A traffic accident involving a commercial truck, such as an eighteen-wheeler or other large freight carrier, can be much more catastrophic than an ordinary car accident. A typical fully-loaded large commercial truck can weigh 80,000 pounds or more, while an average passenger automobile weighs approximately 3,000 pounds. Because of this size disparity, and due to the basic laws of physics, any collision between a commercial truck and another vehicle is likely to result in serious, even fatal, injuries. While statistics show that truck drivers are generally much more careful on the road than automobile drivers, and thankfully the incidence of fatal crashes involving trucks and other large vehicles has declined in recent years, large truck crashes still accounted for 5,350 fatalities and 133,000 injuries in 2001.
The unique danger posed by commercial truck accidents can be made worse depending on the nature of the freight the truck is carrying. For example, if hazardous or flammable materials are on board, secondary injuries attributable to such dangerous cargo can result, including burns and respiratory injuries.
In the event that you or a loved one is 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. This article will provide an overview of such a claim.
Proving Your Case
As is true in most personal injury cases involving vehicle accidents, the primary legal theory of liability in commercial truck accident cases is "negligence." In a nutshell, a person or business entity (the defendant) is negligent if they failed in their duty to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances, and the plaintiff's injuries resulted from that failure. So, a person injured in a commercial truck accident must show that:
Defendant (driver, trucking company, or other party) owed the plaintiff the duty to exercise a reasonable degree of care to avoid injury, under the circumstances. This element is almost always automatically met, by virtue of the fact that all drivers on the road owe a legal duty of reasonable care to fellow drivers, passengers, and pedestrians; Defendant failed to exercise such reasonable care, or in legal terms "breached" the duty of reasonable care; Defendant's failure to exercise reasonable care was the cause of injury suffered by plaintiff.
If you are involved in an accident where a commercial truck driver was at fault, you may be entitled to receive legal compensation for any physical, emotional and financial losses that resulted from the accident. This is a complex area of the law because its is always difficult to place a dollar value on injuries that include death, paralysis, disfigurement, emotional distress, pain and suffering, costs of medical treatment, lost income, and loss of earning capacity.
Any traffic accident involving a commercial truck is likely to result in serious physical injury and extensive property damage. In the event that you or a loved one are involved in such an accident, after receiving proper medical care you contact the Law Office of Papa and Gipe to ensure that any potential legal claim is properly assessed and that your rights are protected. Especially in light of legal deadlines for filing lawsuits, consulting with an Papa and Gipe as soon as possible is the best way to protect your rights.
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