Under Arizona law, an accident between two passenger vehicles is very different than an accident between a passenger vehicle and a commercial truck. If you have the misfortune of being involved in an accident with a commercial truck, know there will be questions asked and actions taken that are different than those relating to a car accident.
Before getting to the specifics of the actions to be taken, let it be known that the steps are given in the context of the driver or the passenger vehicle being able to perform on their own behalf. Unfortunately, there are often serious injuries to those in a personal vehicle and, often, cannot gather the necessary information at the scene. If this should be the case, then these fact-finding measures will be handled by the responders at the scene. This information must be obtained as soon as practicable after the accident.
In Arizona, there are laws and definitions specific to an accident involving a commercial truck. First, Arizona defines a commercial truck as one used primarily for carrying or hauling property other than the personal property of the driver or the passengers. This definition needs to be met before the laws specific to a truck accident apply.
In truck accidents, both Federal and Arizona laws will be considered. Federal laws establish standards to which a trucking company and the drivers must comply. Arizona has laws governing commercial trucks to keep all drivers safe on the roads.
When information is being gathered relative to the scene of the accident, there will also be information gathered relative to compliance with Federal and State laws prior to the accident. There is significantly more information to be gathered in a truck accident.
The above paragraphs are a precursor to the following information. Again, if the driver or any of the passengers in the private vehicle cannot perform these steps, then these steps must be taken, and followed through, as soon as practicable after the accident of their behalf.
The following must be performed:
The above information will be handled by the police at the scene and will be made available to all parties involved in the accident and to their attorneys.
Arizona carries the theory of “respondeat superior.” This theory can be applied to a trucking company for it to be liable for the actions of its employee driver if both of the following are met:
The above conditions are assumed that the driver is an employee of the trucking company. Often, drivers are independent contractors of the trucking company. In addition, the trucking company may not be the owner of the truck or of the cargo being hauled.
This is where and how the technicalities and the layers of potential responsibility come into play.
Accidents between a passenger vehicle and a commercial truck carry different sets of laws and regulations, the severity of injuries are serious and the pool of persons and entities identified as involved is larger.
In order to properly protect your position, it is imperative to retain a personal injury attorney in Arizona specializing in accidents involving commercial trucks. This expertise will be needed when the evidence is being gathered and the responsible parties are being identified.