Chances are, if you are a driver, you are on the road with truckers. You likely understand that an impact with a vehicle of substantial size is likely to cause more severe and dangerous injuries than your typical car accident. If you have already experienced an accident involving a commercial truck, you may be wondering what steps to take next.
Informing yourself is usually a good start. By understanding some simple facts about trucking accidents, you can be prepared if you try for compensation for damages that occur as the result of another driver’s negligence. In Kentucky, the knowledge about who might be responsible can also potentially help you win your case.
An accident in a class of its own
A collision with a tractor-trailer is more likely to cause damages than your typical car accident just for the simple fact of physics. Commercial trucks are larger and heavier, and any impact with the truck is likely to cause injuries to those involved. Sometimes commercial trucks haul dangerous chemicals, which can add to the effects of an accident. Truckers and trucking companies are aware of this fact, and they do take steps to prevent crashes. However, even in a best-case scenario, accidents can happen.
A host of potential defendants
If you have been the victim in a trucking accident, you may be wondering who is at fault. The driver is a possible defendant, but the trucking company can be held responsible too, depending on the relationship between the driver and the company. If the driver is an independent contractor, he may bear more responsibility, but if the company controls the driver and considers him an employee, the company may ultimately be responsible.
Another potential defendant is the shipping company, especially if the accident caused hazardous materials to spill and increase the damages, and if those dangerous chemicals were not revealed to the trucking company.
Demonstrating your case for damages
After the accident, if you are hurt and require compensation for damages, you will need to prove your case. That is, you will have to show that the accident was not a result of unavoidable conditions. You will have to show that the defendant owed the plaintiff a reasonable duty of care to avoid the accident, that the defendant breached that duty, and that the breach was the cause of the injury you suffered.
In the case of a distracted or intoxicated driver, you need to show that the behavior of the driver failed to follow reasonable road safety, and that his or her neglectful behavior resulted in your injury.