Accidents involving commercial trucks (a.k.a. semis, big rigs, and 18-wheelers) are often far more traumatic than car accidents between personal vehicles. The weight of a commercial truck is typically between 20 and 30 times more than a passenger car. When a car is hit by a truck of this size, the car will likely suffer the brunt of the damages.
Aside from the increased potential for injury, seeking compensation from commercial truck accidents is complicated. There are potentially several players involved:
- the truck driver
- the trucking company
- the insurance companies
- a third-party leasing company
- mechanics who serviced the truck
- the truck or parts manufacturer
It takes an experienced truck accident attorney to properly establish fault.
Who is Liable in a Commercial Truck Accident?
In some cases where the accident was caused purely through defective equipment that wasn’t the result of improper maintenance, responsibility lies primarily with the parts manufacturer. However, it is far more often the case that the accident was caused by negligence, either on the part of the driver, the trucking company, the crew who loaded the freight, or the mechanics who inspected the equipment. All potential defendants must be named in the lawsuit in order to seek the most fair compensation.
An experienced attorney will often establish negligence by the trucking company – which typically has more resources than an individual – even if it’s through the premise of vicarious liability. Here’s what one of our commercial truck accident clients had to say:
…my attorneys were able to force the insurance lawyer to pay the policy limit, which was $1,000,000.00. I am so thankful I hired Frank Penney and will forever be grateful I called his office to help me. – Robert C.
Why Commercial Trucks are So Dangerous
Such a large piece of equipment as a semi must be handled with extreme caution. Among the top five causes of truck accidents are:
- brake problems
- driving too fast for conditions
- driver distraction on unfamiliar roadways
- hazardous road conditions like potholes or ice
- use of over-the-counter drugs
Add to this the fact that drivers are encouraged to drive long hours and therefore become exhausted, and that large trucks have many blind spots, and a high center of gravity which makes them more likely to roll. It’s best to be extremely careful when sharing the road in order to avoid commercial truck accidents.
Victims of Truck Accidents Have Options
If you or a loved one has been in a truck crash that was not your fault, you’ve probably coped with more than your fair share of trauma already. One silver lining is that commercial truck insurance policy limits are quite high, as mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Don’t hesitate to speak with one of the experienced, compassionate personal injury attorneys in our office for a free case evaluation.