When Two 18-Wheelers Collide, Who is at Fault?

We often hear about 18-wheeler accidents involving small, non-commercial vehicles, but it is not every day that we hear about dual big rig accidents, or even accidents involving more than two commercial vehicles, but that does not mean that they do not happen. Just last month in Castro Valley, California, two big rigs slammed into each other, resulting in one fatality and the closure of Interstate 580. In August in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, one semi jack-knifed into the left lane, sending large pieces of the barrier into the southbound lanes. A second semi struck the first and then a third semi—this time coming from the south—struck the barrier that the original semi had pushed over, causing it to collide with the other two. Fortunately, all three drivers sustained only minor injuries and no other smaller vehicles were involved. The point is, dual semi accidents do happen, and when they do, they can become very dangerous very quickly.

At Clark Law Group, we help the victims of 18-wheeler accidents fight for their rights for compensation, but what happens when the only vehicles involved were semis?

Are Injuries Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

Most people would assume that workers’ compensation would cover the injuries sustained in dual 18-wheeler accidents, and while that is true for injured drivers who are employed by larger trucking companies, it is not the case for sole proprietors or owner-operators. For one thing, business owners are not required to carry workers’ compensation in Texas, but even if they were, sole proprietors and owner-operators would still not be required to obtain coverage. So, if a dual big rig accident happened between two freelance drivers, how can the injured driver recover compensation from the at-fault party?

The injured party can pursue a claim as if the accident was a normal car accident.

Typically, even if both parties involved are freelance drivers, they should be carrying enough insurance to cover the cost of injuries, damages, and legal fees in the event that they are sued. If the at-fault driver has insurance, the other driver could just file a claim like normal and proceed with settlement negotiations with the insurance company. If, however, the at-fault driver was not carrying insurance—which is highly unlikely—the accident victim could sue the driver him or herself. If the plaintiff won the case, the at fault driver would be forced to pay out of pocket.

If, on the other hand, one or both drivers worked as employees of a commercial trucking company, the company could be sued for employee negligence.

Consult a Knowledgeable 18-Wheeler Accident Attorney

As with all accident claims, 18-wheeler accident claims can become very complicated very quickly. If you are a truck driver and you were injured in an accident caused by another truck driver, the best way to gain a full picture of your legal rights is to speak with an experienced Dallas 18-wheeler accident attorney right away. Considering there are a lot of different factors at play in an 18-wheeler accident as opposed to a normal car accident, it can be difficult to determine fault without thoroughly investigating the facts of the case.

If a dual 18-wheeler accident has left you injured, without a truck, and unable to work, and if you are not sure where to turn, reach out to the compassionate representatives at Clark Law Group today. Call (214) 438-1152 to schedule a free consultation today.

(image courtesy of Esther Tuttle)

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