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Whose Fault Is It in a Commercial Truck Accident?

In 2022, there were over 4,000 deaths and 117,000 injuries caused by accidents involving large trucks. Considering trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and the car weighs around 4,000 pounds, it’s not hard to imagine the catastrophic wreckage and fallout left behind following a collision. Victims of truck accidents are entitled to file compensation, which involves analyzing evidence to determine liability. However, truck accident fault isn’t clear-cut because the majority are commercial, meaning there are more parties than just the truck driver to investigate.

 

The Truck Diver

The most obvious party is the truck driver because they were behind the wheel, and in most cases, they do hold some or all of the liability. Truck drivers spend a lot of time on the roads and face a lot of pressure to complete jobs on time, which is why driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of commercial truck accidents. Other common causes include:

  • Driving under the influence. Drugs (both illegal and prescription) and alcohol impact concentration and inhibitions, which can lead to devastating crashes.
  • Many truck drivers speed to make up for lost time, but it often ends in tragedy.
  • Distracted driving. Smartphones, dash instruments, talking to passengers, or simply daydreaming for a second can be enough to cause a crash.
  • Failing to yield right-of-way. When making turns or lane changes, truck drivers often fail to give right-of-way.

A truck accident lawyer from our personal injury law firm will investigate the collision by analyzing police reports, speaking to witnesses, and liaising with experts. They will determine whether the driver is at fault and to what extent, and then they’ll go on to look at other factors that may contribute to the crash.

 

The Trucking Company

Trucking companies are required by law to keep their employees and the general public safe, which involves hiring competent drivers, keeping trucks in a safe condition, and ensuring drivers follow all safety regulations.

If a trucking company fails to meet its responsibilities, it can be held liable for the truck accident. Some more specific examples of trucking company negligence include:

  • Pressuring drivers to go against safety regulations. Despite federal working time rules, some trucking companies pressure their drivers to work varying shift patterns, which can lead to serious collisions.
  • Negligent training or hiring. All truck drivers must be trained to a high standard, and continued training must be evident. If a subpar driver causes an accident, the trucking company is largely to blame.
  • Failure to maintain vehicles. Trucks must be inspected regularly and maintained to a high standard. Any issues found must be repaired swiftly and the truck taken off the road until it is fixed. If your truck accident injury lawyer finds evidence of negligent maintenance, the trucking company is liable to pay compensation.

Cargo Loaders

Trucks carry cargo of varying weight and size, and it has to be secured in the trailer with the weight distributed evenly. However, when cargo loaders fail to load the truck correctly, the truck driver can lose control and veer into adjacent lanes of traffic.

Some of the most common examples of cargo negligence include:

  • Failing to secure the load. If cargo topples over mid-journey, it can cause the driver to lose control.
  • Overloading the truck. A truck carrying too much weight makes it more difficult to maneuver.
  • Failing to inspect the cargo. Damaged cargo is more likely to break free of the truck and cause catastrophic accidents.
  • Using faulty containment equipment. Just like the rest of the truck, equipment used to secure cargo must be maintained.
  • Loading the truck unevenly. A truck with an unbalanced trailer is more likely to tip over during transit.

Manufacturer of Truck or Components

Truck or truck component manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure all products leaving their factories are made to the best standards, which involves rigorous testing and solid infrastructures. However, many manufacturers cut corners during assembly or testing, which means unsafe trucks make their way onto the road. Sometimes, manufacturers will recall parts, but it’s often too late by that point.

If a truck manufacturing company is found to be at fault, your personal injury accident lawyer will work hard to build a concrete case that can be used to achieve a settlement. Alternatively, they will take your case to court and do everything in their power to win.

 

Agencies Responsible for Road Safety and Maintenance Inspections

Government agencies spread across the state are responsible for making sure roads are kept safe and well-maintained. However, instances of negligence like those listed below can lead to truck accidents:

  • Issuing licenses to unqualified drivers.
  • Failing to repair defects, like potholes.
  • Failing to enforce local traffic laws.
  • Not properly inspecting government vehicles for defects.

Unfortunately, government agencies are usually immune to lawsuits and criminal charges relating to road accidents. However, this all changes if we can find solid evidence of gross negligence and a failure to act within the confines of specific statutes.

 

Challenges Faced by Victims of Commercial Truck Accidents in Pursuing Compensation

Victims have a right to claim compensation following a commercial truck accident, but the road to success isn’t always plain sailing. However, Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys have years of experience with navigating the truck accident legal system, and we’ll fight in your corner every step of the way.

Some of the challenges we may face include:

  • The insurance company acting on behalf of the trucking company may try to settle for unreasonably low compensation.
  • The trucking company will have experienced lawyers who may try everything to have the lawsuit quashed.
  • The commercial truck accident may involve multiple parties, which makes determining liability a little more difficult, but it’s nothing we can’t handle.
  • The trucking and insurance companies may attempt to delay the lawsuit and argue that the victim was partially at fault.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident caused by a commercial truck, contact our legal team for a free consultation.