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8 Frequently Asked Questions About Big Truck Accidents

by Kirk Farrar on Jan. 12, 2018

Accident & Injury Car Accident 

Summary: Are accidents involving big trucks handled the same as accidents involving passenger vehicles? Definitely not. Here are a few of the top questions regarding the legal aspects of big truck accidents.

Vehicle accidents involving semi-trailer trucks (or “big trucks”) can be extremely serious and in many cases are more dangerous than accidents involving two-passenger vehicles. Naturally, this is because semi-trucks are significantly larger and heavier than typical vehicles. Moreover, they are often carrying flammable or hazardous materials that may spill or leak upon impact.

If you are involved in a vehicle accident involving a big truck, keep in mind the legal process for determining liability and possible reimbursement for injuries will be much different than it is for passenger vehicle accidents. To help you navigate the often complicated and confusing situation resulting from a big truck accident, read our list of the most frequently asked questions pertaining to big truck accidents below.

8 Frequently Asked Questions About Big Truck Accidents

1. What’s the number one reason passenger vehicles and big trucks collide?

Accidents between passenger vehicles and big trucks are usually caused by the large disparity in the size and weight of these two vehicle types. Because of the huge size and weight of semi-trucks, there are limits associated with these trucks’ abilities to see the traffic around them and break or accelerate in time when they are trying to avoid an accident.

2. If I am injured in a semi-truck accident, can I sue the truck driver’s trucking company for damages?

In some cases, yes. For you to be able to sue the trucking company for injuries you incurred after an accident with one of their trucks, you must be able to prove a relationship between the trucking company and the truck driver. Certain situations may merit liability with the trucking company if the driver was negligent. However, this must be established in association with a legal theory called respondeat superior — literally in Latin: “let the master answer.”

If you can prove this association and prove the truck driver was negligent in their actions and caused the accident you were in and your injuries, the trucking company would be liable. You would then need the help of a lawyer to sue the trucking company for damages in order to pay your medical bills, etc. In some cases, pain and suffering damages might also be awarded.

3. What if I had to miss work because of the accident? Will I be able to receive compensation for the wages I missed?

Yes. In any type of personal injury action, if you are awarded damages for your personal injuries, you may seek compensation for wages you missed as well.

An action like this would include payment for direct lost wages/income as well as payment for any lost earning capacity. For example, if you would have been up for a promotion or bonus or if you regularly receive work compensation in forms other than direct payment (for example, free tickets to a concert or sporting event), you could sue for the monetary worth of these bonuses as well.

4. What constitutes a “big truck” or commercial truck/semi-truck?

Typical commercial trucks are larger, heavier, and can cause more damage than passenger vehicles. In fact, normal big trucks fully-loaded with commercial goods can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. or more. The disparity between the size and weight of passenger vehicles is vast, with passenger vehicles generally weighing around 3,000 lbs. or less. In the event of an accident between these two types of vehicles, it’s easy to see which vehicle will be in greater danger and have more damage.

Not all trucks are constituted as big trucks, commercial trucks, or semi-trucks. For the most part, these trucks involve large delivery vehicles, freight trucks, 18-wheeler tractor-trailers and tanker trucks. These vehicles are used for the transport of commercial products and can be seen on highways and roads alongside passenger vehicles, despite the enormous size and weight difference.

5. What is a “jack-knifed” truck, and if I’m involved in an accident where a truck jack-knifed, what does that mean for me?

Jackknifing usually occurs during inclement weather when a large vehicle has to brake suddenly. The attached trailer skids out of alignment to form an L or a V shape with the cab of the truck. Jackknifing can also occur during normal weather when an immediate break is necessary. Drivers are not always considered negligent if a truck jackknifes. But in some cases, the fault of an accident may be the fault of the driver, which may, therefore, mean you could be awarded damages.

6. What is a “turning accident?”

One of the hardest things for commercial trucks to do is turn. For this reason, they often need to take up two entire lanes just to make a right turn. If you are struck when a truck is making one of these dangerous turns, it will not necessarily be a clear case of negligence. However, if the truck was definitely occupying the two lanes, the court may establish liability of the truck driver.

7. What is the “No-Zone” of a commercial truck?

In cases involving commercial trucks, you may hear the term “No-Zone.” This simply refers to a blind spot located beside and slightly behind a commercial truck. The “No-Zone” may be on either the right or left rear corner of the truck. In this spot, the driver does not usually have complete visibility.

8. What happens if hazardous material leaked from a commercial truck and I suffered health problems as a result? Can I sue for damages?

Shippers who are shipping hazardous materials in commercial trucks are not always liable if these materials leak from the cab of the truck in the event of an accident. Generally speaking, they will only be held liable if they have failed to inform the trucking company or the truck driver that dangerous materials were located in the shipment and could cause health problems.

Finding Legal Help After a Big Truck Accident

As stated, because semi-truck accidents can be so much more catastrophic than typical accidents with passenger vehicles, it is extremely important for you to seek the help of an attorney in order to recover damages. Only a reputable lawyer with experience with big truck accidents can help you recover all of the payments for medical bills and wages you lost in the accident.

Fortunately, Georgia attorneys at Farrar, Hennesy & Tanner, LLC have the experience you need. They know trucking laws and regulations inside and out and can seek the compensation you deserve after your accident.

Contact Farrar, Hennesy & Tanner, LLC today by calling 844-FHT-HELP or submit your inquiry for your free case review.

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