According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration best known for its figures, 3,590 large trucks were involved in fatal accidents and 104,000 people were injured in commercial truck accidents in 2017. Commercial trucks with 10,000 pounds or more are rated as a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight (PBV). For comparison, the average passenger vehicle weighs around 4,000 pounds, while an 18-wheeled tractor-trailer truck can come in at 80,000 pounds – 20 times more than a car.
Largely due to this drastic difference in size and weight, when accidents between trucks and other vehicles occur they are serious or fatal. Most of the victims, dead and seriously injured, are found in vehicles other than the truck.
Truck accidents are generally more serious and complex than car accidents, especially if a wrongful death claim must be filed due to a fatality. For this reason, it is vital that you consult an experienced and knowledgeable truck accident injury attorney who knows how to litigate in these types of cases.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can be caused by a multitude of factors, including driver negligence and human error. The most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Excess cargo shipped, or incorrect loading practice
- Vehicle overturning caused by reckless or careless driving
- Lack of attention to other vehicles
- Failure to comply with road transport regulations
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Inadequate driver training
- Lack of safety programs by the trucking company
- Inspection and improper maintenance of trucks
How can a truck accident attorney help you?
When you bring your truck accident case, expert attorneys will start working on your case immediately. In every case, the best truck accident attorneys will take all necessary steps to ensure a successful outcome, including:
- Investigate the accident. Your attorney will restore your accident by reviewing police reports, accident scene photos, examining your medical history, collecting witness statements, consulting with experts, and possibly hiring a private investigator. Your attorneys will also examine whether the number of hours on the road by the driver exceeds the time allowed by federal and state law.
- Dealing with insurance companies. Taking advantage of the information gathered during the investigation, your truck accident attorney will begin negotiations with the insurers, in order to find a fair solution for you.
- Negotiations with the company that owns the truck. In addition to negotiating with the insurance company, your personal injury attorney will contact the company that owns the truck that employs the truck driver and will act as your legal representative during the negotiation process to reach a resolution of the case. Your attorney will also ensure that the transportation company does not destroy important evidence for the case.
- Appearing in Courts. If negotiations with insurance companies or the company that owns the truck are not successful or insufficient, our expert attorneys are fully prepared to fight for your right to compensation. Hiring an experienced litigation attorney ensures that a fair settlement offer will be obtained from insurance companies which prefer to pay to avoid going to trial.
Compensation and Guilt
The FMCSA states that truck, tractor-trailer, and commercial vehicle drivers are required to obey special guidelines that protect other vehicles. These include control of maximum speed limits, consecutive driving time, registration requirements, weight and load, alcohol and drug use, and other important safety factors.
If a truck driver fails to comply with these and other federal regulations and an accident occurs as a result, then the driver and the company that owns the truck may be held liable for damages or injuries caused by this negligence.
There may be multiple perpetrators found guilty in a truck accident, including:
- Truck Driver’s Employer
- The company that owns the truck
- The manufacturer
- The municipality in which the accident occurred
- Another vehicle/driver involved in the accident
Compensation for injuries sustained in a truck accident can be awarded for damages such as current and future medical bills, total loss of the vehicle, lost wages, loss of work capacity, pain and suffering, wrongful death and other damages.