Semi-Trailer Accidents: Understanding Your Legal Rights


Semi-trailers involved in collisions with automobiles often end with catastrophic results.

The size and very nature of semi-trailer accidents (also called 18-wheelers) can leave small cars crushed, overturned, thrown off the road, or even stuck under the huge trailer these semi-trailers tow.

Tractor-trailer accidents leave occupants of small cars seriously injured or even killed, while the truck driver usually walks away uninjured. It is estimated that there are almost half a million tractor-trailer accidents in the United States every year.

Duty of vigilance of semi-trailer drivers

In a typical tractor-trailer accident lawsuit, the defendant is usually the truck driver or the trucking company that employed the driver, since a victim could claim that negligence on the part of the driver or their employer caused the accident. Careless driving practices on the part of the truck driver can cause serious, often fatal, trucking accidents. Tractor-trailer drivers have a duty of care to other motorists and pedestrians who share the road with them. When this duty is violated, then they are considered negligent.

Here are some examples of negligent truck driver behavior that can lead to violations of federal and state laws and regulations:

  • Semi-trailers traveling at excessive speed
  • Tired semi truck drivers falling asleep at the wheel
  • Ignore displayed signage
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)

In addition to trucker negligence, problems with tractor-trailers can also cause trucking accidents. Flat tires, shifting loads, improper vehicle maintenance and overloaded trucks/trailers can all lead to catastrophic accidents. If a faulty part is found to be the cause of the tractor-trailer accident, that manufacturer may also be liable.

Proving trucking company negligence

Semi-trailer accident lawsuits filed for compensation for injuries sustained in a semi-trailer accident often depend on the negligence of the truck driver. To prevail in a tractor-trailer injury lawsuit, the injured party will generally need to show the following:

  • that the tractor-trailer driver owed a duty of care to other vehicles on the road
  • the driver of the truck breached this obligation by an action or omission to act
  • an injury has been sustained
  • the dereliction of duty caused the injury

In some cases, the trucking company owner and manager, the truck owner, the driver’s employer, and their respective insurance companies may be liable after a tractor-trailer accident.

Compensation for injuries and damages resulting from a semi-trailer accident is generally separated into two categories: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages caused by a tractor-trailer accident attempt to compensate the injured victim and/or their family for monetary losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity.

Non-economic damages compensate the victim and/or their family for non-financial and intangible losses, including pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, and punitive damages.

What to do if you are involved in a tractor-trailer accident

After being hit by a tractor-trailer, it is important to protect your legal rights and take certain steps to improve your modifications of a successful injury claim. You can take the following actions after a tractor-trailer accident:

  • First and foremost, never leave the scene of a tractor-trailer accident.
  • Second, call the police. The police officer will be able to obtain all the information from all the parties involved. The police will likely file a police report on the accident. This accident report is often used by the insurance company to confirm events and help access fault. Without an accident report, the entire occurrence can be completely denied by the responsible party.
  • Third, you need to gather all possible information from all parties. Although the police collect information from all parties involved, it is very important that you obtain as much information for your own records.
  • Fourth, take photos of the accident. Photographs are extremely helpful when it comes to explaining how a tractor-trailer accident happened. Photographs can help protect you in the event of a dispute. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle, other vehicles involved in the accident, any injuries you may have sustained, and anything else that may be useful to demonstrate the circumstances of the accident if you wish to file a claim. insurance or take legal action. .
  • Finally, medical treatment is very important if injuries are sustained. Documenting your injuries is extremely important for any semi-trailer accident case you may have.

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