Any vehicle accident, large or small, major or minor, results in stress and worry as you learn to navigate the aftermath. This is definitely true when the other party involved is an 18-wheeler semi-truck, freight truck, or other large trucking vehicle. 

The waters become murky when the other driver is a professional with certain laws and other considerations at play. It is important to not only know the law surrounding truck accidents, but to employ the right resources to gain clarity and take the right steps. 

Hundreds of thousands of people are injured each year from truck accidents. Successfully navigating the aftermath can mean compensation for bodily injury, compensation for work, hospital bill coverage, and more. 

What Are Trucking Accidents Different from Regular Vehicular Accidents? 

Yes, the basics are the same. Two (or more) motor vehicles, one accident, one at-fault, and lots of headaches. However, unlike an accident with another passenger vehicle, there are some differences here. 

A standard passenger vehicle is about 4,000 pounds while the truck comes in at 80,000 pounds or more. Other nuances include ride height, the driver’s vision field, and stopping distance. Sharing the road with a semi requires vigilance on everyone’s part. 

Commercial truck drivers have a place to be and a deadline to reach. This might cause them to make poor decisions that can result in the accident. Those poor decisions include speeding, aggressive driving, merging too quickly, ignoring road conditions, or driving while sleep deprived. This is not to say all semi drivers are doing this, but it does happen. If one of these factors is in play, it may place liability on the driver and their company. 

Deciding Defendants

One of the legal practices to consider is identifying defendants in order to establish liability and work towards compensation. When filing court documents, everyone responsible needs to be listed—this is crucial. 

The assumption is to sue the other driver involved in the accident, but this is not always true for truck accidents. The driver should certainly be named, but other defendants might include the trucking company, manufacturer, parts companies, mechanics, and more. 

Proving Liability

Liability has to be theorized and determined in the lawsuit. Most personal injury litigation is seeking to determine negligence. If the negligence is purely from the driver’s side, it would mean proving another driver would have acted with more care in the same situation. 

If liability comes from mechanical defaults, poor hiring practices of someone with substance abuse history, failure to train, or a myriad of other situations, liability may fall elsewhere. This is a tricky situation and why it is important to have an experienced lawyer in action. 

Learn the Law 

The Department of Transportation has laws specific to trucks. Each state has their own laws to consider as well. Entities, like the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, have regulations set forth for corporations and manufacturers to adhere to as well. Examples of these laws include: 

  • Size and weight standards as set forth by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 (US Department of Transportation) 
  • Regulations surrounding transport of hazardous materials (US Department of Transportation) 
  • Special license categories for commercial drivers (varies by state) 
  • Regulations surrounding number of hours driven by drivers (varies by state) 
  • Driver fatigue and other issues as regulated through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (US Department of Transportation) 

In an effort to ensure safety on roadways, other laws include a focus on safety – instituting size and weight limits for vehicles on highways. If the cargo of a truck puts it over that weight limit, it might aid in determining liability. 

Prepare for the Fight 

Accidents happen. Trucking companies know this and prepare for it. No matter what the laws are, the company has experienced teams of lawyers and investigators on their side. To be prepared and get the appropriate compensation, a truck accident lawyer is the best move to make. Local law firms, like Resmini Law Firm in Newport City, have strong track records of fighting these companies and winning. 

Published by Dawn Richard