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Understanding and dealing with a truck accident

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2017 | blog, Firm News

Truck accidents often have tragic consequences. Due to their size and weight, large commercial trucks have the ability to cause extensive damage to other vehicles and their passengers. If a truck is hauling hazardous materials, the damages can increase exponentially. These are some of the reasons why the government heavily regulates the trucking industry. However, safety requirements cannot stop all accidents from happening.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a truck accident, you might be able to pursue legal action. An attorney in the Bakersfield area can help file a claim to recover your medical expenses, property damage to your car, and lost wages. Read further to find out more about commercial truck accidents and your rights as a victim.

Vehicles considered commercial trucks

In general, the term “commercial truck” includes tractor-trailers, tanker trucks, and usually any large vehicle that is hauling freight or operating in a business capacity. Standard pick-up trucks and work vans usually do not fall into this category because they do not require the driver to have a commercial driver’s license.

The reason truck accidents cause severe injuries

The average passenger vehicle, such as a sedan or small sport utility vehicle, usually weighs around 3,000 pounds. An eighteen-wheeler carrying a full load can often weigh in at a minimum of 80,000 pounds. The difference in size and weight is the main contributing factor to severe accidents.

Limited performance abilities

Large commercial trucks do not have the same handling capabilities as a sports car. Breaking time and distance is much longer. In addition, trucks tend to have very large blind spots that make it much for difficult to see other cars.

Recovering damages

As an accident victim, you might be able to recover money for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. Whether you sue the driver or the trucking company depends on the nature of the relationship between the driver and the business.

If the driver was an employee, you will be able to sue the trucking company. However, if the driver was an independent contractor, you might be limited to suing only the driver. Your attorney will examine your case and determine the best course of action based on the circumstances.

Comparative negligence

In some cases, both the driver of the passenger vehicle and the truck driver might share fault for an accident. The court refers to this as comparative negligence. In cases such as these, the court might reduce your settlement by the percentage that you contributed to the accident.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, you might be able to pursue legal action.