You Hit An 18-Wheeler Or Commercial Truck That Was Parked Where It Didn't Belong—Is The Trucker Liable For Your Injuries?

If you're traveling the highway late at night, you'll see something that you don't usually spot in the daytime: a number of semis and other commercial delivery trucks parked to the side of the road, on off ramps, or even on the shoulder of the highway. Sometimes, you'll even find one tucked into a side street somewhere once you get off the highway. The drivers are usually sleeping—they're either worn out or they've reached their legal limit on the number of hours they can drive. If there's a rest area or truck stop nearby and one is full, they're probably unable to find safer parking. And—make no mistake about it—these spaces are unsafe. A car can easily run into a truck that's sitting on the side of the road. If that happens, who is at fault? This is what has to be evaluated.

Parking on the side of the road is probably illegal, but is it negligence?

Parking on the side of the road or on the ramps is illegal in most states, so a trucker who gets into an accident while parked there is likely to get a ticket. Residential streets are generally off-limits to 18-wheelers and commercial trucks are only supposed to stay parked for delivery services, so they would also be in for a ticket if involved in a crash.

However, the basic foundation of personal injury law is negligence—which is essentially failing to do what a reasonable person should and would do under the same circumstances (like find a hotel to sleep in or park the vehicle in a less-crowded truck stop). 

If it was negligence, did it help cause your injury?

In order to qualify for a personal injury lawsuit, the truck driver's negligence also has to lead to your injuries. Would you or wouldn't you  have been injured anyhow if the truck wasn't there?

You'll have a much stronger case if the truck was entirely dark, jutting out onto the road, or parked right where you couldn't see it until you turned a corner. Your attorney will also look for things like whether or not the back end of the commercial truck was taped with reflective light strips that could have been seen in the dark or under foggy conditions. If you clipped a truck that was hanging out into the road a couple inches while you were fighting heavy traffic, you probably wouldn't have been injured at all if the truck hadn't been there. Similarly, if the truck was strategically hidden behind some bushes so that police from the road couldn't spot it, that's another sign that you likely wouldn't have had any injury. 

On the other hand, if you were talking on your cell phone or otherwise distracted when you hit a truck, crossed over the yellow sideline and were riding the burn, or were inebriated, you may have a harder time convincing the jury you weren't responsible for the accident yourself.

For more information, talk to an attorney who handles truck accidents today to get an opinion on your specific situation.

About Me

The Internet Makes Learning about Law Easier than Ever

Unlike many children growing up today, I am old enough to remember what life was like before the internet became popular! Many years ago, I ended up in a messy legal situation that stemmed from a simple misunderstanding. It turned out that I actually did not break the law, and finding that out in court was a great relief! While I had a great lawyer who helped me during that time, reading some legal information for myself about the laws surrounding my incident could have greatly eased my worries during the stressful time. I have since dedicated myself to learning more about the law, so I never have to deal with a legal mess again. I thought I would make a blog to share some legal knowledge I have acquired along with some general legal tips. I hope I can help many people!



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