We can all understand why a collision between a passenger car and a massive semi-truck can lead to catastrophic injuries and death for those in the car. The size, weight, and height of a big rig all play a big role in why such accidents usually cause more serious injuries than collisions between two cars.
But the scope of the injuries and damage involved in tractor-trailer accidents aren’t the only thing that distinguishes them from car accidents. In auto accidents, the issues of fault and liability, as well as who should be on the hook for damages can often be relatively straightforward. However, these matters are much more complex in semi-truck accidents and require deep knowledge of rules, regulations, and other technical matters that are unique to the trucking industry. If you’ve been in an accident involving a tractor-trailer or other truck and are looking to retain a lawyer, it is crucial that you find a semi-truck lawyer who has specific and extensive experience with big rig accidents.
Unique Semi-Truck Issues Your Lawyer Needs to Understand
Three examples of the kinds of truck-specific issues an experienced semi-truck lawyer will be intimately familiar with are:
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations. The FMCSA, as it is known, is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and issues and enforces strict regulations governing commercial trucks. These regulations require carriers, operators, and owners to adhere to numerous rules, including hours of service, speed, maintenance, types of materials hauled, and weight restrictions. Because these regulations are federal, and because many trucking accidents involve out-of-state carriers, many tractor trailer lawsuits are filed in federal court.
- Vicarious Liability. “Vicarious liability” is the legal term used to impose liability on a person or company for another person’s conduct if they have care, control, and oversight over that person. This concept is most often seen in the employer-employee context. Truck accidents raise all kinds of vicarious liability issues, including the driver’s status (employee versus contractor) and whether the driver was acting within the scope of his employment when the accident occurred.
- Multiple Parties. In an “ordinary” motor vehicle accident, there are generally just two parties: the injured driver and the at-fault driver. The defendant is generally represented by his or her insurance company, and the accident victim has his or her own lawyer. While these are by no means simple cases, they don’t approach the complexity of a tractor trailer collision lawsuit. Semi-truck crashes generally involve multiple at-fault parties and their insurers, which adds several layers of complexity to the case. Depending on the details of the case, the accident victim could bring suit against a host of defendants, including the driver, the carrier, and the manufacturer of a defective part on the truck itself.
James “Jim” Nugent: Your Connecticut Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyer
I have worked hard to build a reputation as one of Connecticut’s premier lawyers advocating for accident victims’ rights, including the rights of those injured in collisions with tractor-trailers. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a big rig, please call me today at (203) 795-1111 for a free consultation.