Any kind of motor vehicle accident has the potential to change a victim's life forever. However, when a person has a crash with a commercial trucker, the effects have much more potential to be devastating. The sheer size and weight of a big rig can lead to more serious or even fatal injuries in a truck accident.
You probably know that commercial trucks transport large amounts of goods over great distances. They are a vital part of the economy here in Kentucky and across the nation. People who drive them have to have a commercial driver's license. What you might not know is what makes accidents with these vehicles more deadly and your available options if you are unfortunate enough to have a crash that involves a commercial truck.
The added risks of truck accidents
A semi-truck can weigh more than 80,000 pounds, which is significantly greater than most passenger vehicles, which are generally only 3,000 pounds. Simple physics shows that the risk of significant injury or death is more likely for a person in a passenger car who collides with a big rig.
These large trucks can't maneuver the same way as a regular car. The truck's size can impede overall visibility. Some motorists fail to realize that large trucks can't break or accelerate as easily as a passenger vehicle, which can cause accidents. The blind spots, commonly called "No-Zones" are much larger. If you ride in one of those zones – the rear quarters on both sides or immediately behind the truck – the truck driver may not realize you are there.
Who could be liable for a truck accident?
The driver of the truck can be held liable for an accident, but that's not the only possibility. If the truck was carrying hazardous chemicals that harmed a victim in a crash, the shipper of those chemicals may be liable, particularly if the shipper did not inform the truck driver of the potential danger. The trucking company itself may also be liable for an accident if it directly employed the truck driver.
If you shared fault for the accident with the truck driver, that doesn't necessarily mean that you can't pursue civil litigation. Comparative negligence divides the liability between you and the other party, meaning that he or she would be responsible for paying a percentage of awarded damages. This will be dependent on state and local laws.
What can damages cover?
Damages can cover not just your medical expenses, but they can also make up for any income you lost as a result of the crash. Courts will also take into account if the accident changed your ability to work and earn money. Multiple factors affect the amount of awarded damages after a crash.
If you or someone you care about has suffered injuries in a trucking accident, the most important thing is that you understand the available options. These kinds of crashes can throw a person's life into deep turmoil. However, there are ways to find resolutions even after such a significant, life-altering event.