Semi Truck Accidents: What Are Your Rights?


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We see them all the time: eighteen-wheelers barreling down the highways or interstates dwarfing the tiny vehicles that they share the road with. And, if you spend any time on the road, you have probably also seen the devastating aftermath of a traffic accident involving one of these semi trucks. These types of accidents can be unfortunately all too common, but they can also be particularly dangerous. With the high rate of speed and huge mass of the vehicles, one overcorrection or inadvertent lane change can be all that stands between you and serious injury or even death. If you or a loved one has been injured by such a truck, it is important that you know your rights when it comes to seeking restitution from these individuals. Here’s basic information you need to know about such a situation.

Safety Considerations

There is usually a larger problem than just merely size when it comes to crashes between cars and trucks. One of the biggest issues actually involves blind spots. If a car is trying to pass a semi on the left, then there is a wider area of space where a trucker cannot see the car. If the truck has to change lanes, then the driver may not see another car in that lane, leading to a higher risk of collision. However, size does play a big part in these wrecks as well. If a truck has to stop suddenly, it is usually more difficult for it to do so suddenly than it is for a car or small truck. A rear-end collision from a car can be damaging; from a semi-truck it can be fatal. A final problem that can cause issues with causing wrecks is trucker fatigue. Unless you are on a long road trip, most of us will not travel as much as long as truck drivers will. Naturally, fatigue eventually sets in and sometimes a dozing trucker will drift over the line and into another lane. This is why the government has established strict regulations over truck driver rest periods. However, when these are not followed then problems can definitely arise.

Trucking Regulations

One of the areas that has the biggest impact on the litigation of trucking accidents is state and federal regulations. There are numerous regulations that govern the operation of a semi-truck including how long an operator can drive without taking a rest and how much they can haul. This is why weigh stations monitor trucks at regular intervals on interstates and why so much scrutiny is paid to trucker’s logs and their adherence to these rules. If a trucker has failed to follow regulations such as dealing with how long he can drive without a break, then he is more likely to be held liable for any accidents that he might be involved in. For instance, the standard rule is that a driver cannot drive more than eleven hours in a fourteen-hour period. After that, the driver must then take a ten hour break of no driving before getting back on the road. If a driver were to drive for twelve hours and cause an accident, he is going to be held responsible for the accident and for failing to follow through with rules and regulations. If this is the case, then the driver and the trucking company will be more likely to settle a claim out of court because they know that their odds of winning at trial are pretty much slim to none at all.

Insurance Issues

Another area when it comes to semi-truck lawsuits has to deal with the insurance carried by the company and the driver. Many trucking companies are required by the government to carry high insurance on their truckers and vehicles. If, however, the company realizes that it is in their best interest from a legal standpoint to settle the case, they can only do so up to the amount covered by their insurance company. This is still usually a pretty hefty sum that varies by case, but it is an aspect that has to be considered when bringing a suit.

Bringing a lawsuit against a truck driver and trucking company can be a very complicated proposition. Because of the special issues such as federal and state government regulations and insurance issues, it is important to have an attorney who is familiar with these issues and able to litigate or settle your case so that you get the compensation that you deserve. The lawyers at Wolf & Pravato are ready to consult with you to review your case and determine what your options are in your particular situation (

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