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.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), more than 2 million tractor-trailers are registered in the US. Even though these 2 million semi-trucks add up to only 4% of all registered vehicles, they are involved in 8% of all fatal accidents every year.
Unlike a car accident claim, truck crash suits largely involve several parties, including the truck driver, owner, manufacturer, and the owner of the load being transported at the occurrence of the accident. The number of people involved complicates the incident and involves laws that are unique to truck accident cases. In short, trucking companies are always ready to protect their bottom line. They will be prepared with a strong defense to limit their exposure in court.
An experienced Idaho Personal Injury Lawyer can successfully reconstruct the crash to determine the cause of your accident and the responsible parties. Call Lister Frost Injury Lawyers today or request a consultation online to discuss your case.
What Are The Common Causes Of Truck Trailer Accidents?
Even though a truck trailer collision can occur as a result of various reasons, some of the most common causes include:
- Speeding/reckless driving
- Brake problems
- The driver is unfamiliar with the roadway
- Traffic flow issues (congestion)
- Distraction or driver inattention
- Truck driver fatigue
- Improper vehicle or road maintenance
- Inadequate surveillance
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 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 ordinary cars, 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 a Truck Accident?
Tractor-trailer accidents also differ from ordinary car accidents 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 the 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 to 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% 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 a 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.
Why File A Tractor-Trailer Lawsuit?
In the wake of a devastating tractor-trailer crash, victims may sustain severe injuries or the loss of a loved one. If the truck operator, company, or manufacturer is found to be engaging in negligence, they are responsible for the crash; victims may file a truck accident lawsuit to recover the damages.
Compensatory damages aim to compensate the victim(s) for losses sustained because of an accident. Damages in a truck trailer accident suit consist of both economic — such as loss of wages, medical bills, vehicle repairs, and replacements — and non-economic damages — including pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and physical disability or disfigurement.
Plaintiffs in tractor-trailer accident suits might also be eligible to claim punitive damages if the truck company or other entities responsible for the accident acted in oppression, fraud, or malice or if the accident resulted in injury or wrongful death through extreme recklessness. Punitive damages are structured to punish and the responsible parties for misconduct and discourage such behavior in the future.
Idaho Personal Injury Lawyers
Tractor-trailer accidents — whether they involve pedestrians, cyclists, passenger cars, or other tractor-trailers — often tend to be catastrophic. This is mostly due to the sheer size of a tractor-trailer, although other factors such as maneuverability and blind spots also heighten the risk of severe injuries or wrongful death to those who cross its path.
Over the last decades, Lister Frost Injury Attorneys has aggressively and successfully represented hundreds of truck accident victims and their families, obtaining rightful compensation and earning a track record of success against negligent truck operators and companies.
If you have sustained injuries or lost a loved one because of a tractor-trailer accident, an experienced Idaho Personal Injury Lawyer can help you explore your legal options and negotiate the maximum compensation for you.
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) 333-3333 today.
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Comparative Negligence Rule
COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE RULE
Idaho follows the comparative negligence rule, which means that a court will look at both parties’ actions and level of fault in the case of a motorcycle accident.
Even if you were both driving irresponsibly, if the other driver was driving more carelessly, then you may still have a case. It’s important to recognize, however, that any fault on your part will limit the amount of damages which you can receive.
SEE IF YOU HAVE A CASE IMMEDIATELY:
To schedule a consultation about your accident, call our office at (208) 333-3333 or fill out your case evaluation form now.