What is a Truck Accident Injury?

Like an auto injury, a trucking accident injury is harm or hurt to the body, mind, or emotions caused by the negligence or carelessness of a commercial truck driver during a traffic collision. Legally speaking, a trucking accident injury is a type of tort (or civil wrong) where harm is caused to one individual because another individual—typically a commercial truck driver—failed to use reasonable care behind the wheel of a car or vehicle, which led to a traffic collision.

A traffic collision—also known as a traffic accident, motor vehicle collision, motor vehicle accident, car accident, automobile accident, or car crash—takes place when one vehicle strikes another vehicle, a pedestrian, an animal, road debris, or other stationary obstructions, such a tree or utility pole. A number of factors contribute to the risk of collision including vehicle design, speed, road design, road environment, driver skill or impairment, and driver behavior. In addition to injury, traffic collisions with commercial trucks may also result in property damage and death of those involved in the crash.

A traffic collision involving a commercial truck, such as an 18-wheeler or other large freight carrier, is much more catastrophic than an ordinary car accident. An oversized, fully-loaded commercial truck can weigh more than 80,000 while an average car weighs about 3,000 pounds. Because of this size disproportion and due to basic physics, any collision between a commercial truck and another vehicle is likely to result in serious, even fatal, injuries.

The unique danger posed by commercial truck accidents can be made worse depending on the nature of the freight the truck is carrying. If a commercial truck is transporting hazardous or flammable materials, for example, a crash could involve secondary injuries such as burns and respiratory problems.

Trucking Accident Injury and the Law

Much like other personal injury cases involving traffic collisions, in truck accident injury cases liability is determined by negligence. A defendant is negligent if he or she failed in their duty to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances of the situation and the plaintiff’s injuries resulted from that failure. A plaintiff injured in a commercial truck accident must show that:

  • The defendant—the truck driver or the trucking company, for example—failed to uphold the duty to exercise a reasonable degree of care to avoid injury under the circumstances of the situation. Because all drivers on the road owe a legal duty of reasonable care to fellow drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, this defense is almost always automatically met.
  • The defendant failed to exercise reasonable care, or breached the duty of reasonable care.
  • The defendant’s failure to exercise reasonable care caused the injury suffered by plaintiff.

In order to prove negligence in trucking accident cases, a plaintiff and his or her attorney should identify as many potential defendants as possible and hold them accountable for the accident. The truck driver may not be the only one legally responsible for the accident. The accident may have been caused by an irresponsible trucking company, a contractor, or an employer that, for example, overloaded the truck with cargo.

When a commercial truck accident occurs, if an employment relationship is established between the truck driver and a trucking or shipping company, then that company can be held legally liable for the driver’s negligence under the liability doctrine respondeat superior. An attorney will need to prove that the company exercised some degree of control over the driver and that the accident occurred while the driver was acting based on his or her employer’s instruction.

Establishing the liability of a third-party company 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 managing done by the company. The potential liability of trucking companies, employers, and contractors is a key factor in assessing recovery through insurance coverage and all of these entities will likely carry separate policies that will apply to the accident.

In some rare cases, the manufacturer or shipper of hazardous materials carried by the truck may also be legally responsible for any injuries that were caused or made worse by the cargo on the truck. If a shipper, for example, fails to tell a truck driver or trucking company of hazardous materials contained in a load of freight, the shipper may be liable for injuries that result if that material catches fire or is released.

We Can Help

If you have suffered an injury caused by a trucking accident, The Personal Injury Help Center can help you find the help and resources you need. Our network of personal injury lawyers, experts and professionals strive for justice and fairness in the form of compensation for victims of trucking accidents.

We are dedicated to seeking justice and fair financial compensation for those who are facing a future that has been forever altered by the negligent act of another. When you are looking to file an injury claim, you need to know that you have the best working on your side.

Over the years, our team has been successful in recovering rightly-owed compensation in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. This is a testimony to our ability to help our clients in some of the most complex injury litigation.

When filing a trucking accident injury claim, you only have one opportunity to secure a settlement; once you accept an offer, you cannot turn around to get more money if you realize that it will not cover the extent of the damages. To help you better understand what the settlement should cover, the team at The Personal Injury Help Center will help you:

Make sure your injury claim covers all of your medical expenses. This includes hospital bills, rehabilitation, future medical costs, costs of medication, future doctor visits, caretaker costs, and reconstructive surgery.

Make sure the settlement covers monetary damages. This includes property damage or car damage, lost earnings and wages, and future loss of earnings.

Make sure you are compensated for other miscellaneous damages. These include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and out of pocket expenses.

To learn more about Trucking Accident Injury claims and find out how you can obtain compensation for the injuries that you have sustained in any type of accident, complete the Free Case Evaluation form.