If you’ve been watching the news, you might have already heard that big truck accidents are, unfortunately, on the rise. And because of the comparative sizes of the vehicles involved, these accidents can be absolutely devastating for drivers and those who are with them in passenger vehicles. If you’ve been involved in such an accident, you should know that there is legal recourse available that can help with your medical bills (and other accident-associated costs, such as lost wages). But this aspect of personal injury law can be opaque at best. To get you started, here are five of the top questions people ask about big truck accidents, all answered in terms you can understand without a law degree.
- What Counts as a Commercial Vehicle in These Cases?
If you’re going through one of these cases, you’re likely to hear the term “commercial vehicle” thrown around quite a bit. What does it mean, exactly? Technically, it could refer to any vehicle used in the course of a business, but in most contexts it’s used to refer more specifically to a vehicle that requires the driver to have a special commercial driver’s license, such as a big rig, bus or cement truck.
- What Are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
Trucking accidents can be complex because they’re usually caused by more than just one thing. The most common combination involves the inherent challenges of a large vehicle — limits in braking, visibility, turning, etc. — combined with the drivers of passenger vehicles not fully understanding those limitations. So while commercial truck drivers should educate themselves as much as possible on how to handle the challenges that come along with driving such a vehicle, regular drivers can also help to prevent car accidents by learning more about trucks and how they operate.
- What Party Should I Sue If I’m Hurt in a Truck Accident?
Truck accident lawsuits often get more complicated than the average auto injury lawsuit because more than one party may be determined to be at fault for the accident. And moreover, it can sometimes be tricky to determine where the legal responsibility lies even if fault for the accident is clear (corporate responsibility for an individual driver’s negligence, for example). This is one of many reasons you’ll almost certainly want to hire an attorney to guide you in which parties need to be held accountable.
- What Will Happen If I Was Partially at Fault for the Accident?
There’s no way to guarantee how your shared fault will affect any settlements in question, but the first thing to investigate is if your state uses the policy of “comparative negligence” or “contributory negligence.” It’s most likely the former, which means that if you were less than half at fault, you can still recover a scaled settlement. If it’s the latter, you won’t be eligible to recover anything if you contributed to the accident in any way.
- What Type of Attorney Should I Hire to Represent Me?
Because the law is so vast that no lawyer can cover it all, you’ll want to make sure you’re working with experienced personal injury lawyers throughout the process; the more experience they have working with big truck accidents specifically, the better.
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