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Tractor Trailer Accidents: An Unusual Beast


If you have been injured in a tractor trailer accident in Idaho Falls or a surrounding area, it can be difficult to focus on anything other than the pain you are experiencing as a result of your injuries. While no amount of money can make the pain go away, compensation from a personal injury lawsuit can alleviate the financial stress that can plague accident victims and can help you pay for the financial costs associated with your injuries. The personal injury lawyers at Litster Frost are dedicated to fighting on your behalf to recover compensation for the pain you have had to endure due to a negligent truck driver.

Why are Tractor Trailer Accidents so Different from the Average Car Accident?

With Idaho Falls being so close to both Interstate 15 and Sage Junction, a major Idaho port of entry (a location in which tractor trailers and other commercial vehicles must pass through to enter the state from certain parts of Montana or Wyoming), tractor trailers are ever present in the city.

Accidents involving a tractor trailer can be produce devastating injuries or even death–statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggest that almost 10 percent of all fatal accidents in Idaho are the result of tractor trailer collisions. Due to the sheer size of a tractor trailer, truck accidents can be much more severe and produce far more catastrophic injuries than would a normal vehicle in a similar collision.

Injuries resulting from a tractor trailer accident are often far more severe due to the monumental weight of a tractor trailer combined with a reduced braking ability compared to a normal passenger vehicle. Because tractor trailers are more difficult to stop than a regular automobile, a tractor trailer might collide with a car at a higher speed than would a normal vehicle in a similar accident. Tractor trailers are also much less stable than an ordinary car, which leads to a greater likelihood of a rollover collision. Injuries associated with these accidents can last a lifetime, or can even be fatal.

Tractor trailer accidents also tend to produce far more damage to a vehicle than would a similar accident with a regular automobile due to the monumental weight of the tractor trailer–a semi-truck can haul as much as 80,000 pounds. As a result of this weight colliding with an ordinary vehicle, tractor trailer accidents result in a vehicle getting crushed in a collision more often than the typical car accident.

Who is Responsible for Injuries Related to My Accident?

Tractor trailer accidents also differ from an ordinary car accident in that there are many more parties that may have legal responsibility for your injuries. These parties include:

  • The truck driver: the individual who was operating the tractor trailer at the time of the accident may be held liable for any injuries that result from negligent operation of the truck.
  • The employer of the truck driver: if the driver who was responsible for your accident was hired by an employer, then the employer may be held vicariously liable, meaning that the corporation who hired the truck driver will be responsible for injuries caused by its truck driver’s negligent operation of the tractor trailer.
  • The tractor trailer company: if a tractor trailer company leases a truck to a driver, then the company will be vicariously liable for injuries caused by a truck driver who causes an accident while driving negligently or recklessly.
  • The manufacturer of the vehicle: if your accident was caused by a driver operating a faulty tractor trailer, then you may be able to bring a claim against the truck’s manufacturer, as well.

While proving vicarious liability can be a complicated battle to fight, it is actually a benefit to you if you have been severely injured by a tractor trailer, as an employer’s or tractor trailer company’s insurance policy is generally far larger than the policy of an average truck driver. A personal injury attorney can put the pieces together to form a vicarious liability action and fight for the maximum amount of damages to cover expenses related your accident.

What Hazards do Truck Drivers Face on the Road?

Tractor trailer drivers face multiple difficulties while on the road that can make them prone to being involved in an accident. Such hazards include:

  • Long hours, lack of sleep, and demanding delivery schedules: With the long drives and short time allowance that tractor trailer drivers are subject to, it is no surprise that driver fatigue is one of the most common hazards that truck drivers face. In fact, studies have shown that 13 percent of tractor trailer collisions involved truck drivers who were fatigued at the time of their accident. Although federal and state regulations have been put into place requiring a certain amount of time to rest before driving and instituting maximum hours which a tractor trailer driver can continuously operate his or her vehicle, truck drivers continue to face unreasonably demanding delivery schedules from both trucking companies and customers of those companies which are awaiting cargo. This near-constant pressure to arrive as early as possible can cause tractor trailer drivers to disregard the regulations and drive while fatigued to make it to their destination on time. A careful investigation of whether a driver has abided by regulations for driving must be undertaken when bringing an personal injury action following an accident involving a tractor trailer.
  • Unfamiliar roads: Truck drivers are often sent on trips to transport their loads which can take days. Even with the use of GPS technology, drivers are often unfamiliar with the routes that they are driving on, which can be dangerous to local drivers who are familiar with certain nuances of the roads on which they are traveling–while a native Idahoan will likely know where sharp curves, frequent traffic, and blind corners lie on Idaho’s busiest roads, a tractor trailer driver is frequently unaware of such dangers, which can lead to accidents.
  • Instability of tractor trailers: Tractor trailer drivers must be especially cautious when loading cargo into their vehicle, as large loads which are packed improperly can lead to a high level of instability for a truck driver to manage. Because tractor trailers are tall and narrow, they are more unstable than the average motor vehicle. This can easily lead to rollover accidents or jackknife accidents (an accident in which the trailer slides out to the side of the truck, forming an “L” shape), either of which can produce catastrophic injuries for a vehicle in the tractor trailer’s path.

Don’t Fight this Battle Alone–We’re Here to Help!

If you have been injured in an accident involving a tractor trailer, then you don’t have to wade through this alone. Personal injury cases can be a complicated beast, and the possibility of multiple responsible parties in a tractor trailer accident can make the process all the more confusing. The personal injury attorneys at Litster Frost are standing by to vigorously fight on your behalf to gain the compensation that you deserve. Don’t try to take on a personal injury case by yourself–let the experts handle your case so that you can focus on what’s most important: healing. To schedule a consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys, call (208) 333-3330 today.