Commercial trucks are such a common sight on the nation’s roadways that it’s sometimes easy for drivers to disregard them as potential risks. It’s also commonly thought that because commercial truckers are trained, professional drivers that they may be less likely to cause an accident. But unfortunately, truck accidents have claimed countless lives and caused catastrophic injuries. When a semi-truck accident occurs near Gaithersburg, the victims can contact a personal injury law firm for guidance. Personal injury claims can help victims recover compensation for their injuries, property damage, and other losses.
Considering Driver Negligence
When reviewing the police report, witness statements, and other evidence, the personal injury lawyer may determine that the truck driver was at least partially at fault for the accident. Truck drivers may be held liable for negligence if they drove while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, for example. Although federal law requires truck drivers to restrict their work hours and take regular breaks from driving, they’re still at a high risk of driving while fatigued. Truck drivers who are under pressure to rack up the miles for increased pay may use excessive speed or otherwise drive in a reckless manner. Personal injury claims frequently name the truck driver as defendant for all of these reasons.
Identifying Other Defendants
Truck accidents are different from auto accidents in many ways. For instance, personal injury claims that result from truck accidents often have multiple defendants. Perhaps in addition to the truck driver, the personal injury claim may name the trucking company or leasing company as defendants. The trucker’s employer may be found negligent for failing to train drivers properly, enforce hour limits, and inspect and maintain the truck. Sometimes, equipment failure is a factor in truck accidents. The manufacturer of parts for the truck may be sued for making defectively designed or manufactured parts. There are even cases where the goods loaded into the back of a tractor-trailer were loaded improperly, causing a “load shift” with a sudden loss of control by the driver.
Understanding Wrongful Death Claims
Due to the typically catastrophic nature of truck accidents, they can all too easily result in the loss of life. The surviving family members of the victims may decide to talk to a personal injury lawyer about filing a wrongful death claim. In these cases, the plaintiffs may seek compensation for the medical expenses and funeral costs of the decedent, along with the loss of support.