We all know the feeling of passing a big tractor-trailer on the highway. It’s a little scary to squeeze your tiny car past a huge mammoth of a vehicle. You may wonder if the large truck can even see you. And what if they want to change lanes? How would you escape if they started merging while you are still in the way?
Yes, tractor-trailers are intimidating on the road. And rightfully so. Over 500,000 accidents involving tractor-trailers occur in the United States each year, and they don’t just cause minor scrapes. Plus, if you are involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer, your insurance claim is likely to be quite a bit more complicated than a run-in with another passenger vehicle.
Amount of Damages. This may seem obvious, and many different factors contribute to damages besides the size of a vehicle, but tractor-trailer accidents often rack up a higher amount of damages than regular car accidents.
Their large size can put more force on any car they collide with, and often more cars become involved in an accident involving a tractor-trailer. Accidents involving multiple cars and a tractor-trailer cause a lot of victims to point a lot of fingers. It may be hard to determine where the accident began, and who caused it.
The cargo in the trailer is also important to note. Cargo that escapes the trailer could cause harm in addition to the accident itself. Depending on the type of cargo, that harm may not always be easy to quantify, or it may not appear right away.
Driver and Trailer Standard. Truck drivers are employed and supervised by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They are held to different standards and have more regulations than the average car driver. Those standards vary, too, because there are even separate licenses for commercial drivers.
The tractor-trailer itself also has to be held to certain standards before hitting the road: improper weight, loading, and maintenance can all cause serious accidents.
Parties Involved. Car accidents are relatively simple in comparison. Drivers receive compensation for their damages and losses by filing an insurance claim. Fault only needs to be assigned when damages exceed $10,000 or the accident causes severe or life-sustaining injuries.
Tractor-trailer accidents are not just the responsibility of each driver, and lawsuits involving tractor-trailers are not just a two-way street. Consider the following parties that could be involved in your injury lawsuit:
- The owner of the tractor-trailer
- The driver of the tractor-trailer
- The manufacturer of the tractor-trailer
- The entity that paid to have the cargo transported
- The entity that contracted the tractor-trailer to transport the cargo
- The entity that coordinated the tractor trailer’s route and load
Remember that these parties can come into play no matter who caused the accident. It’s not just as simple as being injured due to another’s negligence – you need to correctly identify the negligent entity before you can go after them or risk having your case upended.
Time and Money. Since more parties have invested their time and money into the tractor-trailer, your lawsuit may take more time to settle. Certain parties may hold an investigation regarding the tractor trailer’s cargo, any possible negligence of the driver or manufacturer, and so on. This will take extra time both in and out of court.
If you or a loved one are involved in an accident involving a tractor-trailer, there are many more intricate, complicated details to sort out. Don’t attempt to go it alone. Be sure to contact an experienced Florida truck accident attorney today to get started on your claim.
About Ben Murphey
A partner at Lawlor, White & Murphey and a distinguished personal injury lawyer, Ben Murphey tries complex disputes that include civil appeals, maritime and admiralty claims, wrongful death, and labor disputes. Mr. Murphey has been recognized for his excellence in the area of personal injury litigation by being rewarded with a 10/10 Avvo Rating and named a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for the last four consecutive years (2011-2014). Mr. Murphey regularly tries cases in state and federal courts around the country, being admitted to practice before all Florida courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.