Commercial trucks present unique circumstances on the road not encountered with other vehicles. Their enormous size relative to other vehicles creates an increased risk of serious injuries to those involved in truck accidents. Additionally, trucks sometimes carry or contain hazardous materials that are exposed to the environment in a collision.
A Federal Express truck was recently involved in an accident in New York with another vehicle. The truck collided with a guardrail on the side of the road, pinning the other vehicle between the truck and the rail. The front of the truck went over the side of the road and ruptured the fuel tank. Around 100 gallons of diesel was spilled into a park and pond below the road, requiring a hazardous materials crew to perform a clean up of the area. Both drivers were taken to nearby hospitals as a result of the accident.
Liability for any injuries that result from an accident involving commercial trucks is determined using the theory of negligence, just as it is for accidents involving other vehicles. To establish liability on the part of a defendant, a victim must show that the driver owed them a duty to use reasonable care, breached that duty and that the breach caused their injuries. A unique aspect to truck accidents, however, is that there may be numerous potential defendants from which a victim may recover. In addition to the driver, insurance companies, contractors and trucking companies may have liability for an accident caused by the operator of a truck.
In this case, it is unclear what caused the accident at this point. However, since the truck collided with the guardrail on the side of the road, it is possible that the driver lost control of the vehicle. If it is proven that the driver of the truck is liable in this accident, the driver of the car may collect any damages from multiple defendants since the truck is part of a large shipping company.