Getting into any kind of accident can be a frightening and life-changing experience. It can be even more frightening when you’re in an accident with a semi-truck. It can be hard to know where to turn for help in a semi truck accident. There are some special rules that apply when a traffic crash involves a semi truck. Here are five things to know about about semi truck accident cases:
1. The same traffic rules apply to semi-trucks that apply to everyone else
In general, semi-truck drivers must follow the rules of the road. The same state and local traffic laws that apply to passenger vehicles apply to semi-truck drivers. When law enforcement investigates a traffic violation, they apply the same laws and standards for truck drivers and everyone else. If a truck driver fails to yield, drives above the speed limit or drives too fast for conditions, they receive the same citation that a person receives if they’re not driving a commercial vehicle.
However, in some ways, the rules are more strict for semi-truck drivers. Commercial drivers must pass an examination that demonstrates their skills in relation to the vehicle class they plan to drive. A semi-truck driver who is at fault for an accident may lose the privilege of having a commercial driver’s license.
2. Semi-truck drivers must drive reasonably for a semi-truck driver
The standard for determining whether a semi-truck driver is responsible for your damages after an accident is negligence. The court looks at whether each driver operated their vehicle in a reasonable way. For a semi-truck driver, that means the standard is what a reasonable truck driver would do under the same circumstances. If a reasonable semi-truck driver would have driven slower because of icy road conditions or if they should have gotten more sleep before driving another shift, they may be legally responsible for your losses based on Indiana’s negligence laws.
3. There’s a lower standard for drunk driving a commercial vehicle
Even though the same rules of the road generally apply to commercial drivers, the standards for drunk driving are lower. Indiana Code 9-24-6.1-6 says that a commercial driver is a drunk driver any time they operate with a bodily alcohol content of a .04 or greater. The standard for non-commercial drivers is a bodily alcohol content of .08. Commercial drivers who drive intoxicated or drive with an unlawful bodily alcohol content may be responsible to you for your losses after a semi-truck accident.
4. You can still recover if you’re partially to blame for the accident
Comparative negligence rules apply to Indiana semi-truck accidents. That means that you can still recover something even if you contribute to the accident in some way. Indiana uses a system called modified comparative negligence. As long as you’re not 51 percent or more to blame for the accident, you can recover for a share of your damages.
5. The driver’s employer may be responsible for your injuries
The semi-truck driver who causes the crash isn’t the only one who may be responsible for your injuries. A semi-truck driver usually acts on behalf of an employer. In addition to liability for negligent driving, the employer can also be liable if they don’t do their research before they hire the driver. Ultimately, the employer may be the one responsible for your losses if you’re hurt in a semi-truck crash.
Getting Help After a Semi-Truck Accident
The same traffic laws apply to all drivers on the road. However, in some ways, rules for commercial drivers are more strict than they are for the general population. The driver and their employer may owe you compensation if their actions caused or contributed to your injuries.