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Trucking accident

A commercial truck accident can be much more catastrophic than an accident between two personal-use vehicles. A typical, fully loaded commercial truck (such as a big rig or dump truck) can weigh at least 25 times as much as a typical car. Due to this stark weight disparity and the basic laws of physics, most big rig truck accidents with other vehicles result in serious, even fatal, injuries.

If you or a loved one is involved in an accident with a commercial truck, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries by bringing a legal claim against the responsible parties. This article will provide a general overview of such claims, but you should meet with a specialized truck accident lawyer for more information or legal representation.

See Truck Accident FAQ and Common Causes of Truck Accidents for more information.

The Unique Dangers of Commercial Truck Accidents

While statistics show that truck drivers generally are much more careful on the road than automobile drivers, large truck crashes still accounted for 4,995 fatalities and 106,000 injuries in 2006 (according to the U.S. Department of Transportation). These accidents often are not the fault of the truck driver and may be the result of unforeseen road hazards or the negligence of other drivers.

In addition, truck accidents can be made worse by the freight the truck is carrying. For example, if hazardous or flammable materials (such as gasoline or industrial waste) are on board a big rig involved in an accident, secondary injuries from that dangerous cargo can result.

Proving Your Case

As is true in most personal injury cases involving vehicle accidents, the main legal theory of liability in commercial truck accident cases is "negligence." Therefore, a person injured in a commercial truck accident must show that:

1.      Defendant (driver, trucking company, etc.) owed the plaintiff the duty to exercise a reasonable degree of care to avoid injury, under the circumstances (all drivers on the road owe a legal duty of reasonable care to fellow drivers, passengers, and pedestrians);

2.      Defendant failed to exercise such reasonable care, or in legal terms "breached" the duty of reasonable care; and

3.      Defendant's failure to exercise reasonable care was the cause of injury suffered by the plaintiff.

Potential Defendants

In order to collect for injuries suffered in a truck accident, it is important to identify as many potential defendants as possible, which may not be limited to the driver. In many cases, trucking companies, contractors, employers, and insurance companies may be obligated to compensate you for your injuries.

If an employment relationship is established between the truck driver and a trucking or shipping company, then that company may be held legally liable for the driver's negligence. Your attorney would need to show that the company exercised some degree of control over the driver, and that the accident occurred while the driver was acting in the course of the employment relationship.

This can become problematic when a truck driver is an independent contractor of a larger company. In this case, the key issue becomes the amount of supervising done by the company. The potential liability of trucking companies, employers, and contractors is a key factor in assessing recovery through insurance coverage, as all these entities likely will carry separate policies.

Occasionally, the manufacturer or shipper of hazardous materials carried by the truck also may be held liable for injuries caused or made worse by the truck's cargo. This typically relates to the manufacturer or shipper's duty to inform the trucker or trucking company of the materials' potential dangers.

Damages

If you are involved in a truck accident where the truck driver was at fault, you may be entitled to damages -- financial compensation for physical, emotional, and/or financial losses resulting from the accident.

Special Considerations In Truck Accident Cases

The operation of large commercial trucks (especially big rigs) on highways and roads presents certain unique dangers that are not a consideration where ordinary passenger vehicles are concerned:

·         Jackknifing -- Large vehicles such as eighteen-wheelers are prone to jackknifing under certain conditions, especially during sudden braking and turning. The driver of a truck that has jackknifed (or other would-be defendants) may be not be held negligent where the jackknifing was due to unforeseeable slipperiness of the road, or an abrupt turn to avoid a motorist or stalled truck.

·         Turning Accidents -- Commercial trucks can be difficult to turn, often requiring the use of two lanes to make a right turn. It is not always a clear case of negligence, but some courts have held that driving a big rig in this manner (turning from an inside lane or occupying two lanes) is sufficient to establish the truck driver's fault.

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David Alan Wolf
David Alan Wolf
587

1702 Emerson St #2A, Jacksonville, FL 32207

Bar #857157(FL)     License for 1990 years

Practice Areas: Animal and dog bites | Brain injury | Estate planning | Medical malpractice | Motorcycle accident | Trucking accident
Julie Aleve Fine
Julie Aleve Fine
331

622 NE 1st St, Gainesville, FL 32601

Bar #91070(FL)     License for 2011 years Member in Good Standing

Practice Areas: Animal and dog bites | Birth injury | Brain injury | Car accident | Defective and dangerous products | Litigation | Motorcycle accident | Personal injury | Slip and fall accident | Trucking accident | Wrongful death
Loren Weiss Pincus
Loren Weiss Pincus
126

12962 North Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, FL 33618

Bar #13841(FL)     License for 2005 years Member in Good Standing

Practice Areas: Car accident | Criminal defense | DUI and DWI | Entertainment | Motorcycle accident | Personal injury | Slip and fall accident | Trucking accident | Wrongful death
Loren L Gold
Loren L Gold
105

8050 Cleary Blvd. # 503, Plantation, FL 33324

Bar #785768(FL)     License for 1989 years Member in Good Standing

Practice Areas: Car accident | Defective and dangerous products | Insurance | Medical malpractice | Motorcycle accident | Personal injury | Slip and fall accident | Trucking accident | Workers compensation | Wrongful death
Henry Eric Gare
Henry Eric Gare
97

1920 San Marco Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL 32207

Bar #959960(FL)     License for 1992 years

Practice Areas: Motorcycle accident | Personal injury | Trucking accident | Wrongful death
Stephen George Charpentier
Stephen George Charpentier
94

2290 W Eau Gallie Blvd Suite 212, Melbourne, FL 32935

Bar #328006(FL)     License for 1981 years Member in Good Standing

Practice Areas: Car accident | Defective and dangerous products | Insurance | Medical malpractice | Motorcycle accident | Nursing home abuse and neglect | Personal injury | Trucking accident | Wrongful death
Darryl Brent Kogan
Darryl Brent Kogan
79

3615 W. Boynton Beach Blvd., Boynton Beach, FL 33436

Bar #380180(FL)     License for 1983 years

Practice Areas: Birth injury | Defective and dangerous products | Litigation | Motorcycle accident | Nursing home abuse and neglect | Personal injury | Slip and fall accident | Trucking accident | Wrongful death
James Owen Cunningham
James Owen Cunningham
79

236 South Lucerne Circle East, Orlando, FL 32801

Bar #242691(FL)     License for 1977 years Member in Good Standing

Practice Areas: Brain injury | Car accident | Medical malpractice | Personal injury | Trucking accident | Wrongful death
Angela Zervos
Angela Zervos
68

1266 S Pinelllas Ave., Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Bar #120839(FL)     License for 1997 years Member in Good Standing

Practice Areas: Brain injury | Car accident | Medical malpractice | Motorcycle accident | Personal injury | Slip and fall accident | Spinal cord injury | Trucking accident | Wrongful death
Bernard Francis Walsh
Bernard Francis Walsh
57

5291 Office Park Blvd, Bradenton, FL 34203-3440

Bar #263826(FL)     License for 1978 years Member in Good Standing

Practice Areas: Brain injury | Car accident | Motorcycle accident | Personal injury | Trucking accident | Wrongful death

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