Freeways today are populated with numerous different types of vehicles. Along with cars, SUVs and minivans, large trucks and tractor-trailers often travel up and down the freeway transporting goods to local stores and warehouses. Although it is normally safe to travel the roadways alongside these big rigs, often accidents do occur.
Truck and tractor-trailer accidents can occur for a number of different reasons. These reasons include: speeding, tailgating, improper lane changes, failing to signal, driver fatigue, improper merging, improper passing, worn tires, worn brakes, driver inattentiveness, defective safety equipment, etc. When an accident occurs involving a truck or tractor-trailer, the results can be substantially worse than an accident involving smaller vehicles. Look at the Federal Tractor Trailer Accident Statistics to understand how prevalent these accidents are.
Truck and Tractor-Trailer Accidents and Liability
There are some special issues which may arise when a truck or tractor-trailer accident is involved which is normally not present with other types of vehicles. Firstly, there may be a number of different causes of and factors which play a role in tractor-trailer accidents. The truck driver may not have been properly trained before going out onto the open road and causing property damage and injury to others. Furthermore, the tractor-trailer may not have been loaded and secured properly causing it to be dangerous to operate. Additionally, tractor-trailer drivers are often expected to meet a strict timeline when arriving at certain destinations and may be fatigued. Moreover, on occasion, a rig operator may be under the influence of alcohol of drugs; in fact, the incidence of being under the influence of illicit drugs while operating a vehicle may be slightly higher among truck drivers than it is among the population of other drivers on the road.
When trying in initiate a lawsuit against the driver of a truck or tractor-trailer if you are involved in an accident, it is important to note that the trucking industry is heavily regulated, with a number of federal, state, and industry wide regulations. Therefore, it would be wise to retain the counsel of a personal injury attorney who is familiar with these regulations. Additionally, there are a number of parties who can be held liable in a trucking accident. These parties include: The truck driver, the trucking company, the company that loaded the truck, contractors, and third-party employers.
Truck or Tractor-Trailer Accidents: What to do Next
If you or someone you know is involved in an accident with a truck or tractor trailer, you will want to take many of the same step you would if you were involved in a car accident such as: getting pictures or the scene and the vehicles after the accident, retaining all records of medical expenses and medical reports, gathering the names and contact information of witnesses to the accident, and retaining a copy of the police report. Because the truck driver or tractor-trailer operator is operating the vehicle under the conditions of employment, simply getting the truck driver’s insurance information may not be enough. You will want to get the name of the trucking company as well. Additionally, it may be important to find out whether the truck was being operated in compliance with all industry standards and regulations. For these reasons, it is important to retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney nyc represent you on your claim.