Just being in a car wreck causes some people to not want to drive anymore. Imagine the horror of becoming entangled with an 18-wheeler. There is no contest. Big rigs are unbeatable opponents. Being in an accident with another passenger vehicle is truly different than going up against an 18-wheeler.
There are two main differences in accidents involving large commercial vehicles: the types of accidents and the potentially responsible parties.
Many of us are familiar with basic car wrecks. Some of us have had the unfortunate luck to be involved in them ourselves. Whether it’s speeding, running a red light, or something else that causes the accident, the end result is never good. Property damage and injuries occur, sometimes fatal. But when a big truck or other commercial vehicle is involved, damages can climb to a whole new level. Big trucks become like weapons of mass destruction when basic moving violations occur. Truckers have to be extra careful to make sure their actions do not endanger others.
In addition, there are several types of accidents that are unique—or their damage far worse—when tractor-trailers or other large vehicles are involved. Here are some examples:
- Brake malfunctions;
- Fuel fires; and
Due to the nature of heavy commercial vehicles, drivers must be trained and get a special license. They have to learn how to operate these vehicles safely.
Accidents with commercial vehicles are also different because many different people may be at fault.
Truckers or their employers must carry higher amounts of insurance than drivers of passenger cars. This additional insurance is one potential source of recovery when someone is injured as a result of an accident with an 18-wheeler.
In addition, truckers themselves may be liable for causing a wreck. There are many laws that are designed to protect the travelling public when heavy vehicles are involved. Here are some examples:
- Hours of service regulations, which set maximum times for driving and require rest breaks;
- Logging requirements, to prove that drivers complied with hours of service rules;
- Heavy vehicle maintenance and inspection requirements;
- Drug and alcohol testing requirements; and
- Transportation of hazardous materials rules.
People other than truckers may also be responsible. For example, if the trucker worked for a company, the company may be responsible if the trucker violated the law or acted irresponsibly. A person or company that loaded a truck may be responsible for failing to do so properly. And if something went wrong with the truck itself, the manufacturer may be legally responsible.
It is always important to drive safely, but we should all be on special guard when driving close to big commercial vehicles. These vehicles present special risks for those around them. But they also present other avenues for recovering money damages that may not be available in regular accidents involving two passenger vehicles.
An accident with a large truck can cause severe injuries. If you or a loved one were injured in an accident with a big truck, you may be entitled to money damages. For a free case evaluation, contact the experienced lawyers at Wright Pichon & Gray