Most truck drivers are thoroughly trained and skilled professionals. The vast majority of drivers show tremendous care and concern for all other road users and do their best to drive as safely as they possibly can.
Many of the truck drivers out on the road today have endured months of training in order to prepare themselves for their positions. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), “Most drivers must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) through their home state. In addition, special endorsements may be required if you or your company drivers will be driving any of the following vehicles:
- A truck with double or triple trailers
- A truck with a tank
- A truck carrying hazardous materials
- A passenger vehicle”
In fact, some studies show 70% of accidents that commercial trucks are involved in are caused solely by passenger vehicle drivers. By stark contrast, truck drivers are responsible for 16% of the accidents they are involved in, and both passenger vehicle and truck drivers make mistakes leading to crashes 10% of the time.
It’s also important to note that passenger vehicle occupants are nearly 40 times more likely to die in tractor-trailer accidents than truck drivers.
When tractor-trailers are involved in accidents, there are a number of parties who may be held liable for damages, depending on the particular circumstances of the crash. Below, we have outlined the various parties who may be held accountable for incurred losses in a collision.
THE TRUCK DRIVER
There are several reasons why a truck driver may be held responsible for an accident, including:
- Violating the law
- An operational issue within the truck
- Distracted driving
Additionally, there are other factors that can heighten the chances of a trucker’s involvement in a crash, including:
- Long hours in a single trip
- Nighttime driving
- Fatigued driving
- Certain health conditions
Again, most truck drivers are responsible professionals who hold themselves accountable to practice safe habits for the benefit of everyone on the road. But as with everything else in life, there are outliers who don’t always pay the proper care and attention to safety.
THE TRUCKING COMPANY
Trucking companies may be at fault for accidents their drivers are involved in for a number of reasons, such as:
- Unfinished inspections
- Cutting corners around safety
- Unreasonable expectations encouraging drivers to push themselves further than they should in order to meet deadlines
When a trucking company is held responsible for a collision, it is usually a combination of blame between the trucking company and the manufacturer. This is often because faulty equipment is involved in the crash and risky shortcuts are utilized in order to further enhance speed.
Typically, when a trucking company is at fault for an accident, it can be difficult for an average layperson to recover compensation. These types of cases are highly complex and usually require expert testimony as well as other resources that only skilled personal injury attorneys tend to have access to.
If there’s a chance that a trucking company shares liability for a crash, it’s critical to seek immediate legal representation to investigate the case.
THE TRUCK OWNER
If the trucking company doesn’t retain ownership over the vehicle but instead utilizes it and is provided for use by a truck driver, then the owner may be responsible for a wreck. Truck owners typically are expected to adhere to the following inspection and maintenance requirements:
- Regular inspections
- Engine checks
- Tire upkeep
- Maintenance on the internal workings of the truck
The owner of the truck must maintain the parts needed for the following:
- Inner vehicle fluids
- Electronic system
The federal government has set strict regulations in place regarding inspecting and maintaining all commercial vehicles. If the standards administered by the government are not always diligently adhered to, the owner of the truck may be responsible for damages incurred in a resulting crash.
THE CARGO LOADERS
Sometimes, accidents happen as a result of the cargo that was loaded onto the truck. If the cargo was not adequately loaded, secured, and then thoroughly inspected, those who loaded the truck may be held liable for any collisions resulting from fallen cargo.
Some trucks may be made up of parts from several different manufacturers. If a part on the truck has a defect and the vehicle is involved in an accident as a result, the parts manufacturers may be held accountable for the crash.
A few malfunctions that could occur as a result of faulty parts include:
- Tire blowouts
- Mechanical failure
- Defective brakes
When a situation like this occurs, the parts manufacturers are often held reasonably responsible for providing damages to victims injured in the crash.
HAVING SKILLED REPRESENTATION ON YOUR SIDE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE OUTCOME OF YOUR CASE
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, it’s not a very good idea to try to handle the situation on your own. Accidents of this nature are often very serious and require the resources and knowledge of a skilled and experienced legal professional.
An accomplished truck accident attorney is able to deconstruct the crash to prove innocence on behalf of the injured victims. If you’ve been hurt in a commercial truck collision, you may be owed compensation for your substantial losses. Our team wants to see that you recover all of the funds you deserve for your suffering.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to our office at any time with the questions you may have. We are ready and available to help you now.