When driving on one of New Mexico’s many highways, it’s likely you’ll encounter a commercial truck during your travels. While these trucks (also commonly referred to as 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, or big-rigs) are integral for shipping supplies and other goods, they can be dangerous when not operated correctly. Through their enormous size and speed, commercial tractor-trailer trucks have the immediate potential of causing great and severe injuries, including death.
Our team at Martinez, Hart, Thompson & Sanchez, P.C. is ready to help you prosecute the negligence of a truck driver or the truck driver’s employer. We believe that truckers must take their duties seriously, to preserve their own safety as well as the safety of people driving alongside them.
Accidents caused by semi-truck drivers are different from cases caused by drivers operating personal automobiles. First and foremost, because of the great harm that can result from the enormous size and speed of the semi-truck, the semi-truck driver must equal owes a great duty of care to all other drivers and passengers who may be hurt by the semi-truck. There exist professional standards and federal regulations that govern semi-truck drivers to ensure they drive safely.
In addition to the heightened degree of care truck drivers must follow, semi-truck accidents are different because most 18-wheelers maintain “black boxes” that measure many important details, such as GPS coordinates, speed, every time the driver stopped to rest, and messages the driver sent to dispatch while driving. This information can help assist in determining who the truck accident occurred. There are intricate regulations covering the use and maintenance of commercial trucks, including limiting driving time and ensuring the driver has sufficient rest before getting behind the wheel. Preservation of the “black box” information is critical and our team is ready to help you ensure this evidence is protected for your case.
In semi-truck accidents, the truck driver’s employer is responsible for paying any damages caused by the truck driver’s negligence. The trucking company may also be separately and directly responsible to you if they knew they had an unsafe driver on their fleet. The trucking company may be directly responsible for its own negligence in hiring, training, retaining, and failing to properly supervise an employee they knew or should have known was an unsafe truck driver. This may be the case if the company failed to properly screen or train the driver. If the truck malfunctioned, then the trucking company may also be directly responsible for paying any damages caused by the company’s failure to properly maintain the 18-wheeler.