Truck accidents are some of the most horrific crashes that take place. The size and weight of these massive vehicles often result in catastrophic injuries or death. Truck accident cases are often more complex than other types of vehicle accidents because of all the different factors, such as the possibility of there being more than one liable party responsible for the victim’s damages.
How Dangerous Are Commercial Trucks?
Many motorists are aware that truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries and deaths. The huge size of these vehicles allows them to plow through regular passenger vehicles, crushing these vehicles and the occupants inside. Although truck accidents account for less than 5 percent of the entire number of vehicle crashes that occur each year, they are responsible for almost 20 percent of the total number of motor vehicle deaths. Even more alarming is that 75 percent of those killed are in the passenger vehicle and not in the truck.
There are steps that vehicle drivers can take to help minimize the risk of being a victim of a truck accident. These include:
- Avoiding abrupt lane changes
- Avoid weaving in and out of traffic around trucks or any other action that could cause the truck driver to have to suddenly slow down or stop their vehicle
- Be aware at all times that trucks have several blind spots
- Give the truck plenty of room, especially when traveling uphill
- Keep a safe distance from the truck
- Make sure to always use your turn signals when you are passing
- Watch out when the truck driver is executing a turn, which is typically very wide and often puts the truck in the middle of the road
When the Truck Driver Causes the Crash
In a regular car accident, there is usually one at-fault party – the driver who caused the crash and this is whose insurance company the victim will file their injury claim. However, with truck accidents, there is often more than one party who is deemed liable for the losses the victim suffers because of their accident injuries.
A truck accident lawyer in Virginia knows that when the truck driver’s actions or behaviors caused the crash, the trucking company he or she works for is also liable for the crash. This is because of the legal doctrine knows respondeat superior, which is translated as “let the master answer” in Latin. Under this doctrine, the employer is liable for any wrongful acts that an employee committed within the scope of their job, as long as the acts were unintentional. For example, a trucking company would be liable if their truck driver caused a crash because they were traveling over the speed limit.
There may be other parties who could be liable for the crash, depending on the circumstances of the crash. If the truck accident was caused by overloaded or improperly loaded cargo, the freight company that loaded the truck could be held liable for the crash.
If the accident was caused by a defective truck part, such as a defective tire, then the company that manufactured that part could be held liable for the crash.
In some cases, there are multiple at-fault parties who can be held liable for all the damages that truck accident victims have suffered. An attorney will be able to evaluate the accident and determine who should be named in any civil action by victims or their families.
Contact a Virginia Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, contact a Virginia truck accident attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have against the responsible party or parties. At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, our legal team has successfully advocated for many truck accident victims and their families, and we understand how complex these cases can be. Our attorneys are available to meet and discuss the details of your case and how we may be able to help.
For more information about truck accidents in Virginia, please download our free guide.