Disclaimer: This article should not be treated as legal advice. It’s recommended that readers still consult legal counsel and contact a lawyer should they have any concerns regarding this topic.
Vehicular accidents can be stressful, especially when it comes to legal affairs. However, trucks are a different thing entirely given their build and other relevant factors. This is why there are entire sections of regulations dedicated for trucks due to their size and their purpose. However, fret not as these things are still learnable even if they tend to be overwhelming.
Likewise, if you are a driver for a truck company, or if you own a commercial truck service, it may be important to have a good understanding how these accidents work in order to avoid them in the future and how to deal with them accordingly. Having a heads up in situations like these is extremely useful especially for individuals who think they may be involved in these in the future.
Here are some key things to remember legally if you find yourself between a car and truck accident.
However, please do remember that these tips are not the only key things you should be aware of when you find yourself in an accident of this nature. It’s still best you communicate with legal counsel or your lawyer should you want to learn more about these circumstances.
Always remember that because trucks are larger than our average vehicles, they have special rules and regulations involved in their maintenance and operations. Since trucks are normally operated by companies, there’s a special regulating body, and therefore rules, that are involved with their processes. Understanding this is crucial with all the information we’re going to learn about car and truck accidents.
State Federal Laws: Truck Driver Conduct
In the United States, the United States Department of Transportation alongside the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are the regulation bodies for the commercial trucks operating in the area. Likewise, states have their own transportation departments to regulate these commercial trucks under the federal trucking regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations.
- This also means that if the accident is in any way related to a commercial driver of a semi-truck, big rig, or a truck that is not following regulations properly, the driver and the company can be held liable for the damages that may have been caused.
- This also means that there are certain things that are always regulated when it comes to truck drivers.
- Drivers must have the appropriate license in order to operate. Some states even have laws that require special licenses for drivers in order to operate certain trucks, and employers are responsible for this.
- Drivers also have a particular period of time to work in a day without rest and breaks, which is called “hours of service.”
- Trucks also have to be carefully maintained and inspected for quality. This means trucks that have to carry hazardous waste must be regulated properly. Additionally, trucks have to undergo constant maintenance. Negligence in the part of the company to ensure this can add severity to the damages they have to pay for.
- Trucks also have a maximum weight they are allowed to carry in any situation.
Liability in Accidents
This also means that in order for us to be compensated for accidents related to a truck, we have to first prove that the employers are responsible for the accidents their employees got into during their working hours.
- One way to do this is to see if the driver of the said company has actually broken the law by not following regulations. This is called “negligence per se.”
- Likewise, we can also try to prove if the company itself has negligently hired a “bad driver”.
Damages in Accidents
In terms of damages, here are some expenses you may be compensated for in your lawsuit. These include:
- Medical and pain and suffering expenses, if you’ve suffered injuries and have to pay for ambulance fees, doctors and hospital visits, and in home care services. Pain and suffering expenses means if you’ve experienced any physical or mental distress such as anxiety and stress, the company may be liable to pay you.
- Lost earning capacity and lost wages, or losing your ability to earn a living, is also something the company must be able to pay you for.
- Loss of companionship is also something companies can compensate you for, especially if the loss results from a loss of affection or relations in a marriage, or in some cases, the loss of a loved one.
The above can be the key things to remember legally between car and truck accidents. This is a good way to identify certain factors you need to be aware of should you find yourself in these situations. However, remember that certain states have certain laws when pertaining to these circumstances, so it’s best you communicate with a legal professional should you have concerns with specifics. Lawyers specializing in truck accidents can help you better understand these situations and help you navigate your way in these accidents.
Sylvia Johnson is equipped with 20 years of experience in the business industry, where it is her passion to help teach and enlighten others with things in the legal and business world. She writes about the law and other subjects from a practical standpoint. She enjoys playing tennis with her daughters during her free time.