Big commercial trucks, like semi-trucks, 18-wheelers or tractor-trailers are an important part of the state’s economy. All motor vehicle crashes are upsetting, but those which involve a truck often result in serious and sometimes fatal injuries. If you were injured in an accident which involved a truck, it is important to determine who or what was the cause of the accident so that you can claim compensation from the right party.
Why truck crashes are dangerous
Because of their great size and weight accidents involving trucks can be catastrophic. The U.S. Department of Transportation states that the average large truck can weigh from 10,000 to 80,000 pounds and it can be up to 65 feet in length. By way of comparison the average passenger car can weigh between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds and is between 12 and 18 feet long. A commercial truck driver sits far higher off the road than anyone in a passenger vehicle. In a few cases, the height difference may result in an under-ride collision which is when a car ends up beneath a truck.
The contributing factors to a truck accident
The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) states that it is human error that causes almost all motor vehicle accidents including those involving trucks. However, there are several factors involved that could contribute towards an accident such as icing up of roads that drivers suddenly encounter and were not aware of earlier.
The following are the main causes of a truck accident caused by the truck driver:
Speeding which causes accidents because the truck driver is unable to stop in time if a hazard makes its presence;
- Distracted driving through eating, drinking, and the use of a cell phone for talking or texting. A distracted driver often fails to obey traffic signals and doesn’t safely respond when a change in traffic conditions takes place;
- Driver fatigue imposes risks to all other road users despite the fact that commercial trucking regulations restrict the amount of time a driver may spend on the road without taking a break. It is pressure from employers to meet deadlines that may cause a truck driver to change the details on his/her record card. Since 2017 there has been a federal law in place that requires all trucks to carry an electronic logging device which records time on the road.
- Drunk driving is a common problem amongst truck drivers despite laws, standards, and regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and fatal accidents happen if a truck driver injures someone after losing control due to the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Poor truck maintenance can lead to a serious accident. Failure to correctly maintain a truck could lead to tire blowouts, brake failure and broken lights.
Who’s liable in a truck accident?
In a personal injury claim when the injury was due to the truck driver’s actions it is important that all parties involved are considered. It could be any of the following:
The truck company
A truck company may be held liable for the negligence of a truck driver’s action in some cases such as:
- When hiring, training, and supervising truck drivers’ federal regulations demand that truck companies perform background checks on every driver before a hire takes place. Drivers need to be trained properly and must be competent to carry out pre-trip inspections on their trucks such as the coupling and decoupling process, reversing, and maneuvers at close-quarters. Employers are required to adequately supervise all of their drivers to make sure they are compliant with all safety rules.
- Failing to carry out regular inspection and maintenance of trucks by truck companies can lead to devastating accidents.
- Incorrectly loading of cargo may lower a driver’s ability to maintain control of his/her truck and may cause the load to fall off or if the cargo shifts it heightens the risk of a jackknife or rollover accident.
The truck manufacturers
The truck and parts manufacturers, distributors, and/or retailers may be held liable if a truck or defect in a part contributed to the accident. Malfunctioning of brakes, tire blowouts, and defective steering often cause truck accidents.
Other parties could also be liable
Any truck mechanic who inadequately maintains a truck could also be implicated in a truck accident.
Contact Nashville Injury Attorney if you have been involved in a car or truck accident
You are more likely to recover compensation from an at-fault truck driver’s insurer if you use an experienced truck accident attorney. Keith Williams and his team at Nashville Injury Attorney have built a solid reputation for successful truck accident claims. They have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for their many clients. Ring the office for an online or phone appointment at 615-965-6546.