The drivers of big-rig commercial trucks put in countless hours on our nation’s roadways getting supplies to stores and parts to manufacturers that help keep our nation running. Although imperative to our nation’s success, we still require those who run these behemoth vehicles to operate their vehicles safely. A failure to do so can result in serious accidents — especially since their vehicles are so much more massive than the passenger vehicles that are on the same roadways.
But what can one person really do if a truck from a massive corporation causes a serious accident? Isn’t that market too large to successfully challenge?
If the accident is the result of negligence on the part of the driver, manufacturer, or business then that victim likely has the right to legal remedies.
Do victims really succeed when challenging the trucking industry?
In a recent example, a man suffered serious injuries after slowing his motorcycle in response to a big-rig commercial truck that caused a massive pile-up after it jackknifed during a storm in Florida. Another commercial truck moved over shortly after the motorcycle changed lanes. That driver failed to signal his turn and admitted to being on his cellphone at the time. The motorcycle crashed into the truck and the motorcyclist suffered serious, life-changing injuries. He was hospitalized for six months to treat a broken back and pelvis. He continues to fight to heal.
The motorcyclist built a case against the commercial truck that jack-knifed and caused the accident as well as the second truck that swerved in front of him. He argued the commercial truck’s unsafe driving during the storm as well as the second commercial truck driver’s failure to signal and use flashing lights was negligent and caused his own crash. The jury agreed and awarded him over $400 million.
What does this mean for others injured in accidents that involve commercial trucks?
The case provides key lessons to others who are injured in these types of accidents, including:
- Multiple defendants. In these types of accidents it is common that there are multiple parties responsible for the crash. It is important to build a case against each to better ensure the victim gets the compensation they need to rebuild their life after the accident. Keep in mind, the victim may need multiple additional medical treatments in the future as well as physical therapy and may experience difficulties continuing to work.
- Negotiations. The case started with discussions of a settlement. When that did not go well, the victim chose to move forward with a trial in front of a jury. The process can take time, and negotiations are an important part of the progression of the case.
- Delegation. The victim was able to put his legal options in the hands of counsel so that he could focus on healing and raising his three sons.
The case led to one of the largest awards for this type of accident, but large awards are not uncommon. More and more people in our community are agreeing that commercial trucking industry should be held responsible for accidents caused by their vehicles and are forcing them to provide compensation when such accidents result in serious injuries.