All roadways can be dangerous places to share with large commercial vehicles. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2015:
- 4,050 “big-rig” trucks were involved in fatal crashes in the U.S. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) counted the total fatalities at 3,852. A breakdown revealed that 16% (616 victims) of these deaths were truck occupants, 69% (2,657) were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, and 15% (579) were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists.
- The FMCSA says another 87,000 people were injured in an 18-wheeler wreck.
- Bus accidents accounted for an additional 261 fatalities.
Commercial Big-Rig and Bus Accident Lawyer Defends Your Full Compensation Rights
The above data amplifies the fact that 18-wheeler and large bus accidents can produce devastating injuries and destroy property so much more than a car-on-car wreck. The greatest difference between a common car accident and a big-rig wreck is the extent of the victim’s injuries. A fully loaded semi weighs as much as 80,000 lbs. Compare that with the weight of an average car – 3,000 pounds.
This illustrates why truckers and their employers must carry insurance with very large liability limits. It takes much more money to make injured truck accident victims whole again, when that is even possible. And when truck or bus driver negligence is present – or that of their employer, maintenance company, or manufacturer of a defective part – injured victims may be entitled to compensation to pay for the following damages:
- Medical bills – including all expenses arising from the accident
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death if the accident took a beloved family member.
When Trucking Negligence Justifies Your Fight for Rightful Compensation
“Respondeat superior” is a common law term which means, among other things, that employers are responsible for the actions of their employees. So if a trucking company negligently hires a truck driver, and doesn’t properly confirm the prospective driver’s bona-fides, that may be negligent hiring. Another example of employer negligence can involve a trucking company making drivers perform tasks they are not qualified for, such as a driver licensed for only a standard 18-wheeler rig being “asked” to get behind the wheel of one carrying hazardous materials. Assigning a driver to drive vehicles they are not licensed or trained to operate is clearly negligent employer behavior.
But the leading cause of truck-against-auto wrecks is from overworked truckers, which also can be tied to the trucking company. Legally, it’s the duty of trucking companies to make certain their drivers keep a safe schedule. But many tacitly ignore this duty by “encouraging” (or outright forcing) their drivers to stay on the road longer than the FMCSA allows. When it causes a wreck, injured victims deserve compensation from the trucking company.
More Reasons why Truck Wrecks are so Dangerous – and Expensive
- Proving negligence – In truck accident claims and cases, many parties may be involved other than the driver, such as the trucking company and/or a manufacturer of a defective part that caused the wreck. But collecting evidence may be difficult after truck wrecks since records and other evidence can be insufficient, incomplete, or purposefully falsified.
- Trucking insurance – We’ve already told you about the mandatory requirement for trucking companies and drivers to have very high insurance coverage limits. Often when driver and company negligence is present, your opponent may be TWO insurance companies. Dealing with multiple carriers – who are in the business of taking in premiums and NOT paying out claims – can be a nightmare. Insurance adjusters are also a danger because they represent the insurance company’s interests and not yours (even though they sound like they are on your side). Is it any wonder that they typically make settlement offers that couldn’t come close to covering all of your losses? Your lawyer will stand between you and these adjusters.
All this should tell you that your adversaries in your truck accident case have the resources to litigate their cases seemingly unendingly. They’re artists at making juries skeptical of many truck accident victims’ claims. This is why you must uncover the evidence needed to hold a negligent trucking company, driver, or defective part manufacturer accountable for your injuries. And you should not delay having a seasoned truck or bus accident lawyer begin investigating your case.
Clearly, trucking accident cases aren’t simple matters. There’s so much more at stake than just showing a judge your bills to receive full and fair compensation. At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, our big-rig and large bus injury attorneys aggressively investigate and work tirelessly to fight for you and the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at 1-800-444-5000 or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case.