The large size of commercial trucks, relative to other vehicles, creates a unique and heightened danger not present with other vehicles. Accidents involving large trucks can cause more severe injuries than accidents involving only motor vehicles and many times can lead to death. Additionally, the possible presence of flammable materials being transported as cargo may create the danger of fires and burn injuries for those involved.
A truck accident recently took place in New York that resulted in the death of a driver. A pickup was stopped on the side of a highway in the early morning hours with the driver inside. It is unknown at this time why the pickup pulled over on the side of the road. A truck collided with the pickup from behind, causing both vehicles to start on fire. The driver of the pickup died at the scene, while the truck driver suffered minor injuries in the accident.
In accidents involving motor vehicles and commercial trucks, liability is determined by applying negligence. All drivers, whether truck or vehicle drivers, owe a duty of reasonable care in their actions. To prove negligence, a victim must show that a drive breached this duty and that the breach caused the accident that caused their injuries.
There are numerous actions that can be considered negligent or unsafe if performed by the driver of a vehicle when around a truck. The actions include leaving a stopped vehicle in a travel lane, or failing to move a stopped vehicle to the shoulder of the road. Although the driver in the story above was stopped on the side of the road, it is unclear if he was completely off the road and on the shoulder. If he wasn't, his failure to do so may be considered an unsafe act, and could prevent the truck driver from being held liable.
Commercial truck drivers, if shown to be negligent, may face significant liability. Their employers or contractors may face the same liability if an accident occurs in the course of the driver's employment. A victim may be able to collect damages if they can show negligence and didn't commit any unsafe acts of their own.