The injuries involved in commercial truck accidents are rarely ever considered minor. This is mainly due to the large size disparity between tractor-trailers and passenger vehicles, as trucks can weigh nearly 30 times as much as a typical car. This disparity can lead to severe injuries and even fatalities when accidents occur. These injuries can create significant financial costs for victims and their families. Thus, determining liability is vitally important when such an accident takes place.
Take, for example, a truck accident that occurred last week on the New Jersey Turnpike. The accident involved two commercial trucks, a van and another car. Although officials have not yet confirmed, reports indicate that three people died as a result of the collision, and officials have labeled it a fatal accident. Officials also indicated that one of the trucks had jackknifed.
Determining liability in an accident that involves a commercial truck invokes the legal theory of negligence, as is the case with most motor vehicle accidents. Truck drivers, as well as other drivers, owe a duty to demonstrate reasonable care in the operation of their vehicle. A defendant is negligent if they breach that duty, and such breach causes the plaintiff's injuries.
Commercial trucks present additional dangers to those found with typical passenger vehicles. Among those dangers is jackknifing, a situation where a truck skids and the truck and trailer form a 90-degree angle with each other. Jackknifing typically occurs when conditions are slippery or the truck must make a sudden turn or stop. It can be proof of negligence on the part of a truck driver, although certain circumstances may have been present that were out of the driver's control.
There are many dangers involved with the operation of trucks that are not present with passenger vehicles. These increased dangers require that truck drivers observe care in their actions. If they fail to do so, victims and their families must be aware of their potential rights to compensation for their damages.