Are Truck Drivers Liable for Accidents?
When an accident occurs that involves two automobiles, the experience can be traumatic for the victims, especially if injuries result. But when an accident involves a commercial truck, the emotional trauma experienced by victims can be heightened by catastrophic injuries.
After experiencing an accident, innocent victims might logically expect that the negligent driver would be held liable for damages. However, in accidents that involve commercial trucks, liability for compensation is not always so straightforward. Other factors that are not so obvious at the outset may have contributed to the accident.
This is why the assistance of an Arizona truck accident lawyer is absolutely necessary if you or your loved one has been involved in an accident with a commercial truck. The personal injury lawyers of Phillips Law Group have the experience needed to help you get fair compensation for damages suffered. Our team of lawyers has successfully recovered hundreds of millions in compensation for victims. Call us today for a free consultation.
How Truck Accidents Are Different From Auto Accidents
Most people may not realize that there are considerable differences between accidents that involve just automobiles and accidents that involve commercial trucks. The following list highlights some of the most notable differences between the two.
- Damages and injuries: Since commercial trucks weigh considerably more than cars and generate more force on impact, the results after an accident are drastically different from an accident that involves just cars. Whereas with automobile accidents damages and injuries can range from mild to severe, commercial truck accidents typically result in extensive damages and leave victims with catastrophic injuries
- Liability: Establishing liability in commercial trucking accidents is usually extremely complex because multiple parties may share a measure of liability. In addition to the driver possibly being found liable, the truck manufacturer, maintenance company, loading company, or trucking company itself may also be found liable.
- Insurance policies: In car accidents, typically just two insurance policies are involved with relatively lower limits. In contrast, in accidents with commercial trucks, several insurance policies with much higher limits may be involved, which usually results in higher compensation for damages to victims.
- Laws and regulations: Truck drivers are obligated to abide by regulations stipulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in addition to traffic laws established by the state. The FMCSA has set out specific laws for trucks and their drivers such as weight restrictions, the number of driving hours allowed, and drug testing requirements.
- Investigation: The investigative work after a truck accident is much more extensive than the same work done after an accident that involves just two automobiles. Not only must insurance information and police reports be collected, but also data logs, repair and inspection reports, prior drug testing results, and information from the truck’s black box.
This list is by no means comprehensive. There are other differences between auto accidents and truck accidents, which makes pursuing compensation complicated without the assistance of an experienced Arizona truck accident lawyer.
Potentially Liable Parties in Truck Accidents
In accidents that involve a commercial truck, multiple parties could be found liable for damages in addition to the truck driver. Some of these potentially liable parties can include:
- The truck company
- The manufacturer or parts supplier
- The maintenance company
- The vendor
- The municipality
When the Truck Driver May Be Found Liable
Although the other potentially liable parties listed may have contributed to the accident, in most cases it is discovered that the primary cause of the crash is driver error. Some possible causes of driver-related causes include the following:
- Distracted driving: When a truck driver engages in any activity that diverts his or her attention away from the road, an accident can result in a matter of seconds. According to one study, 71 percent of commercial truck accidents occurred when the driver was distracted. Phone usage, eating and drinking, and adjusting the GPS are all forms of distracted driving.
- Fatigued driving: Since commercial truck drivers frequently have scheduled times for picking up or delivering goods, they may tend to continue driving despite feeling fatigued. Some other factors that lead to a trucker driving while drowsy include increased stress from driving, side effects from medications, and not sleeping enough during off hours.
- Reckless driving: A commercial truck driver is limited in the number of hours he or she can drive in a day. As such, a driver may excessively exceed the speed limit in an effort to cover more road miles. Reckless driving by truck drivers also includes tailgating, lane-changing, failing to yield, and of course driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Blind spots: While driving on the highway, there is a very real risk of a truck merging into a lane that is already occupied by an automobile due to the limited vision of the driver. To compensate for the lack of vision, the truck driver must make sure the mirrors and driver’s seat are properly adjusted before starting the drive.
The many factors that can contribute to a truck accident highlight why it is so important to have the assistance of a knowledgeable Arizona truck accident lawyer helping with the personal injury claim. An experienced law firm would know how to gather the evidence and analyze the facts in order to pursue all responsible parties for compensation.
Types of Compensation You May Be Entitled to Receive
Victims of truck accidents are, in most cases, left with catastrophic or fatal injuries, so it only makes sense for fair compensation to be paid by the responsible parties. Innocent victims or their families have a legal right to seek a fair settlement.
Compensation for loss and damages may include the following:
- Present and long-term medical expenses
- Present and long-term lost wages
- Household renovation for disability
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Compensation for wrongful death
An Arizona Truck Accident Lawyer With Our Law Firm Can Help You With Your Claim
If you or your loved one has suffered injuries and damages from a truck accident in Arizona, do not suffer alone. Trying to navigate on your own the complexities of gathering the evidence and pursuing all the responsible parties while trying to heal physically and emotionally would simply just increase any anxiety you may already be feeling.
Insurance adjusters know how to use tactics in an effort to minimize the cost of your claim. Additionally, trucking companies typically have teams of lawyers whose sole purpose is to protect the interests of the trucking company. You need a team of knowledgeable lawyers protecting and fighting for your interests. Lawyers who are familiar with the tactics that insurance companies use and who know how to go about pursuing full compensation for damages.
The lawyers at Phillips Law Group have the resources nationwide to gather the facts and hold all responsible parties liable for compensation. Always prepared to file a lawsuit for compensation beyond the limits of insurance companies, we can get you what you need.
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