If you are the victim of a trucking accident, the questions of who is responsible and what actually caused the accident are often much more complicated than in a simple traffic accident. There are many players involved, from the driver to the owner of the truck, and getting information about what went wrong often requires some industry know-how.
Understanding the common reasons for trucking accidents, and the relationships among the persons and entities connected to the truck, the trailer, and the load, will help you determine whether you have a valid claim and how you will present your case.
Truck Accident Statistics
Over the past two decades, the number of truck accidents has increased by 20%. According to the Federal Motor carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2002, 4,897 individuals died and 130,000 people were injured in crashes that involved a large truck. And even though large trucks are only responsible for 3% of injury-causing motor vehicle accidents, trucking accidents typically cause much greater harm than ordinary traffic accidents due to the large size and heavy weight of most trucks.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
The most common causes of truck accidents are driver error prior to and during the trip, mechanical failures, weather conditions, road design, and traffic signal failures.
The most common cause of trucking accidents is driver error. In fact, drivers of large trucks are ten times more likely to be the cause of the crash than other factors, such as weather, road conditions, and vehicle performance, according to a recent study released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA found that the action or inaction by drivers was the critical reason for 88 percent of crashes.
The next most common cause of truck accidents is equipment failure. This can include manufacturing mistakes (defective tires) or design errors (failure to provide backing warning or object detection systems). However, most mechanical causes of truck accidents are caused by a failure to properly maintain the equipment
Federal and state regulations require that a certified truck inspector (usually a member of the reconstruction division of the state police) inspect any commercial truck and trailer involved in an accident before it is removed from the scene. This report reveals the condition of all of the important mechanical parts of the truck and trailer. These reports are not part of local police report. Instead, they must be obtained from the appropriate government agency.
Preserve Data From High Tech Devices
When a plane crashes, the first thing officials recover is the “black box” — a device that records data that assists with the investigation. The trucking industry is now using devices similar to black boxes that record all sorts of information, including how fast the truck was going, patterns of speed, when the driver used his or her breaks — and even how long the driver had been on the road.
If you are in a trucking accident, it is critical that you make sure data from high tech equipment is preserved. Otherwise, it might be erased as part of the regular routine of the company.
When trucking companies fail to meet their responsibilities, the Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess responds by aggressively seeking restitution for victims who have been seriously damaged by the companies’ negligence and disregard for safety. We have successfully represented numerous individuals in obtaining compensation after accidents involving commercial trucks. Call toll free at: (877) 234-7573, or we can be reached directly at our office in Shreveport Louisiana (318) 716-3109.
Laws Governing Truck Accidents
Federal laws and regulations govern the trucking industry. These laws establish certain standards that trucking companies, owners, and drivers must meet, and often determine who is responsible for a trucking accident.
Who Is Responsible?
When it comes to truck accidents, there is a web of players who may be responsible for a victim’s injuries, including:
- the truck’s driver
- the owner of the truck or trailer
- the person or company that leased the truck or trailer from the owner
- the manufacturer of the vehicle, tires, or other parts that may have contributed to the cause or severity of the accident, and
- the shipper or loader of the truck’s cargo (in cases involving improper loading).
The trucking, hauling, and leasing companies often argue among themselves over whose insurance will compensate the victim. For example, the truck company might claim that the accident was caused by defective brakes. In turn, the brake company might then point the finger at the leasing company, claiming that it failed to maintain the brakes in good working order.
Because the web of players in the trucking industry can be complicated and getting information from the right sources may require some industry know-how, it is very important to get advice or representation from a personal injury lawyer. Please contact the Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess. If our lawyers do not collect money damages for you, you don’t owe an attorney fee. We don’t get paid unless we successfully recover compensation for you and your family.
Contact us toll-free (877) 234-7573 for a FREE legal consultation. We are located in Shreveport Louisiana and can be reached directly at (318) 716-3109.