An Obama Administration report recently predicted that, within the next few decades, autonomous vehicles may completely replace truck drivers. But until that day, truck injury lawyers will stand up for the rights of injured victims in court, because filing a civil lawsuit is the only way a victim can obtain compensation for an injury.
In most cases, a personal injury lawyer can recover damages. Damages typically include compensation for both economic damages, such as lost wages and medical bills, and noneconomic damages, such as loss of enjoyment in life and mental suffering. In particularly severe cases, punitive damages may be available as well.
Typically, truck drivers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, and all other commercial operators are common carriers, and as such, they have a much higher duty of care than non-commercial drivers. This higher responsibility applies not only to their own passengers and cargo, but to other people who share the road as well, such as pedestrians, motorcycle riders, and other motorists.
Types of Injuries
Fully-loaded large trucks weigh over 80,000 pounds and can usually carry over 250 gallons of diesel fuel. Therefore, truck accident injury lawyers trusts often obtain compensation for:
- Severe Burns: Gasoline and diesel fuel burn at different temperatures, so truck crash injury victims can sustain third or even fourth-degree burns, and these wounds usually require skin grafts and other aggressive procedures during emergency surgery, as well as long term physical rehabilitation that is often both painful and expensive.
- Broken Bones: Due to the weight of the truck and the nature of these collisions, victims are often pinned under the truck’s wreckage, and the force essentially crushes their bones.
- Neck Injuries: High-speed crashes with trucks often leads to serious neck injuries. The neck is the part of the spine doctors call the “cervical spine.” Our necks have 7 vertebrae and these vertebrae are supported by discs. Truck crashes often lead to herniated discs or bulging discs which oftentimes requires repairing through neck surgery.
Because of the serious nature of these injuries, truck accidents have a very high fatality rate.
Long-haul truck drivers regularly drive across different states, making it difficult for personal injury lawyers to obtain an accurate picture of their driving records. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration keeps track of all these records through the Safety Measurement System. In addition to crash records, safety equipment violations, speeding tickets, and other such infractions, the SMS also considers HOS (hours of service) compliance, to ensure the driver was not fatigued. Truck drivers are regulated by how many hours they can legally drive.
Third Party Liability
According to the respondeat superior rule, a lawsuit can also hold the truck company liable for the victim’s damages, so long as the driver was an employee who was acting within the course and scope of employment.
Most all trucks contain an Event Data Recorder, which is basically like the black box in a commercial airplane. The EDR captures data like vehicle speed, steering angle, and other information that a truck accident lawyer can use to prove negligence. Moreover, many trucks have tamper-proof e-Logs that electronically store HOS data, as well as small in-dash video cameras that continually monitor truck drivers. A good lawyer will know how to get this information and how to use it.
Truck accidents are different to car accidents. Truck accidents involve more rules and are subject to rules that are governed by the federal government. That is why a truck accident needs a personal injury lawyer who understands the rules and how to apply them.