FAQ about Commercial Truck Accidents

Q: I have read that commercial truck accidents can lead to severe injuries. What is a “commercial truck”?

A: A commercial truck refers to a vehicle for business and/or for the transport of commercial goods such as 18-wheeler tractor trailers, tanker trucks, delivery vehicles, and other huge freight trucks.

Q: Why is a traffic accident that involves a commercial truck more inclined to cause injury compared to passenger cars?

A: An ordinary fully-loaded big commercial truck can carry as much as 80,000 pounds and beyond, while an average passenger automobile only weighs for about 3,000 pounds. Because of this difference in size, and the basic laws of physics, any collision between a commercial truck and another vehicle is inclined to lead to severe and even fatal injuries.

Q: What are the most common factors in collisions between the commercial trucks and automobiles?

A: Basically, the accidents caused by the combination of the characteristics of trucks and its performance features which include its limits related to acceleration, braking, and visibility and the car driver’s ignorance to these characteristics.

Q: I was injured in a crash where a truck driver was at fault. Will I receive money for the time I missed at work?

A: Yes and your recovery in a personal injury action include payment for the lost earning through missed work, and a compensation for loss of earning capacity due to the accident.

Q: The car of my daughter crashed with a truck with hazardous liquid, and she suffered respiratory problems. Can we file charges the shipper of the chemicals and the truck driver?

A: The shipper of the hazardous materials may be held legally accountable if the injuries has resulted from the type of cargo on the truck, specifically if the shipper is unable to inform the driver or the trucking company about the hazardous nature of the materials in the freight.

Q: I have hears that it is dangerous to drive in the “No-Zone” truck. What does this mean?

A: The “No-Zone” is the place behind and beside the commercial truck where the truck driver has limited or zero visibility; it is the left rear quarter, the right rear quarter, and the directly behind the truck at a short distance.

Q: Can I file charges against the trucking company of the truck driver for my injuries?

A: It will depend on whether the employment relationship is established between the truck driver and the trucking company. If such relationship is established, the company can be held legally responsible for the negligence of the driver under the legal theory called “respondeat superior.” It may be difficult to establish the liability of the company if the truck driver is an independent contractor of the company. In this situation, the key is in the amount of supervising practiced by the company.

Q: I was involved in a traffic accident where the big-rig “jackknifed.” Will I automatically recover against the truck driver?

A: Not necessarily because the fact that the truck jackknifes is not an evidence of the negligence of the driver or operator and since there are many accident occurrences that present difficulties where there is no practical way to prevent jackknifing without risking the other danger. For instance, the operation of the truck that was jackknifed may be considered to be non-negligent where the jackknifing was due to an unexpected slipperiness of the street, or to a sudden turn made to avoid a motorist or a stalled truck.

Q: If I may have been partly at fault for the accident, will I be able to win the lawsuit?

A: It will depend on the level of your fault. Under the legal doctrine called “comparative negligence,” the amount of another party’s liability for the accident can be determined by comparing his/her recklessness with your own. The party’s part of liability will determine the percentage of the resulting damages he/she should pay. In several states, one cannot recover anything if his/her own recklessness is 50% or beyond accountable for the incident.

Q: Should I meet with a lawyer if I feel that I may have a valid legal claim for the injuries I sustained in a traffic accident with a commercial truck?

A: Yes. You should discuss with an experienced lawyer to make sure that your legal claim is properly evaluated and your legal rights to compensation are protected.

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