Maintenance: Federal and state regulations stipulate how a truck must be built, maintained and repaired. If a defect in any of those areas caused an accident, there may be grounds for a claim against the responsible party.
* Proper Rest: Vehicle operators must keep an accurate log of their driving and rest schedules. The driver’s “hours of service” are strictly regulated.
Liability and Damages
Establishing liability in a commercial truck accident case requires the plaintiff to prove the driver of the truck and any other associated parties are responsible for the injuries suffered by the plaintiff(s). Liability can be demonstrated in a number of different ways including:
* The driver has broken the law or is operating the vehicle illegally.
* The truck company hired a negligent driver.
* There was a manufacturing defect in the truck.
* The truck was repaired improperly.
* The truck was inadequately maintained.
If it is ultimately determined that the truck driver or the trucking company bears responsibility for the accident, restitution for damages may be appropriate.
Damages can include:
* Medical Expenses: Compensation for hospital bills, doctors, ambulance fees, rehabilitation and home care services.
* Lost Wages: Lost pay due to work absence and any loss of future earning capacity.
* Pain and Suffering: Any physical or mental distress caused by the accident.
* Wrongful Death: The loss of a loved one in the accident.
* Special Damages: A category for any monetary losses of an unusual nature.
Finding Legal Assistance
Under the law, you are entitled to recover both actual and compensatory damages for injuries sustained in an accident due to the negligence of someone else. If you have been injured in an accident involving a commercial semi truck, it is important to seek out the professional advice of a qualified accident injury lawyer at SDPIA.