An accident involving a semi-truck can lead to extensive injuries and damage. Medical costs and reduced quality of life are common outcomes following a semi-truck accident. You must understand your rights in the state of Florida if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a semi-truck.
How Often Do Semi-Trucks Cause Accidents?
Each year, around 5,000 non-truck drivers die in accidents involving semi-truck drivers and thousands more are injured in these road accidents. Due to the size and weight of semi-trucks, it is rare that these accidents only involve one other car and crashes usually involve several vehicles.
In addition, due to the size and weight of these trucks, most cars are not able to withstand these collisions and are often severely damaged. As a result, walking away from a car accident involving a semi-truck is rare.
It is important to understand that semi-trucks are commercial vehicles, meaning they are more strictly regulated than passenger cars. They’re also under more serious scrutiny for negligence. They pose a greater safety risk to other drivers on the road, and there are laws in place to hold commercial truck drivers (and their employers) accountable for any and all possible negligence.
If you or someone you love is injured in an accident involving a semi-truck, it is likely the truck company will be very insistent that you accept a settlement or sign a waiver of some kind. Commercial truck insurance companies have sometimes been known to be coercive, and some will not hesitate to take advantage of you to minimize their liability.
That’s why it is vital that you speak with a car accident attorney right away. If they are experienced with semi-truck accidents, they will be able to make sure that you and your family receive the compensation you deserve after a tragic accident.
Can You Sue After an Accident with a Semi-Truck?
Yes, you absolutely can.
Even if you were found at fault for the accident, the other driver is required to exercise greater care while sharing the road with drivers of smaller vehicles. However, personal injury claims related to semi-truck accidents can be more complex because it’s likely there are multiple parties at fault for your injuries. Here’s a breakdown of who may be held responsible:
Naturally, if the commercial truck driver failed to observe all traffic laws or failed to pay attention to your vehicle, they are liable for the accident. This is true for insurance purposes and personal injury claims.
These commercial drivers should not be driving without adequate rest, and they should not be on any substances, including medications, that impair their ability to drive. The law expects them to make careful use of brakes (they must allow more time and space to slow their vehicle) and to obey speed limits (which are usually lower speeds than for non-commercial vehicles).
They are also responsible for vehicle care and maintenance. If a tire’s tread is low enough, the truck will skid more easily or may pop. Or if the brakes are worn, the truck will not slow down properly. For these reasons and more, the semi-truck driver is usually responsible for some part of the traffic accident.
Whoever hired the driver is responsible for that driver’s behavior. In the wake of an accident, it may become apparent that an employer did not properly train their drivers or insist on reasonable, minimum maintenance requirements. Typically, the trucking company bears the liability for the driver’s negligence, and they may also be included in a personal injury lawsuit.
Another common liable party in a semi-truck accident is the vehicle or parts manufacturer. It is not uncommon for some mechanical or electrical part of the truck to malfunction as a result of the manufacturer’s negligence. If this is the case, then the manufacturer may also be included in the personal injury lawsuit.
Other Possible Liable Parties
There are potentially many more people and organizations that are liable for a semi-truck accident. For example, if a different company was responsible for loading the trailer, and they did not properly distribute the weight, this will cause the truck to be hard to maneuver and the loaders may also be included in a personal injury lawsuit. Additionally, there may be other drivers involved in the accident who violated traffic laws and contributed to the severity of the accident.
For this reason (and others), it is crucial that you consult with a car accident attorney about your accident with a semi-truck. They will be able to guide you through the process of seeking compensation for your injuries and recouping lost wages and payment for other damages resulting from the accident.
For more information about how a South Florida personal injury attorney can help you with your semi-truck accident case, contact Balkan and Patterson at 561-750-9191 or visit our website.