Evans Agrapidis Discusses Motor Vehicle Accidents Involving Trucks or Commercial Vehicles
Why Traffic Collisions With Big Rig and Other Third Party-Owned Vehicles Can Be Complicated
Typical, run-of-the-mill traffic accidents are complicated enough. There are a myriad of variables involved; driver accounts, passenger accounts, witness accounts, insurance evaluations, police reports, attorney actions, and so on and so forth. Sorting through the personal liabilities, insurance investigations, and payments, and legal ramifications can take months. Motor vehicle accidents involving large trucks or commercial vehicles are even messier, as parties other than those immediately involved in the collision have a vested interest and could be found at fault. The following is a short summation of some pertinent information regarding traffic accidents with big rigs and other third-party-owned vehicles, and why they can be far more complicated than the average motor accident.
Personal injury and accident lawyer, Evans Agrapidis takes the time to discuss motor vehicle accidents involving trucks or commercial vehicles.
Facts and Figures
To begin with, it is useful to relate some relevant statistics in order to understand just how common these types of motor accidents are. According to research conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2018, the number of large trucks involved in accidents where property was damaged jumped by 14% over the previous year, increasing from roughly 363,000 incidents to 414,000 incidents. During the same time period, the number of accidents involving large trucks that caused injury increased by 5%, from approximately 107,000 to 112,000, and the number of such accidents that caused fatalities rose by 1%, from precisely 4,804 to 4,862. Unfortunately, these are not rare events. It should also be explicitly stated that, because of their inability to brake quickly, as well as their sheer size and weight, when big rigs and heavy commercial vehicles are involved in traffic accidents, it is usually the other party that takes the brunt of the damage.
“The main factor that makes motor accidents involving big rigs and other third-party-owned vehicles so complex is the determination of liability” claims Agrapidis. Assuming that the accident in question was in some way caused by a large truck owned by a company rather than an individual, any number of parties might be liable, depending on certain details. For example, there is a federal law stating that long-haul truckers can only drive in stretches of eleven hours at a time. If upon investigation, the driver was found to have violated that regulation, they would likely be the culpable party. On the other hand, if the driver’s employer ordered them to reach their destination within a period of time that necessitated violating that federal regulation, the company would likely be found liable. Conversely, if the truck was found to have poorly-maintained tires, braking systems, or other mechanical issues, then it is possible the truck’s owner, manufacturer, or mechanic might be deemed responsible. Digging into these details and discovering which party is legally liable is difficult and time-consuming work, and it is what differentiates collisions involving large trucks and commercial vehicles from conventional automobile accidents.
Best Course of Action
As with any other collision, should a collision with a large truck or commercial vehicle come to pass, the wisest course of action is, first, to remain at the scene. Although this may seem like common sense to most people, statistics show that a significant number of those involved in such accidents instinctively flee. This is a bad idea for insurance purposes and also, in fact, against the law. It is then incumbent upon those who emerge from the accident unharmed to check on the welfare of others. If there are injuries — severe or otherwise — emergency services ought to be called. Even if there are no injuries, the accident should be reported to the authorities and an official police report should eventually be filed. All concerned parties should take photographs of any damage or injuries sustained in the collision, exchange insurance information with one another, and then proceed to inform their own insurance providers of the incident. If in the ensuing weeks and months, medical treatments, rehabilitative therapies, or prescriptions are needed to recuperate from the accident, all related documents and receipts ought to be kept. Finally, it would be wise for each party involved to consult with an attorney and to discuss the collision with no one else. Assuming liability against the driver of the commercial vehicle can be proven in favor of the injured party, cases of this nature are worth pursuing.
“Whereas the aftermath of ordinary automobile accidents can be convoluted and confusing, by comparison, the legal and financial fallout from collisions involving large trucks and commercial vehicles can be positively bewildering” states Evans Agrapidis. If an individual finds themselves in such a situation, retaining the services of a legal professional is crucial in protecting their interests and safeguarding their rights. A trained traffic accident lawyer or personal injury lawyer will know the best legal pathways to deal with third party companies, other drivers, police, court officials, and insurance firms in order to achieve a just and satisfactory outcome.