A vehicle used for the transportation of commercial goods and/or in the course of business is referred to a commercial truck. There are different types of commercial trucks including eighteen wheelers, tankers, delivery trucks, freighters, tractor tailors, etc.
The weight of a full loaded commercial truck can exceed 75,000 pounds. The average passenger car weighs about 2500 pounds. So when an average passenger car collides with a commercial truck, the resultant injuries can be serious and sometimes fatal.
Causes of accidents
Multiple factors can contribute to a collision or accident between automobiles and commercial trucks. These factors include the weight of the truck, the performance limitations of the truck and the miscalculation by the automobile driver about the trucks capabilities.
Compensation for lost wages
If you have been injured in a truck accident, you can sue the at fault truck driver for lost wages besides compensation for your pain and suffering and medical expenses. If you are unable to work in the future because of the injuries, you can also claim compensation for loss of earning ability.
In an accident involving a truck carrying hazardous chemicals, the shipper can under certain circumstances be held liable for any injuries resulting from the accident, especially if the shipper failed to notify the truck company or the truck driver that the good being transported are hazardous.
In a commercial truck there are certain areas located on the side and behind which are not visible to the driver while he or she is seated in the driver’s seat. These areas are known as the No Zone.
Trucking Company Liability
Under the theory of vicarious liability, the trucking company can be held liable for an accident caused by a truck driver if the driver was acting within the scope of his or her employment. The principle of vicarious liability held an employer (formerly a master) liable for the negligence of his employee (formerly servant) even though he had neither authorized his employees’ torts nor specifically prohibited them. An 1852 U.S. Supreme Court case indicated that vicarious liability did not depend on any contractual relationship or “chain of command” between the employer and the employee, but simply on whether the employee’s acts were within the scope of his employment. If so, the employer was absolutely liable for his employee’s negligence.
If a big rig jackknifed, the truck driver will not be automatically held liable. Jackknifing alone is not evidence of negligence on the part of the truck driver. Many times there is no practical way to prevent the jackknifing without causing another catastrophe. For example if the jackknifing resulted because the truck driver took an abrupt turn to avoid a collision with an oncoming vehicle.
Partially at Fault
Under comparative negligence principle which is followed in some states, your fault reduces but does not entirely eliminate the truck driver’s liability for the plaintiff’s injury. In some other states which follow the contributory negligence principle, you can always recover some amount, even if the truck driver is only 1 percent responsible. However, some states have modified this principle and allow the plaintiff to recover only if he or she is not as (50 percent) or more (51 percent) responsible than the defendant.
Hiring an attorney
A truck accident claim is complex. Hire the services of an experienced truck accident attorney.