If a 270-pound NFL linebacker collided with a 135-pound high school punter, who would come out of the collision with more injuries? You don’t need a physics degree to answer that question. Now imagine a large 18-wheeler colliding with a small commuter car. The linebacker weighs twice as much as the punter, while a fully loaded semi-truck weighs over 20 times as much as the typical car.
When a heavy commercial truck is involved in an accident, the results can be devastating. A trucking accident can take a huge toll on both your vehicle and your body. But trucking accidents can be tricky. Read this blog to learn more about the essential details in a trucking accident lawsuit and how you can give yourself the best chance to win your case.
Overview of Trucking Accidents
If the damage caused by a commercial truck collision is clear, why would the lawsuit be complex? Part of the problem is liability. In the typical traffic accident, a lawsuit involves the two drivers and their insurance companies. But in a trucking accident, the question of who is responsible becomes more convoluted.
In a commercial vehicle collision, it could be the truck’s driver who is responsible. However, the responsible party could also be the owner of the truck, the company who hired the truck driver, the manufacturer of the truck, or even the company that loaded the truck’s goods. Sometimes, all these different parties try to point the blame at one another to avoid responsibility.
The cause of the accident also influences the case. While a trucking accident can occur for a variety of reasons, two of the most common causes for trucking accidents are driver error and mechanical failures.
Accidents Caused by Driver Error
While weather conditions and vehicle performance can cause accidents, the majority of trucking collisions happen because of a driver error.
Driver fatigue causes a lot of crashes. Truck drivers often drive for long hours and feel pressure to make shipments on time. When drivers are tired, they react more slowly to dangerous situations or sometimes even fail to react. Even a slightly slower reaction time can yield destructive consequences.
Government regulations have established rules about the number of consecutive hours a truck driver can work or how many consecutive days in a row they can work. Drivers are supposed to log the amount of hours they spend behind the wheel each day. However, even if the information is missing or inaccurate, other evidence can point to a violation of federal regulations on driver hours of service.
Driver error can also result from prescription drug use. Many drugs warn against using heavy machinery or driving while using the drug, but some drivers ignore those warnings. If a driver hasn’t received a medical pass to use a prescription drug while driving, they could be putting other drivers at risk.
Just as with other drivers, if a truck driver causes an accident because they were ignoring traffic laws, that driver can be held responsible. A speeding truck creates a lot of momentum, so a quick stop in an emergency becomes much more difficult. Sometimes inexperienced drivers might take a turn too fast and cause a rollover.
Accidents Caused by Mechanical Failures
Sometimes your injury claim might result from a truck’s mechanical failure. But even something like a brake malfunction could be the responsibility of various parties.
For example, the brake manufacturer could be at fault if they didn’t meet federal regulations with their brake design. Likewise, the manufacturer could be held liable if there was a flaw in the manufacturing process.
On the other hand, the driver or shipping company could be at fault in some cases. If the driver unhooked their front brakes to save some money, the law could hold him or her responsible for the brake failure-if the brakes aren’t installed and used as designed, it’s not the manufacturer’s fault. The trucking company and driver should also perform regular inspections to check for working brakes and proper tire pressure. If the truck isn’t properly maintained, it becomes a serious hazard to other drivers.
Your Personal Trucking Accident Case
If you’ve been involved in a trucking accident, the right lawsuit can assure you that justice is served and award you the compensation you need to recover physically and financially. But you need to act quickly. Information is invaluable for building a case, and info from driving logs or data from tracking equipment can quickly be erased to your detriment. If more precise and reliable information is unavailable, you’ll have to rely on weaker evidence, such as witness statements, to make your case.
As you can see, it’s tricky to navigate around the different parties and collect the relevant evidence for a trucking accident claim. Contact a personal injury lawyer for help. He or she will have the sources and experience to make sure your case has the best chance to succeed.