If you can establish the existence of an employment relationship between the truck driver and a trucking company or motor carrier, then you may be able to recover from both the driver and the company under a legal theory known as "respondeat superior." Contact an experienced truck accident attorney who can help you determine whether you have a claim.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents
Q: What is a "commercial truck"?
A: A commercial truck is a vehicle used in the course of business and/or for the transport of commercial goods. Examples are 18-wheelers, tractor trailers, tanker trucks, dump trucks, delivery vehicles, semi trucks and other large freight trucks.
Q: How are traffic accidents involving trucks different from accidents involving passenger cars?
A: Accidents involving trucks are typically more catastrophic than accidents involving cars due to the sheer size of a truck. A typical fully loaded large commercial truck can weigh 80,000 pounds or more, while an average passenger automobile weighs approximately 3,000 pounds. Due to this size disparity, and the basic laws of physics, any collision between a commercial truck and another vehicle is likely to result in serious, even fatal, injuries.
Truck Accidents - An Overview
A traffic accident involving a large commercial truck, such as an 18-wheeler or semi truck, can have disastrous consequences. A typical fully loaded large commercial truck can weigh over 80,000 pounds, while an average passenger automobile weighs approximately 3,000 pounds. Because of the sheer size of trucks, any collision between a commercial truck and another vehicle is likely to result in serious, even fatal, injuries. If a truck carrying hazardous chemicals or flammable materials is involved in an accident, the resulting injuries may be even more severe. Secondary injuries, such as burns and respiratory injuries, attributable to the dangerous or toxic cargo can result.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries by bringing a legal claim against the responsible parties. An experienced trucking accident attorney at Seidman Law Offices in Chicago, Illinois, can help determine whether you have a claim.
What to Do if You Are Injured in a Truck Accident
A motor vehicle accident is a serious matter, particularly when it involves a commercial truck. If you or a family member was involved in a truck accident, regardless of whether or not you were injured, you may be wondering what you should do next.
Overview of Federal Trucking Regulations
Those involved in the trucking industry must abide by numerous federal and state regulations. The federal regulations can be found in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (49 C.F.R. §§ 350-399). These regulations govern all vehicles engaged in interstate traffic. These regulations are extensive and can be confusing.
If you or a member of your family has been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, you may be unsure of what your legal options are. You may never have been involved in a lawsuit before, and you may not know what to expect. The following information provides an overview as to how a civil suit normally proceeds.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Commercial trucks such as 18-wheelers, semi trucks, tractor trailers and other large freight carriers tower over the small passenger vehicles they must share the road with. Especially on major highways and at higher speeds, seemingly insignificant driving errors that may occur without consequence where small vehicles are concerned can result in catastrophe when a large truck is involved. If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, determining the cause of the accident may be difficult.
Truck Accidents Resource Links
Share the Road Safely
From the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), dedicated to reducing motor vehicle accidents involving large trucks.
Insurance Information Institute
Includes information on vehicle safety, insurance and more.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
Division of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Contains information about safety programs, regulations and facts related to the prevention of commercial truck and bus accidents, injuries and fatalities.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety / Highway Loss Data Institute
Features vehicle ratings, safety facts and publications.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Division of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Provides crash statistics and articles about traffic accidents and vehicle safety.