Any car wreck is harrowing, but when you’ve been in a truck accident involving a big rig or semi truck, the consequences can be devastating. A collision with an 18-wheeler can total your car and leave you with serious injuries or even permanent disabilities.
You might assume that because the driver of the semi truck was representing a business at the time of the accident you are automatically entitled to damages. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Several factors must be considered when determining liability for truck accident claim.
If you are certain that your own actions did not cause the accident, consider the following questions and contact a qualified truck accident attorney to help you determine the best way to proceed.
Was the driver of the semi-truck at fault?
While negligence is a possibility, other factors can contribute to truck accidents. Even the most conscientious driver can fall victim to weather conditions or poorly maintained roads, for example.
Additionally, you must consider the other drivers on the road and how their actions could have affected the driver of the semi truck. Nearly everyone who drives has encountered someone who stops suddenly, swerves or otherwise drives recklessly. Nearby drivers are forced to make split-second reactions in these cases, and truck drivers are no different.
Could the truck accident have been the company’s fault?
Assuming another driver did not cause the accident, you must then consider the possibility of mechanical failure. Faulty brakes and steering are dangerous in standard automobiles, and even more so in semi-trucks.
Some businesses require their drivers to handle maintenance, but in many cases the owner of the trucking company is responsible. It is also possible that the problem originated in production, which would place the manufacturer at fault. To prove liability, you’ll need to determine not only if there was a mechanical failure, but also where the failure originated.
If you suspect that the accident was caused by mechanical failure, consider contacting a truck accident attorney. Many personal injury lawyers specialize in these types of cases, and can help you determine where liability lies.
What constitutes driver negligence?
If the driver was under the influence, or was observed speeding or otherwise driving recklessly, negligence may be easier to prove. Another common cause of truck driver negligence is fatigue. Some drivers — either by choice or due to pressure from their employers — forgo sleep, creating a danger to everyone on the road.
Driver distraction is also a major concern in the era of technology. Portable devices allow careless drivers to send text messages, surf the Internet and even watch videos behind the wheel. All of these activities constitute negligence. In many states, talking on the phone while driving without using a hands-free device is illegal. A truck accident attorney will know if this and other activities are prohibited in the state where the accident occurred.
Knowing when you have a valid personal injury claim
Only a qualified truck accident attorney can determine the validity of your claim, and this decision will be based on both the details of the accident and your ability to prove negligence on the part of the responsible party.
If, however, the facts of the case support your claim, you are entitled to restitution for the property damage and injuries you incurred.