Why Are Commercial Trucking Accidents And Car Accidents Different In Personal Injury Law?
Although there is a general decrease in motor vehicle accidents over the last couple years, serious and potentially fatal injuries caused by commercial truck accidents are on the rise. Weighing between 70,000-80,000 pounds and needing approximately 30% more stopping distance, commercial trucks can cause severe and permanent injury.
Parties to the Suit
Trucking accidents differ from car accidents in the potential parties to the suit. Depending on the accident, parties could include the driver, the owner of the trucking company, the manufacturer of the truck, and perhaps other related companies, like the company that owns the contents of the load. When these companies get involved, they each will have their own lawyers and insurance companies getting involved as well. Due to the complexity of such matters, please consult an experienced attorney if you have been in an accident involving a truck.
Respondent superior is a doctrine that holds an employer liable for actions made by an employee in the course and scope of employment. If you have been in an accident with a commercial truck, likely you can pursue litigation against the driver’s employer under this doctrine.
In order to prove negligence of another party, a Plaintiff must prove
- The other party owed a duty to Plaintiff;
- The party breached that duty; and
- That breach caused
- Plaintiff’s injury.
It could be that the driver was negligent in the way he or she was driving: failing to maintain a proper distance, driving too quickly, etc. It could be that the driver had a bad driving history and the employer was negligent in hiring or entrusting the driver with the truck. It could be that the employer was negligent by failing to give the driver proper training. It could be that the employer was negligent in supervising the driver or maintaining the truck properly. It could be that the manufacturer was negligent in manufacturing the truck, or a supplier was negligent in supplying certain parts of the truck. In order to investigate the matter properly and establish the necessary elements to prove negligence, please consult an attorney.
Negligence Per Se
Because of the potential risk with commercial trucking, many laws have been established for the industry regarding commercial driver’s licensing, how long a driver can drive in one shift, the maximum weight permitted on a truck, restrictions on trucks that carry hazardous materials, restrictions on training and hiring, and maintaining the trucks. If, in causing the accident, these specific rules were broken, drivers and companies can not only be liable for negligence but negligence per se. If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, please consult an experienced attorney to explore all your options in pursuing a remedy for your injuries.
Damages will vary greatly depending on seriousness of injury. Unfortunately, with trucking accidents, the risk of injury is much higher and the seriousness of injury is much higher as well. The victim of a commercial truck accident can collect different types of damages. Actual, measurable damages include things like medical expenses and lost wages. Then there is another category of damages that are more difficult to measure that includes things like pain and suffering and loss of companionship. These special damages are much more prevalent in trucking accidents because often the injury is permanent, with scarring, chronic pain, and mental and emotional repercussions.
Statute of Limitations
In the state of Ohio, the statute of limitations for auto accidents is two years from the date of the accident. Please don’t wait to consult an experienced attorney regarding your accident. Our attorneys at Soroka & Associates can assist you in trying to obtain relief for your injuries.