According to the National Highway Safety Transportation Commission, one out of every eight fatalities on the road involves a collision between a personal vehicle and a commercial 18-wheeler. In 86 percent of commercial truck accidents, the person killed is the driver or passengers of the other vehicle. Collisions with commercial trucks also cause a high percentage of serious injuries every year. If you have been the victim of one of these crashes, you already know how challenging it can be to prove liability and collect the financial compensation that is rightfully yours.
Factors Involved in Semi-Truck Accidents
There are many unique factors at play in a collision between a personal vehicle and a semi-truck that puts the driver of a car, motorcycle, or pick-up truck at a serious disadvantage. Some of these include:
- The big rig driver may be driving long distances on very little sleep. Although mandatory rest breaks exist, some drivers and their employers choose to ignore them.
- The likelihood of mechanical failure is higher due to the numerous parts required to keep the commercial truck running smoothly. Unfortunately, trucking companies sometimes put their own profits ahead of the safety of everyone else on the road.
- The driver may be carrying so much cargo that it puts the 18-wheeler over its weight restriction. This is another case of ignoring laws put in place for everyone’s safety, including the commercial truck driver.
- Speeding, use of alcohol or drugs, and failure to yield right of way to smaller vehicles on the part of the driver. A general disregard for traffic laws usually stems from not wanting to get behind schedule for any reason.
Determining Liability is Challenging
While negligence is definitely a factor in all of these situations, it is often difficult to determine who is actually at fault. For example, the sleep-deprived driver may have chosen to drive knowing the risk it entailed. Perhaps he or she hadn’t slept in more than a day, but decided to drive anyway. The driver’s immediate supervisor may have also ordered him or her to keep driving despite protests that it wasn’t safe. The same situation often plays out when commercial loads are overweight. In these cases, both the driver and the trucking company that employs him or her may both be held liable.
The situation gets even more challenging when it comes to mechanical failure. The fault may lie with the manufacturer, the mechanic, or the trucking company itself for not requiring higher safety standards. It’s also important to keep in mind that trucking companies expect personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. They prepare for the inevitable legal action by hiring a team of experienced and aggressive attorneys to defend them, even when they know they’re in the wrong. It should come as no surprise that many people involved in an accident with a semi-truck feel too intimidated by the company’s lawyers to protect their own legal interests.
Don’t Go it Alone
If you’re struggling with medical expenses, lost wages, or expenses related to the loss of a loved one, you don’t need the stress of trying to file a lawsuit on your own. Not only will Patterson Dahlberg Injury Lawyers help gather evidence in your case, we will aggressively fight the other party for your right to fair compensation in light of your injuries or emotional trauma. We urge you to contact us without delay to get your case started.
Even if your accident just happened, you can be certain that the lawyers representing the trucking firm are already hard at work trying to discredit you. They are not interested in justice nearly as much as avoiding responsibility for your injuries.