Semi-trucks play a vital role in our economy and our daily lives, but there is no argument that they pose significant dangers to other drivers on the road. If you have been injured in an accident with a tractor-trailer, a Boca Raton semi-truck accident lawyer can fight for your rights and help you get the compensation you need.
The Complexities of Semi-Truck Accidents
Semi-truck accidents are typically more complex than private passenger vehicle accidents for various reasons, but primarily because of their size and weight. The average semi-truck weighs 35,000 pounds when empty and up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. They are 72 feet long, 8.5 feet wide, and 13.5 tall. By comparison, the average passenger vehicle weighs just over 4,000 pounds and is 14.7 feet long and 5.8 feet wide.
Because they are so large and heavy, semi-trucks require greater distance to stop and are more difficult to maneuver and handle. They are more prone to rollovers. In the event of an accident, they exert far greater force than your average passenger vehicle. This means that the risk of serious injuries and death dramatically increases for other drivers involved in the accident.
The size of the truck aside, some of the other reasons why semi-truck accidents are so complex include the following:
- Multiple parties. There are more parties involved in truck accident cases than passenger vehicle accidents, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the manufacturer of the truck or truck parts, the party who performed any maintenance or repairs, and the party who loaded the truck. While it is unlikely that all of these parties will be involved in your case, it is not uncommon for accident victims to have to pursue more than one party for their claim.
- Multiple vehicles. Because of their size and weight, many semi-truck accidents are multi-vehicle accidents. This can complicate the claim because there may be multiple injured people pursuing the same pool of assets for compensation.
- Trucking is a regulated industry. Truck drivers and trucking companies are subject to state and federal regulations. These regulations cover things like maintenance requirements, limitations on the number of hours a driver can be on duty, and drug and alcohol testing. Violations of these regulations can be powerful evidence of negligence, but understanding how these regulations apply to your case requires the involvement of a lawyer.
In many instances, semi-truck accident victims are not sure what happened, let alone what caused the accident or who is responsible. A Boca Raton semi-truck accident lawyer can help you determine what happened and find a way forward.
Semi-Truck Accidents Have Unique Causes
Most car accident claims are the result of driver negligence such as driving while distracted, speeding, or failing to obey traffic signs or signals. While this is also true for many semi-truck accidents, there are often factors involved that require special consideration. Some of the causes that are unique to semi-truck accidents include the following:
- Mechanical failures. Semi-trucks spend thousands of hours on the road every year, which means that they have much greater maintenance needs than the typical passenger vehicle. Unfortunately, trucking companies can be negligent in making repairs or performing routine maintenance. Many truck accidents are caused by mechanical failures such as tire blowouts, brake failures, and trailer hitch issues.
- Driving while fatigued. Drivers spend long hours behind the wheel whenever they are on duty. And while federal regulations limit the number of hours that drivers can spend driving, the reality is that truck drivers are more likely to be driving while drowsy than other drivers. Just nodding off for a second can result in a catastrophic accident.
- Overloaded or unbalanced cargo. A loaded truck handles very differently from an overloaded truck. A truck that is overloaded or is carrying an unbalanced load may not be able to stop in time in order to avoid an accident or the driver may otherwise lose control of the truck more easily.
- Inadequate training. Driving a semi-truck requires a specific skill set that can only be earned through training. Unfortunately, trucking companies do not always ensure that their drivers have sufficient training to operate their trucks safely.
Identifying the cause of your accident can be extremely challenging. An experienced Boca Raton semi-truck accident lawyer can determine the cause of your accident so that you can get the compensation you deserve.
Understanding Vicarious Liability
Many semi-truck accident victims do not realize that the trucking company may be held liable even though the accident was the truck driver’s fault. This is because of the legal principle known as vicarious liability where an employer is held liable for the actions of their employee, so long as their employee was engaged in the performance of their job. While there are some exceptions to this rule, the fact is that in most cases, you may have a claim against both the driver and the trucking company.
One way that trucking companies try to avoid liability is by hiring drivers as independent contractors. This can complicate your case considerably. If the truck driver in your case claims to be an independent contractor, you should contact a Boca Raton semi-truck accident lawyer immediately.
How a Boca Raton Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
In addition to providing legal counsel, an experienced Boca Raton semi-truck accident lawyer can help in the following ways:
- They can conduct a thorough investigation, verifying the facts surrounding the accident, identifying the cause of the accident, and gathering the evidence you will need.
- They can handle all of the communications surrounding your case, including speaking with the insurance companies and the various parties involved.
- They can help you get a rental car, coordinate your medical treatment, and help you make whatever arrangements you may need to get back on your feet.
- They can negotiate your claim and fight for fair compensation for your injuries and other losses.
Talk to a Boca Raton Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer at the Grife Law Firm Today
The sooner you call, the sooner we can help. If you have been injured in a semi-truck accident, contact us by calling 561-998-0770 to schedule a free consultation.
Turn To A Boca Raton Boca Raton Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer Attorney At The Grife Law Firm
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