Tractor-trailer drivers, bus drivers and tow truck or heavy equipment operators face the same dangers from negligent, reckless and drunk or drugged drivers as everyone else on the road. In some ways, they face even greater risks for suffering injuries or getting killed in wrecks because their vehicles are so easy to hit and they often find themselves outside those vehicles and working on highway shoulders.
- Avoid Wrecks: Drive Like a Commercial Truck Driver
- The Dangers of Defective Truck Parts
- What Is Negligence?
The first thought many people have when they learn about a crash involving a large truck or other type of commercial vehicle is “What did the truck or bus driver do wrong?” The reality, however, is that drivers of cars, SUVs and even motorcycles cause many of those wreck. Improper lane changes, dangerous merges and driving under the influence explain many of the collisions, and at-fault drivers always deserve to be held accountable for the damage and injuries or losses of life they cause.
The key for an injured truck or bus driver is to show that someone else’s negligence or recklessness set the stage for the harm they suffered. Under Virginia law, negligence is defined in more than one place as a “failure to abide by or fulfill a duty or responsibility.” In traffic crash cases, this is interpreted to mean an at-fault driver failed to exercise reasonable care or ordinary care in controlling his or her vehicle, obeying traffic signals or yielding right of way.
Recklessness behind the wheel in Virginia has the more ominous legal definition of driving “at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.” It typically applies when an at-fault driver exceeded the posted speed limit by more than 25 mph or was impaired in some way.
So, to answer the question posed in the title, a commercial truck or bus driver who is harmed by someone else on the road can file an insurance claim or civil lawsuit. The negligent or reckless driver who caused the wreck should pay victims’ medical bills and lost wages, and also compensate victims for inflicting pain and suffering. Partnering with an experienced Virginia truck accident attorney will help make sure that happens.
Note, too, that single-vehicle wrecks attributed to defective tires or brakes also give large truck and bus drivers grounds for seeking insurance settlements or jury awards. Part manufacturers can be found liable for selling products that have a high likelihood of breaking or failing to function as designed.