Semi Accident: Is the Driver or Company Responsible in a Tractor Trailer Accident?

A report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shows 4,889 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes in 2017… a 9% increase from 2016.

Even if a semi accident doesn’t result in a fatality, such accidents can have lasting repercussions for the victims. And those victims often need help paying for medical bills and help with lost wages.

Most victims in a semi accident hire a lawyer who helps to determine whether the driver or the company was legally responsible and whether to pursue legal action against the guilty party.

Common Reasons for a Semi Accident

For commercial trucks, the weight limit is 80,000 pounds. The average car weight in 2018 was 4,000 pounds.

When the two collide, the results are often catastrophic. Why?

** Blind Spots

** Jackknifing

** Poorly Secured Loads

** Unfamiliar Roadways

** Illegal Maneuvers

** Driver Fatigue or Illness

** Truck Malfunctions

** Weather

When Truck Drivers are Held Liable

In situations where the damages were intentional or if the driver disobeys laws and/or company policy, the driver is at fault. The driver is also held liable if he/she commits a crime like battery or assault.

That is unless you can prove the company was aware the employee had a history of committing these crimes or failed to perform a background check.

Liability and Independent Contractors

Independent contractors are not considered employees of truck driving companies.

Therefore, he/she is liable for any damages. If an accident happens and both the driver and truck were part of a contract, the third-party trucking company may be held liable as well as their driver.

When a Truck Driving Company is Liable

The truck driving company is liable if an employee was working under the scope of his or her employment and the accident is determined to be unintentional.

Employers are responsible for any accidents their employees get into during the regular course of business.

Lawsuits with Multiple Defendants

It is possible to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against multiple defendants. In some cases, the defendants can be held equally responsible while in other cases they are only responsible for the damages they caused.

This happens if you have an exhausted driver who is driving on faulty tires and causes an accident. The plaintiff can sue the driver (or the employer) and the tire manufacturer.

Multiple defendant lawsuits usually result in a trial since it’s harder to reach a settlement out of court with so many parties involved.

How to Prove Liability

It’s your responsibility to prove the truck driver or his/her employer is responsible for your injuries. You can prove liability if you can show the driver or truck driving company broke the law, which proves negligence.

You can also prove negligence by showing the company hired a bad driver. If the driver has several DUI’s and the trucking company fails to perform a background check, the employer is liable for the driver’s actions.

What Damages You Can Expect

Once you can prove liability, you’ll need to consider what expenses you can be compensated for, such as:

  • Pain and suffering including mental and physical distress caused by the accident
  • Medical expenses incurred such as hospital visits and in-home care services
  • Lost wages due to the accident or for follow-up health care appointments
  • Lost earning capacity in the future due to permanent impairments
  • Loss of companionship due to loss of affection or due to a wrongful death

Special damages can also be awarded which covers any monetary losses after an accident.

You Need a Lawyer

You’ll need help making sure you receive proper medical care and to ensure those fault pay for any damages.

At Accident Lawyers John Fagan, we have been helping accident victims since 1983. Call us and speak with us for free. Call 904 LAW-1212 anytime, day or night.

You need the right team on your side with a proven track record.

There’s Never a Fee Unless We Get Money For You

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