If you have been injured in an accident involving a semi-truck or "big rig," then you may be entitled to compensation if you have suffered any personal injuries and can prove negligence on the part of the driver. Being involved with a lawsuit or legal case involving a big rig is somewhat different than pursuing damages against the private owner of a passenger car. Here is a look at some of the key legal issues that pertain to these massive vehicles.
Unlike the typical auto accident case where a private individual owns the vehicle that is at fault, semi-trucks are generally owned by large commercial trucking firms. This means that you most likely have a case against the trucking firm as well as the driver. The legal concept that allows for this possibility is known as "respondent superior." In cases where the driver is negligent in the course of his or her duties, the employer is usually liable for the accident. It's useful to have the employer of the driver as a defendant in your case, because they have more financial resources.
For example, trucking operators are required by law to have more insurance coverage than the owner of a non-commercial vehicle. This is important because most defendants in auto accident cases will have the minimum insurance coverage demanded by the law. So, if a trucking firm is a defendant in your case, you can often get more damages because of their higher minimums.
Special rules and regulations apply to the drivers of semi-trucks. One of the best ways to strengthen your legal case is to show that one or more of these rules were not followed.
For instance, a number of important regulations involve hours of service. These rules, which are enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, try to ensure that no driver is a danger to others due to tiredness or excessive time operating their vehicle. The regulations require drivers to take rest breaks at certain times and also limit the number of consecutive hours a driver may operate the semi-truck.
Other crucial regulations pertain to the weight limit of the vehicle when it's loaded with cargo and whether the driver was following the intended route. If you can show that any of these regulations were violated, your case has an excellent chance of success.
Obtaining damages in accidents involving big rigs is not something you want to attempt without expert legal advice. For more information on this topic, contact an experienced car accident attorney.Share