A tractor trailer crashed around 3:30 a.m. in the westbound lanes of I-90 April 4, 2018 injuring the driver and the passenger of the semi-truck. According to the Idaho State Police, the accident happened when the semi-truck went off the right-hand shoulder of the road and then flipped as the truck came back on the road.
The ISP had to close the westbound lanes which reopened just before 7:30 a.m. The driver and a passenger were taken to Shoshone Medical Center with significant injuries. It’s unclear why the driver left the road, and the accident is still under investigation.
A semi-truck accident can be devastating because of the size and mass of the trucks. A fully loaded semi-truck with trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 lbs. Each year, semi-trucks account for 8 percent of all accidents yet they cause 12 percent of all fatalities.
Semi-Truck Passenger Injuries
When one of those injured is a passenger of the semi-truck, it’s sometimes unclear how the passenger will be compensated for his or her injuries. Generally speaking, anytime someone is negligent and causes and accident, they are responsible for the damages they cause.
Thus if the truck passenger was injured because the driver of another vehicle was at fault, then that driver’s insurance will cover the damages.
However, sometimes the driver of the semi-truck with the injured passenger is at fault. When this happens, there is often confusion regarding liability.
Who Will Pay?
A driver of a commercial truck is responsible for the injuries sustained by his or her own passenger, but there are limitations. If the passenger is a co-employee, then it may be a worker’s compensation claim and not an auto insurance claim that will need to be filed.
If the truck driver is an independent contractor and the driver and the passenger are spouses on the same auto insurance policy, many mistakenly believe that you can’t make a claim against your own policy for injuries and damages.
While it’s true you can’t negligently hurt yourself and collect your own liability insurance, your spouse can claim that you were negligent and caused him or her injuries. The spouse could recover just the same as if the at-fault person was another driver of a different vehicle.
Do I need an Attorney if I’m a Passenger?
The answer is yes, you should at least talk with an attorney before you speak the insurance company even if they are your company and you have a good relationship with the company. The reason is because once you make a claim, they will transfer you to their claims department and you will be treated just like any other injured person seeking compensation.
Get an Attorney on Your Side
Don’t rely on the insurance company and their lawyers to treat you fairly. You need to talk to someone on your side who can advise you and evaluate your individual case. Talk to the knowledgeable and experienced attorneys at Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., and get someone on your side. We serve clients in Spokane, WA, Coeur d’Alene, ID, and surrounding communities and can go toe-to-toe with the insurance companies and their lawyers to get you fair compensation for your injuries. Call us at (509) 926 4900, or send us a message by clicking here.