The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Transportation, establishes rules and regulations related to the trucking industry. While these rules and regulations are intended to keep the roadways safe, many truck drivers opt to ignore safety guidelines and laws established for their safety, and the safety of others on the road. Trucking accidents can be catastrophic, leaving motorists severely injured or dead.
Statistics show that an accident involving a semi-truck or commercial truck is 10 times more likely to result in a death than a typical car accident between vehicles. Knowing the most common causes of trucking accidents, and liability for injuries can help you either avoid an accident or know what to do if you are ever involved in an accident with a semi-truck.
Trucking Accidents Caused by Truck Drivers
The number of trucking accidents has increased by 20 percent in the past two decades. The business model involving commercial truck drivers requires constant shipments of products to be made to obtain profit. While there are inherent dangers due to the vast size and weight of commercial trucks and semi-trucks themselves, there are also other dangers in driving these massive vehicles. Some common accidents that are the fault of the truck drivers include:
Inadequate or poor training regarding safety and driving of commercial trucks
Compensation structures and unrealistic schedules that reward faster speeds and more hours
Trucking Accidents Caused by Motorists in Passenger Vehicles
Trucking accidents are not always caused by commercial trucks, but rather passenger vehicles. Common accidents that are the fault of passenger vehicles include:
- Unsafe driving such as changing lanes abruptly, attempting to maneuver around a truck making a right turn, improper merging, misjudging a truck’s speed, failure to slow down or speed up around a truck that is changing or merging lanes, passing unsafely
- Driving between large commercial trucks
- Abandoning a passenger vehicle in a travel lane or not moving a vehicle off the roadway
- Driving in a “no-zone” which is the area beside and behind a commercial or semi-truck where the driver has either limited or no visibility
Liability in Trucking Accidents
Several different parties can have liability for a trucking accident. The most common parties to have liability include:
- The driver of the passenger vehicle
- The driver of the truck
- The owner of the truck or trailer
- The person (or company) that leased the truck from the owner
- The shipper or loader of the truck’s cargo (as the cargo may have been loaded incorrectly and unsafely)
- The manufacturer of any defective part or component of the truck that was a cause of the accident
As expected, companies will argue over who has liability and whose insurance company will have to pay for any injuries suffered due to the trucking accident. However, federal laws have halted the ability of trucking companies and owners to shift blame and remove themselves from liability.
Under the current federal laws, any trucking company that has trucking permits is responsible for any accident that involves a truck with its name or placard displayed.
Contact an Experienced Trucking Accident Lawyer
If you, or a loved one, was injured in an accident with a commercial truck or semi-truck, you may be facing a life-long disability, permanent injury or even wrongful death. Contacting an experienced trucking accident lawyer can help you understand your rights. We welcome you to call us for a free, no-obligation consultation and evaluation by a knowledgeable lawyer. Learn more about what you can expect when you call and about our experience, reputation and commitment to our clients.