Any motor vehicle accident can cause serious injury, or even fatalities. The risk of serious injury or death is multiplied when a large truck is involved. Since commercial trucks such as 18-wheelers and tanker trucks are much larger and heavier than the typical passenger vehicle, they are likely to do more damage in a collision. That’s especially true when the other vehicle or vehicles involved in the accident are cars and light trucks, which offer little protection against a semi-tractor-trailer or other much larger vehicle.
The risk of accident may be greater, as well, since large commercial trucks tend to be more difficult to maneuver and take longer to stop. These types of vehicles also often have more significant blind spots, are susceptible to incidents like jackknifing that don’t occur with smaller vehicles, and are more likely to be carrying materials that can spill, fly loose, or otherwise interrupt traffic or interfere with other vehicles on the road.
Large Truck Accident Statistics
Across the United States, about 95,000 people each year sustain injuries in truck accidents, and approximately 4,000 are killed. In 2015, there were 271 fatal crashes involving large trucks on California roadways, resulting in 296 fatalities.
Owing in large part to the size disparity, the vast majority of those killed and injured are outside the truck. These include:
- Drivers of other vehicles on the road
- Passengers in other vehicles involved in the crash
- Pedestrians and bicyclists
Damages in a Commercial Trucking Accident
If you’ve been injured in an accident with a large truck, you may be entitled to damages for injuries you suffered and losses you sustained as a result of the accident. Some common examples of recoverable damages include:
- Medical expenses, past and future, that are attributable to the accident
- Reimbursement for property loss or damage, such as replacement of a totaled automobile
- Compensation for lost income and loss of future earning capacity
You may also be entitled to compensation for intangible, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
Damages are different in every case, even when injuries and circumstances of the accident are similar. However, a personal injury attorney who is experienced in handling commercial truck accident cases can assess your case and provide more specific information about the damages that may be available in your case and the factors that will impact the outcome of your truck accident claim.
Determining Liability in a Large Truck Accident Case May Be Difficult
In any motor vehicle accident case, the injured party must establish that the defendant was at fault. Usually, this involves showing that the other driver was negligent in some way. Common types of negligence in motor vehicle accidents include:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Distracted driving, including mobile device use while driving
- Exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions
- Failure to maintain the vehicle in a safe condition
- Fatigued driving, which in commercial cases may include violation of hours of service regulations
In a case involving a commercial motor vehicle such as a truck carrying freight from one state to another, determining who is responsible and to what degree may be far more complicated than in the typical car accident case. Some of the reasons determining liability is more difficult in commercial trucking cases include:
- Because many commercial motor vehicles and drivers are subject to federal regulation, there may be different statutes and regulations in play
- Because the driver may or may not be the owner of the truck, and may be an employee or independent contractor of a third party, there may be layers of liability
- Because some truck drivers are encouraged—or even required—to engage in unsafe practices to fulfill their employers’ or clients’ requirements, those third parties may also be liable
- Because faulty equipment or vehicle maintenance may play a role in the accident, manufacturers or third parties responsible for maintenance and repair may be wholly or partially responsible
Identifying all responsible parties and assembling evidence in a commercial truck accident case can be challenging and time consuming. The sooner you connect with a personal injury attorney experienced in handling large truck accident cases, the better. Some of the reasons it is to your advantage to get started early include:
- Gathering evidence across state lines and regarding multiple possible defendants can be time-consuming, and you do not want to delay recovery
- The nature of the commercial trucking industry is such that evidence may naturally be altered or destroyed in the course of continuing business operations
- You will likely be contacted by one or more insurance companies regarding your accident, and these conversations are opportunities for an honest mistake to cost you the compensation you deserve
Truck Drivers as Injury Victims
Though most of those seriously injured or killed in large truck accidents are occupants of other vehicles or bystanders, commercial truck drivers themselves are often injured or killed. In fact, more truck drivers are killed on the job than workers in any other industry.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the driver himself or herself—or the surviving kin in the case of a fatal accident—may be entitled to damages from the trucker’s employer, the company licensing the vehicle, the vehicle manufacturer, or another responsible party. This may be true even if the driver was partially at fault for the accident.
Connect with the Right Personal Injury Lawyer
Most personal injury attorneys routinely handle car accident cases. But, a commercial trucking accident case is different from a run-of-the-mill car accident case. When you have been injured in a collision with a large truck, or hit by a truck, you want the assistance of an attorney who:
- Is familiar with the state and federal laws and regulations applicable to the operation and maintenance of commercial motor vehicles, especially large trucks
- Has experience working with and knowledge of experts who can help to establish liability in a commercial trucking accident case
- Has the resources to manage a case that may involve significant investment of time and advancement of expenses such as expert witness fees
The attorneys at Yarian & Associates, APC have the knowledge, experience, and resources necessary to:
- Investigate your commercial truck accident claim
- Assemble a strong case on your behalf
- Arrange for accident reconstructionists and other experts to support your claim
- Advance the costs of the investigation and construction of your case
- Negotiate on your behalf
- Prepare and try your case before a jury if that is in your best interests
We understand that a traumatic event like a commercial truck accident can derail your plans and throw your life into turmoil, and we want to help restore your peace of mind. We’ll fight for the recovery you deserve while you focus on your recovery and creating a new foundation for the future.
The initial consultation is always free, and you aren’t responsible for any fees or costs unless we settle your case or win a verdict for you. Just call 818-459-4999 right now to get started.