If you or a loved one was involved in an accident caused by semi-truck, you have the option to:
- Sue the negligent party in a lawsuit
- Settle with the at-fault party’s insurance company without going to court
- Bring multiple lawsuits if you were injured and also lost a loved one in the collision
Your legal options will be contingent on the circumstances of your situation. You may have choices that another person in a similar situation would not. For this reason, you may want to work with a lawyer to understand your potential for financial recovery.
Semi-Trucks Are Large, Heavy, and Dangerous
There are several classifications of trucks, as listed by the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. These classifications include vehicles that range from 6,000 pounds to more than 33,000 pounds, with semi-trucks falling into the latter category.
A car, SUV, or even a pickup truck is no match for such a heavy vehicle when a collision occurs. In an accident, it is usually the passengers of the smaller car that suffer the brute force of the impact.
Semi-trucks pose a considerable threat to others if appropriate safety measures are not taken.
Semi-Truck Drivers Have a Great Responsibility to the Public
Truck drivers are not immune to the dangers of the road. In fact, they must take great care not to injure others since an accident may not implicate just themselves, but also the company for which they work.
The risk of a semi-truck accident may increase when:
- There are high numbers of trucks on the road, which may be more common during periods of strong economic activity
- Dangerous road conditions, especially during inclement weather
- Truckers partake in risky behavior or actions
Truckers undergo special training to appropriately respond to unexpected hazards and driving conditions. Failure to do so may result in the loss of their commercial driver’s license, termination, or legal implication.
Some actions and behaviors that can increase the chance of a semi-truck accident include:
- Driving too closely to the car in front (also known as tailgating)
- Failing to use turn signals when changing lanes or turning
- Failing to check blind spots before merging
- Driving while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or fatigue
- Engaging in distracted driving, such as texting or using a dispatch device
Some of these actions are punishable by law. For example, if a trucker was found to be under the influence of drugs while driving, and later caused an accident, they could face criminal charges for their actions. Yet, this does not bar you from filing a lawsuit. While the truck is undergoing penalties from the state, you can concurrently file a personal injury claim to recover the cost of your injuries and related expenses.
For a free legal consultation, call (614) 538-1116
Negligence Can Come from Truckers, Their Employers, or Both
In your situation, it may be obvious who is at-fault in your collision. Other times, assigning negligence is not so easy. While the semi-truck driver who struck you or your vehicle may be the most obvious candidate for liability, their employer may be liable as well under “respondeat superior.” This means that employers can be held vicariously responsible for the actions of their employers if they were reasonably acting within the scope of their job.
To avoid liability in an accident, truck employers must undertake certain obligations, including:
- Conducting thorough background checks for prospective employees
- Conducting random drug and alcohol testing on all drivers, as is a requirement of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
- Ensuring that their fleet of trucks is roadworthy at all times
- Immediately suspending or firing any driver they suspect of violating FMCSA regulations, laws, or driver fitness requirements
Truck accident cases sometimes feature more than one responsible party. Your legal team may also find that the manufacturer of the truck itself was responsible for your accident if a faulty vehicular component contributed to the crash.
A Lawyer Will Aim to Prove Negligence in Your Case
You may choose to accept the help of a lawyer, who could bring a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf if you have an eligible case for awards.
A lawyer may:
- Collect evidence and witness testimony to establish the circumstances that led to your accident
- Consult with field experts, such as medical professionals, to learn more about your injuries
- Conduct any additional investigation that may benefit your case
- Serve as your representative in settlement negotiations or at trial
- Handle the legal aspects of a lawsuit
Your legal team will likely provide services that meet the needs of your situation. For that reason, this is not an exhaustive list of the duties your lawyer may undertake to assign negligence.
Call Our Team at Bressman Law Today
At Bressman Law, we understand the impact that a semi-truck accident can have on your physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing. We offer a free initial case review and work on a contingency-fee basis.
To get started, call us today at (614) 538-1116.