Semi Truck Accidents

18-Wheeler Accident: Proving Liability

Accidents that involve a commercial truck, like an 18 wheeler, are often much more serious than accidents between normal passenger vehicles. This is because a fully loaded “big-rig” can weigh as much as 25 times more than an average sedan. Because the weight difference can be so large, the physical impact and effects of a collision with a smaller vehicle can lead to much more serious, and sometimes fatal, injuries.

When someone is injured in a collision with an 18-wheeler or other large commercial vehicles, they may be entitled to recover monetarily for the damages suffered as a result of the accident. To begin the process of obtaining this compensation, legal claims must be brought against any party responsible for the accident. Meeting with an attorney that is experienced in 18-wheeler and other commercial truck accidents is an important step in determining who should be held responsible for the damages received.

Proving Liability

Having an experienced attorney can mean the difference in receiving all entitled compensation when in an accident with a commercial 18-wheeler. As with other motor vehicle accidents, proving that the defendant showed “negligence” which led to the accident that caused the injuries or fatality. There is a basic process to determining if the defendant can be held responsible for damages due to negligence.

  1. It must be proven that the defendant was responsible for applying a reasonable amount of care to avoid causing injuries. (Such as: drivers are required to show care on the road to prevent accidents and injuries.)
  2. It must then be proven that the defendant did NOT apply this proper care that was required.
  3. It must then be proven that the failure to provide this degree of care that caused the accident which led to the injury.

There are circumstances where the driver of the 18-Wheeler may not be held responsible for the accident due to certain considerations that are given to 18-wheeler drivers who are involved in the accident. For instance:

  • If the accident was the result of the 18-wheeler jackknifing, and the defendant can prove the jackknife was the result of unforeseen slippery road conditions, or if the driver was forced to make a sudden turn due to another motorist on the road or to avoid a stalled vehicle then they may not be held “negligent.”
  • If the accident happened while turning the vehicle. Large vehicles like 18 wheelers often need to use two lanes to make a right hand turn. There have been cases where the driver of the non-commercial vehicle moves into the area being used to turn the truck which leads to the collision and the driver was not held negligent.

Having an attorney that is experienced in these types of accidents will assure that you have covered all possibilities and hold the correct parties responsible for the accident. Our 18-Wheeler Accident attorneys are equipped to determine liability, and determine who can be held responsible for your accident.