A truck accident differs from other types of vehicle accidents in one critical way. When a truck is in an accident, the consequences are usually much more drastic, and not many people walk away uninjured. With trucks there’s no such thing as just a “fender bender,” which is why truck drivers must have special licenses to drive, and why they follow different rules of the road to protect not just themselves, but everyone in their wake. A commercial truck can weigh as much as twenty-five times the average automobile on the road. So if a truck driver isn’t adhering to the proper safety precautions when driving, it is like a missile heading straight down the highway.
Those who are involved in accidents are eligible to collect for both their damages and injuries, but sometimes it is harder to discern who is at fault in a truck driving accident. If you are having a hard time determining who is to blame for the accident, it is always best to consult a lawyer in Houston who specializes in automobile — specifically truck — accidents to help you recover all that you are entitled to.
The dangers inherent in truck driving
Statistics show that truck drivers on average drive with much more caution than the average driver, but that does not mean that accidents do not happen. Truck drivers can be just as fallible when behind the wheel. It is estimated that close to 5,000 fatalities and over 100,000 injuries occur every year due to truck accidents. Although these often are not the truck driver’s fault, there are many things that truck drivers encounter on the road that can end in catastrophe.
To make matters worse, when a truck is in an accident it isn’t always just about the vehicle’s massive size. There are times when damages are exacerbated due to what is being transported. Things like propane tankers or other chemicals can cause catastrophic events in an accident. That can lead to secondary injuries for both the automobile driver and truck driver.
How to prove your case
Like most personal injury cases, when it comes to commercial truck accidents, the same “liability” falls to the person who is at fault. Fault is determined through finding “negligence.” If a car driver wants to make a personal injury claim they must be able to prove that:
- The truck driver, who is required to exercise a reasonable degree of care when driving, did not do so. Since commercial drivers have an obligation to avoid injury by taking special considerations to ensure the safety of other drivers, pedestrians, and passengers, if it can be proven that they did not then you can recover damages.
- The driver “breached” the duty to take necessary reasonable care when driving.
- The driver’s failure to exert reasonable care was the reason for the accident
To collect, the first critical thing to decipher is who the defendant is. That may not be limited just to the driver of the commercial vehicle. There are many instances where the driver’s employer might be liable as well. Also, insurance companies are obligated to cover your injuries and damages.
If an employer has a contract with a shipping or trucking company, then the company might be the one who is held liable for the accident. The company, therefore, would be the one who would be legally responsible for paying for the damages and injuries. The Houston truck accident lawyer would have to prove that the company had control over the truck driver, meaning that the driver was acting in the course of their employment.
Things can get muddled if the truck driver is an independent contractor. In cases where a trucker is a contractor, deciphering who is at fault is more difficult. There are also times when the manufacturer of the cargo being shipped might also be liable for any secondary injuries that someone sustains in a trucking accident.
If you are injured in a truck driving accident, it adds another degree of proof that can sometimes be difficult. If you want to ensure that you get all that you are entitled to, never settle with an insurance company before seeking the help of a Houston lawyer who specializes in truck driving accidents.