Who’s Responsible for Car Accidents With Parked Semi Trucks?
At first, many people might think that truck accidents would be handled similarly to standard car accidents. But the reality is that the two types of accidents can be extremely different. For example, in most cases, if a driver of a car crashes into a parked car, liability fully falls on the person driving the car that was in motion. However, if a car crashes into a parked semi truck, there may be more situations where the truck driver could be liable.
If you spend enough time driving on highways and interstates, there’s a very good chance that at some point, you may need to make an unplanned stop, perhaps because of mechanical problems, driver fatigue, or another urgent problem. This is true whether you’re driving a regular car or a commercial truck. But for commercial trucks, there are rules about exactly where drivers can stop if they need to and that prohibits them from parking on the side of the road unless it is absolutely necessary, like if their truck breaks down.
Truck drivers are not allowed to stop on the side of the road to do things like sleep or eat. But unfortunately, many drivers do so knowing it’s against the rules. Sometimes, they may even end up being parked on a type of street they aren’t even allowed to be on, like residential streets. Even if a truck driver does have an acceptable reason to park where they shouldn’t be, there are procedures that need to be followed so that other vehicles on the road will be able to see them.
Given the size of commercial trucks, you might be surprised that a lack of visibility is a reason why it’s so dangerous for them to park on the side of the road. But when people are driving at night or the weather is bad, they aren’t always able to see a stopped truck, especially if the truck is parked in a way where part of it is sticking on the main road. This is why truck drivers are required to do things like turn on their emergency flashers and set out flares or reflective triangles. (Other steps may be required in certain situations, such as if trucks need to stop during daylight hours, on a curved road, or on a hill.) If they aren’t parked appropriately or neglect to take these steps to improve visibility, the driver could be liable.
With the size difference between passenger cars and commercial trucks, if a car crashes into a parked truck, the effects can be devastating. Underride accidents, where the top of the car is sheared off by going beneath the truck, are one particularly dangerous type of accident that can occur because it often leads to decapitation.
Contact a Michigan Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, it’s extremely important to get in touch with a truck accident lawyer right away. Truck accident liability can be very complicated, so you need to have someone on your side who knows the law and can make sure your case is handled correctly.
At Goodwin & Scieszka, we’re highly experienced in handling a wide range of motor vehicle accident cases, including truck accidents, car accidents, and motorcycle accidents in the state of Michigan. Contact us today for help with your case.
Image: iStock / benkrut