Construction Truck Accident Lawyer
A construction truck accident can be much more catastrophic than a typical car accident. A typical, fully loaded commercial truck (such as a dump truck or a big rig) can weigh over 25 times as much as a typical car. Due to this stark weight disparity and the basic laws of physics, most construction truck accidents result in serious, catastrophic, and even fatal injuries. Therefore, if you’re involved in a construction truck accident and sustained a severe injury, you should look for an experienced Atlanta construction truck accident lawyer to help you file a claim or lawsuit to seek compensation to recover the damages.
If you or a loved one is involved in an accident with a construction truck, you may be entitled to bring a legal claim against the responsible party to recover compensation for your injuries.
In this article, we are going to provide a general overview of construction truck accident cases and what to consider to file a successful claim or lawsuit. More importantly, we highly recommend that you consult an experienced attorney about your construction truck accident case and discuss your legal options to pursue compensation.
The Dangers of Construction Truck Accidents
While the statistics show that truck drivers are generally much more careful on the road than car drivers, large truck crashes still accounted for 106,000 injuries and 4,995 fatalities in 2006 (according to the U.S. Department of Transportation).
These accidents are often not the fault of the truck driver and maybe the result of the negligence of other drivers or unforeseen road hazards.
Moreover, the freight the truck is carrying can make truck accidents worse. For example, if flammable or hazardous materials (such as gasoline or industrial waste) are onboard a truck involved in an accident, that dangerous cargo can cause secondary injuries.
Proving Your Case
As is true in most injury cases resulting from vehicle accidents, the main legal theory of liability in construction truck accident cases is “negligence.” Therefore, a person injured in a construction truck accident must show that:
- Defendant (driver, trucking company, etc.) owed the plaintiff the duty to exercise a reasonable degree of care to avoid injury, under the circumstances (generally, all drivers on the road owe fellow drivers, passengers, and pedestrians a legal duty of reasonable care);
- Defendant did not exercise such reasonable care, or in legal terms “breached” the duty of reasonable care; and
- Defendant’s failure to exercise reasonable care was the cause of the plaintiff’s injury.
To collect maximum compensation for injuries you suffered in a construction truck accident, it’s essential to identify as many potential defendants as possible, which may not be limited to the truck driver. In most cases, trucking companies, insurance companies, contractors, and employers may be obligated to compensate you for your injuries.
If you can establish an employment relationship between the truck driver and a construction or trucking company, then that company may be held legally responsible for the driver’s negligence.
Your Atlanta construction truck accident lawyer would need to show that the company exercised some degree of control over the driver and that the accident happened while the driver was acting in the course of the employment relationship.
This could become problematic when a truck driver is an independent contractor of a larger company. In this case, the amount of supervising done by the company becomes the key issue.
The potential liability of the trucking companies, contractors, and employers is a crucial factor in assessing recovery through insurance coverage since all these entities will likely carry separate policies.
Occasionally, the shipper or manufacturer of the hazardous materials carried on the truck may also be held liable for the accident and the resulting injuries or made worse by the truck’s cargo. This typically relates to the shipper’s or manufacturer’s duty to informed the trucking company or truck driver of the potential dangers of the materials to be transported.
Potential Damages For Construction Truck Accident Victims
If you or your loved one is involved in a construction truck accident where the truck driver was at fault, you may be entitled to damages, including financial compensation for financial, physical, and/or emotional losses resulting from the accident.
You should find an experienced Atlanta construction truck accident lawyer to help you file a successful claim or lawsuit to recover damages.
Special Considerations In Truck Accident Cases
The operation of large construction trucks (especially big rigs) on roads and highways presents certain dangers that aren’t a consideration where ordinary passenger vehicles are concerned:
- Jackknifing – Large construction vehicles such as eighteen-wheelers are prone to jackknifing under certain conditions, especially during sudden turning and braking. The driver of a truck that has jackknifed (or other would-be defendants) may not be held negligent where the jackknifing occurred due to an abrupt turn to avoid a motorist or stalled truck, or unforeseeable slipperiness of the road.
- Turning Accidents – Construction trucks can be difficult to turn, and therefore, often use two lanes to make a right turn. It isn’t always a clear case of negligence, but courts in some states have held that driving a big rig in this manner (occupying two lanes or turning from an inside lane) is sufficient to establish the truck driver’s fault.
Driver and Company Liability for Construction Truck Accidents
After a construction truck accident, is the driver entirely at fault or is the employer or company financially responsible?
After a construction accident involving a big rig, delivery truck, other commercial truck, it is not always easy to determine who is financially responsible even if it’s clear that the driver is at fault.
Let’s answer some crucial questions that will help you to understand the liability for construction truck accidents.
When is a Company Liable for a Driver’s Conduct?
“Respondeat superior” (a Latin phrase for “let the superior answer” is the primary theory of liability that can hold a company responsible for an accident caused by a truck driver (employee). The employer can be liable for wrongful acts committed by an employee or agent provided that acts were not intentional and were committed within the scope of employment.
What Acts Are “Within the Scope of Employment”?
Determining what constitutes an act committed “within the scope of employment” can be difficult. However, here is what the courts often look at:
- the nature, place, and time of the employee’s conduct
- amount of time consumed in the personal activity
- the duties and responsibilities of the employee in his or her occupation
- the intention of the employee when the accident occurred
- incidental acts the employer should reasonably expect the employee to do, and
- amount of freedom that the employee has while performing his or her duties.
For example, if a truck driver rear-ends a car while making a delivery, the employer would likely be liable for any harm or damages that result since the truck driver was acting “within the scope of employment.”
Now suppose a truck driver leaves work early to go to a basketball game and hits a car outside of the stadium. Here, an argument can be made that the company shouldn’t be liable for the truck driver’s negligence since the driver wasn’t acting “within the scope of employment.”
Talk to Our Attorney About Your Truck Accident Claim/Lawsuit
Accidents involving large construction trucks often result in serious physical injury and property damage. If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction truck accident, get in touch with our Atlanta construction truck accident lawyer at Bobe & Snell Law Office LLC as soon as possible to discuss your case and determine the next step to pursue your compensation.
Construction Truck Accident Lawyer
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Construction Truck Accident Lawyer