Can I Sue if I was Injured While a Passenger?
If you were a passenger in an 18-wheeler accident, you may have claims against the commercial truck driver and several parties for payment of your medical bills. If so, you can sue for compensation for your personal injuries associated with the truck accident. You may have claims even if you were not wearing a seat belt while riding in the truck.
If you were a co-worker of the driver and employed by the same company, you may only be entitled to workers’ compensation. This would mean that you would not get anything for pain and suffering. Read more about work injury claims.
Who Can I Sue for Compensation?
The driver, owner of the 18-wheeler, owner of the trailer, owner of the freight, the employer of the driver, and others may be liable for your medical expenses. This would include future medical expenses. The amount recoverable from these parties can be substantial. The insurance companies covering these parties generally pay the settlement or verdict amount.
In addition to medical expenses, you may have a claim for lost wages and pain and suffering, which includes compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, disability, disfigurement, and other damages. Compensation should include amounts for future pain and suffering and the loss of future wages.
If the 18-wheeler driver had been drinking, this evidence can be used to prove negligence, and could provide the basis for a punitive damages claim.
Even if the truck driver was not “drunk” under state law, the driver may have violated federal regulations governing interstate, commercial truck drivers. Under these regulations, “no driver shall report for duty or remain on duty requiring the performance of safety-sensitive functions while having an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater” (49 CFR Part §382.201). Violation of this regulation is evidence of driver negligence in a lawsuit seeking accident victim compensation.