When you are involved in a truck accident, it is essential to know that the claims process can be complicated. This is because many different factors must be considered such as proving that another party was liable and dealing with insurance companies that will likely try to minimize your payout. If you were injured in a trucking accident, it’s important to have an experienced lawyer on your side. Contact GOLDLAW today to schedule a free consultation.
The Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents
In the United States, large trucks – including semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and commercial vehicles – are involved in a significant number of accidents each year. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that there were 5,601 large trucks involved in fatal crashes in the US in 2021, a 12 percent increase from 2020.
So, what are some of the most common causes of these accidents? Here are four of the most frequently cited causes:
One of the most common – and potentially dangerous – causes of truck accidents is driver fatigue. Truck drivers often work long hours and cover large distances, which can lead to drowsiness and decreased alertness behind the wheel. In an attempt to alleviate this problem, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has rules and regulations regarding how many hours truck drivers can be on the road.
However, these rules are not always followed. Some truck drivers may feel pressure to meet unrealistic deadlines set by their employers, while others may simply want to get home to their families as soon as possible. As a result, they may ignore FMCSA regulations and drive for longer periods of time than they should. If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a fatigued truck driver, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you assert your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.
Like all other motorists on US roadways, truck drivers are subject to speed limits. However, because large trucks weigh so much more than passenger vehicles, they take significantly longer to stop when driving at high speeds. This is why speeding is such a dangerous behavior for truckers; not only does it increase the likelihood of an accident, but it also increases the severity of injuries if an accident does occur.
Tailgating – or following too closely behind another vehicle – is another common cause of truck accidents. Again, because trucks weigh significantly more than passenger vehicles, they require more space to stop safely. When a trucker tailgates another vehicle, they are putting both themselves and other motorists at risk in the event that sudden braking is required.
Poor Weather Conditions
While all drivers need to be extra careful when driving in bad weather conditions such as rain or snow, this is especially true for truckers. Due to their size and weight, it’s important that they slow down and use extra caution when driving in poor weather conditions.
Possible Liable Parties in a Trucking Accident Case
When you’ve been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, it’s understandable to assume the trucking company is automatically responsible. However, there are several parties who could be held legally responsible for your accident. Some examples of potential liable parties include:
The Truck Driver
In many cases, the truck driver will be found at least partially responsible for the accident. This is especially true if the driver was speeding, driving under the influence, or engaging in other risky or negligent behavior. Even if the driver wasn’t breaking any laws at the time of the accident, they could still be held liable if your lawyer can show that they weren’t using reasonable care. For example, if the driver failed to check their blind spot before changing lanes, they could be responsible for any resulting accidents.
The Trucking Company
The trucking company could also be responsible for an accident that one of their drivers causes. This can happen if the company fails to maintain the truck properly or adequately screen and train its drivers. Additionally, many trucking companies push their drivers to work long hours that violate labor laws, which contributes to accidents.
The Owner of the Truck
If the truck involved in the accident was leased or rented, then the owner of the truck could also be held liable. Just as with a trucking company, an owner might be held vicariously liable for an accident caused by someone they trusted to drive their truck. An owner might also be responsible if they fail to maintain the truck properly or have it inspected regularly.
The Manufacturer of the Truck
In some cases, a defective part of the truck might have caused or contributed to an accident. If this is the case, the manufacturer of that defective part could be legally responsible. For example, if a brake failure results in an accident, the manufacturer of those brakes could be sued. However, it can sometimes be challenging to prove that a defective part actually caused an accident (as opposed to being due to human error), so this isn’t always an easy case to win.
The Loading Company
If improper loading led to an accident (e.g., if boxes fell off of a poorly loaded truck and hit another vehicle), the loading company might be held responsible. Like other possible defendants in a trucking case, the loading company can sometimes be difficult to hold accountable because it can be hard to prove that their actions (or inaction) led directly to an accident.
GOLDLAW Is The Right Choice For You
Our law firm has decades of experience helping clients with truck accident claims, and we know what it takes to get you the compensation you deserve. We’re the right choice for your truck accident claim because:
- We have resources and firepower. We have the financial resources that smaller firms don’t have, so we can battle the insurance industry.
- We fully understand the pain and anguish that brought you to reaching out and we want to help in any way we can.
- You will always know exactly where your case stands and who you can talk to when you have questions.
If you need help with a truck accident claim, contact GOLDLAW to schedule a free and confidential consultation.