Truck accidents are a totally different level of accident both in terms of scope and liability. This is because most truck accidents involve a large truck, such as an 18-wheeler, dump truck, or garbage truck, that collides with a passenger vehicle or personal truck.. Since damages both to the car and to the occupants is going to probably be more extensive due to the size differential and velocity, the amount of liability for those damages must also increase. While large trucks only account for three percent of motor vehicle accidents with injuries, they also caused 4,897 deaths in 2002.
Accidents with trucks are also different in the sense that there is a very good chance that the truck as it is being operated is doing so as work. This means that the employer of the trucker and the trucking company, if it is a different party, can be on the hook for damages caused by the employee in the course and scope of their employment.
It is also worth mentioning that truck drivers are required to meet certain federal safety standards to ensure that they do not risk their life or those of innocent motorists. For example, drivers are allowed to drive up to 11 hours at a time, but only if they have been off duty for 10 consecutive hours beforehand. If they’ve only been off duty for eight consecutive hours, then they are only allowed to drive 10 hours. These regulations apply to most drivers with a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) while they are driving a commercial vehicle. This includes tour buses, freight-hauling trucks, and others.
Since most of the time a truck that is involved in an accident is being drive as part of work, the employer is going to be involved in the liability determination to some degree. This is especially true if the employer urged the driver to disregard safety laws or cut corners that then lead to an accident that causes injury. Other potential parties include the owner of the truck, the party that leased the truck or trailer from the owner, the loader of the cargo, the manufacturer of the truck, and any company that serviced the truck. All of these players could have had some role, large or small, in the final chain of events that lead to the accident.
The investigation into the accident will probably look closely at the loader of the cargo of the truck to determine if there was improper loading that caused the driver to lose control of the truck. The company that serviced the truck will also come under scrutiny if it is determined that the truck crashed due to mechanical failure. Likewise, the manufacturer of the truck and its components, including tires, will be looked at, especially if there is a failure of a component of the truck, i.e. a tire blowout.
Depending upon the nature of the injuries and damage, potential recovery can be extremely high, especially with a constellation of deep-pocketed defendants involved as parties to the case. You may want to call a personal injury lawyer Delray Beach FL residents have relied on in the past for aid if you find yourself in this situation.
Thanks to our friends and contributors at the Law Office of Eric H. Luckman, P.A., for their insight into truck accidents.