Truck Accidents

Jan 02, 2019 By Roberto Vasquez Read in 7 minutes

A collision with a big truck, 18-wheeler, buses, and the like can be catastrophic and complex to pursue with a lawsuit.

A collision with a big truck, 18-wheeler, buses, and the like can be catastrophic. Because of the size and weight of a big rig, fatalities, and injuries are all too common.

In the last ten years, truck accidents have gone up by 10%. Common causes of truck accidents include "jackknifing," brake problems, and rollovers. Fuel fires are also more likely in truck accidents, which create a higher risk of burns than the typical range of accident injuries.

Truck accident claims can be very complicated. State laws differ, and many commercial trucks are subject to federal regulations. There can be many other parties involved in the case, besides the drivers and their insurance companies, who might not have your best interest in mind. Other responsible parties can include the truck owner, manufacturer, brake maker, trucking company, cargo owner, and more.

Being involved in an accident with a commercial truck brings a whole new set of circumstances than what you see in a typical car accident. The specific nature of these incidents and the strict laws governing the commercial trucking industry requires a trained professional that can help you understand what you are up against and provide the right tools and resources to handle your case effectively.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for governing commercial trucking laws and practices. According to their research, there are ten main factors involved in all truck accidents around the country:

  • Speed
  • Illegal drug use
  • Traffic congestion or existing accidents
  • Brake issues
  • Problems with the roadway
  • Driver unfamiliarity
  • Sudden, unexpected stops
  • Truck driver fatigue
  • OTC medications
  • Inadequate surveillance or monitoring tools

There are millions of commercial trucks on the road every single day across the country. Even the slightest loss of control or distraction can result in significant damages and deadly outcomes. Those damages usually affect the other vehicles involved. Because of the sheer size of these trucks, they are often left in better condition, and many truck drivers walk away from even the most severe accidents without a scratch. That is why you need a qualified truck accident lawyer on your side.

Causes of Truck Accident Injuries

As with any accident, there are some cases where the truck is at fault and some cases where another vehicle caused the crash. Determining fault in a truck accident claim is a big part of helping you get the outcome that you deserve. Truck drivers are held to a higher standard of laws and regulations while driving, as mentioned above. These regulations, however, aren’t always followed. Many truckers are paid by the load or the mile and will operate for longer periods of time to make more money. This is getting harder to do with electronic logs, but driver fatigue due to violating DOT (Department of Transportation) guidelines is still a leading cause of accidents involving semi trucks.

The negligence of a truck driver could also involve distracted driving. Distracted driving cases in all types of vehicle accidents, including truck accidents, have increased significantly since the introduction of smartphones. Although the FMCSA requires commercial drivers to utilize hands-free technology when they are behind the wheel, not everyone follows the rules. As a result, crashes involving truck drivers that are distracted behind the wheel are on the rise.

Aside from driver negligence, other causes may be involved in a truck accident. The vehicle itself could have experienced a defect that created danger or caused an accident. In some cases, a load is not balanced or loaded correctly, which can lead to dangerous weight shifts while the truck is going down the highway. Unsecured freight can also fall from trucks, damaging vehicles and injuring those in passing cars, and often leading to multi-vehicle accidents that can close freeways down for hours at a time. With so many variables involved and unique considerations with truck accidents, it is essential to have a qualified trucking accident lawyer on your side when you are dealing with a commercial vehicle accident.

Truck Accident Liability

Commercial truck accidents can be the fault of many people or parties. Liability, which is the legal term for responsibility, will fall on whoever ultimately caused the crash. Some cases may involve multiple liable parties. For example, if a truck accident happened because a driver knowingly drove more hours than allowed by law at the instruction of their employer, both the driver and the trucking company could be held liable in a truck accident lawsuit. Contact a truck accident lawyer to learn more about determining liability and how you can prove who is at fault.

In a truck accident, liable parties could include:

  • The truck driver
  • The owner of the truck
  • The manufacturer of the truck or faulty parts
  • The company that owns or loaded the freight
  • The trucking company

By and large, driver negligence is the most significant cause in most commercial truck accidents. As many as 30% of all truck accidents result from driver fatigue. Of course, it may be necessary to hold other parties liable in your truck accident claim, as well.

A broker or carrier that is utilizing a trucking company to haul their product can be held responsible for truck accident injuries and damages if their product was involved in the cause of the accident. Load shifting, improper loading, and unsecured payloads are the most common instances of this type of liability. In this case, the driver would also be held liable because they must inspect and secure their loads before getting behind the wheel.

Our truck accident lawyers will examine all of the aspects of your accident to determine everyone that can be held liable. After all, everyone that is responsible should be held accountable. We will investigate things like axles, tires, maintenance logs, loads, and other elements that may point to liability on the part of the manufacturer or the trucking company. If a company doesn’t perform routine maintenance on its fleet and cannot produce proper maintenance logs, there could be a much larger settlement on your hands. They have to keep their trucks in safe operating condition at all times. When they fail to do so, accidents can happen and the outcome can be quite tragic.

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident

  • Take down the name, address, and insurance provider of the parties involved in the accident.
  • Document the scene of the accident with photos and try to retrieve contact information from witnesses
  • Before you make a statement to the insurance company, be sure to consult your attorney

Fighting a Truck Accident Case

To get the best outcome in your case, you need a truck accident law firm with experience and proven results in commercial truck accident lawsuits. Pursuing an accident of this magnitude can be a daunting task. There is so much more involved in a commercial truck accident than a typical passenger vehicle accident, and we understand how important it is to provide you with the right resources and information for your truck accident claim.

We understand the complicated nature of these accidents and will work with you to figure out fault and decide what to seek regarding damages when we attempt to settle your claim or take your case to court. We will help you identify all of the financial entities that may owe you money, including insurance companies for the broker or freight company that had their product on the truck. We can help you determine who should be held responsible and pursue a case against all parties involved in the liability surrounding a commercial truck accident.

Truck Accident Settlements

A trucking accident lawyer is a key to success in getting the settlement that you deserve. Many people take the first settlement that the insurance company offers them because they want to get the claim over with or they don’t know that they could be entitled to more. Keep in mind that these insurers are always trying to settle for the lowest amount, so you should never take their first offer. By hiring our truck accident lawyers, you can trust that you will get all the money that you are owed, from every possible source. Call us today to discuss your case.