Liability and Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents often leave victims seriously injured. A fully loaded tractor trailer can weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds, which far outweighs the average passenger vehicle that measures an average of 4,000 pounds. When cars and trucks collide, catastrophic injuries and fatalities are common.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can happen at any time, even when the truck driver is well trained and operating their rig with caution. The most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Reckless driving
- Blind spots
- Lane changes
- Failure to obey traffic signs and signals
- Driver error
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving under the influence of over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs
- Worn brakes
- Cargo that exceeds maximum weight limits
- Unstable cargo
- Manufacturer and design defects
- Poorly trained drivers
- Tire blowouts
- Inclement weather
Most truck accidents are preventable, yet these types of accidents have risen 20 percent over the past 20 years. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported close to 5,000 fatalities and 130,000 injuries from truck accidents in just one year.
Types of Truck Accidents
There are several types of truck accidents that can occur, such as:
- Underride accidents
- Rear-end collisions
- Runaway trailers
- Lost loads
- Wide-turn collisions
- Head-on collisions
- Side-impact accidents
Truck accident victims suffer a wide range of injuries when these types of accidents happen. The most common injuries include traumatic brain injuries, head, neck, and shoulder injuries, spinal injuries, severe cuts and lacerations, burns, broken bones, and disfiguring scars.
Liability in a Truck Accident
A commercial truck driver and the owner of the truck have a legal responsibility to ensure their rig is safe and free from unnecessary hazards. They must also ensure that their drivers are properly trained and in compliance with federal trucking laws issued by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and FMCSA. Each individual state’s DOT sets their own laws and regulations regarding commercial trucking.
When a driver or a fleet owner fails to comply with state or federal laws, they can be held liable for all injuries and damages suffered in a truck accident. Claims can be made against a truck driver or fleet owner when negligence causes a truck accident. Liability claims can also be made against the manufacturer of the truck’s parts or tires, the shipper or loader of the truck’s haul, and the company that leased the truck from its owner.
A truck driver can be held liable for a truck accident that occurs due to drowsy driving if they were noncompliant with federal and state limits on the number of continuous hours of driving allowed. The fleet owner can also be held liable because they did not hold the driver accountable for their driving logs stating hours driven.
The manufacturer and distributor of faulty brakes on a truck can also be held liable if a truck accident happens due to faulty or defective equipment. The fleet owner may also be liable if they failed to complete routine inspections and regular maintenance that would have prevented the accident.
Consultation with an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
Large trucking companies often fight liability claims in truck accidents. The average person injured in a trucking accident is often unaware of the most recent federal and state laws governing the trucking industry. They may also be unprepared to go up against the large legal teams ready to defend the truck driver or fleet owner as well as their insurance companies that are poised to dispute their claims.
Victims of truck accidents need to consult with an experienced truck accident lawyer to ensure that their legal rights are protected, and that they claim the maximum amount of compensation available to them. A reputable truck accident lawyer will be able to navigate the complex laws surrounding the trucking industry and work to claim the compensation victims deserve.
Compensation for truck accident injuries can include current and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning potential, pain and suffering, and wrongful death. Insurance companies notoriously fight truck accident claims and often try to arrange out of court settlements that leave the injured victim in a vulnerable financial situation. A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer can fight to claim the maximum amount of compensation available under the law.
Monmouth County Truck Accident Lawyers at the Falcon Law Firm, LLC Help Victims of Truck Accidents Claim Compensation
If you were injured in a truck accident, you may be eligible for compensation. Our accomplished Monmouth County truck accident lawyers at the Falcon Law Firm, LLC will evaluate your case and fight for the justice you deserve. Contact us online or call us at 732-660-1200 to schedule a free consultation today. With offices conveniently located in Oakhurst, Parlin, and Aberdeen, New Jersey, and Doylestown, Pennsylvania, we proudly serve clients in Belmar, Deal, Ocean Township, Point Pleasant, West Long Branch, Sayreville, Middlesex County, and Monmouth County, New Jersey, as well as Bucks County, Pennsylvania.