Trucking Accident, Who is Responsible?

Trucking Accident, Who is Responsible?

There are many questions that surface when you are involved in a truck accident, especially if many people are injured by it. One question that surfaces could be what has actually caused this truck to roll over causing it to create a fatal accident? Is the government at fault for not correcting potholes or removing debris from the roads? Or is the driver at fault? Or is the company at fault? There are many players involved and our lawyers can investigate what could have gone wrong prior to the accident. Don’t hesitate and contact us, our attorneys are experts in trucking accidents: 833-ACTS-LAW.

Laws Governing Trucking Industry
There are Federal laws that control the trucking industry, which both the companies and the drivers must meet. From these regulations, our lawyers can determine who is responsible for the accident.

Here are a few examples:

Hours of service regulations
No driving beyond the 14th consecutive hour after 10 consecutive hours off duty.

Drug and alcohol testing
Drivers must comply with pre-hiring drug/alcohol tests, spontaneous tests, and tests after serious accidents.

Cargo loading
Trucking companies must obey with specific cargo loading rules depending on the size, materials and the weight.

Logbooks/Document Retention
Most drivers must maintain electronic logbooks that serve as records documenting the drivers’ behaviors and activities.

Vehicle maintenance
Necessitate regular maintenance and inspections of trucks and other commercial vehicles.

Our lawyers can investigate and find several forms of evidence to support your claims. For instance, we can investigate:

Police reports
Logbooks
Eyewitness accounts
Black boxes etc.

All these examples could provide the defendant with proof of negligence and thus strengthening the chance of a settlement in their favor.

There are different agencies that regulate truck driving these include US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). However, your lawyers will be able to inform you of what set of trucking regulations your state enforces.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
This will be one of the most major questions running through the minds of trucking accident victim. There are many pawns that could be responsible:

The driver of the truck
The owner of the truck
The company that leased the truck or trailer from the owner
The person who manufactured the vehicles, whether it be the tires or other parts of the vehicle that contributed to the severity of the accident.
The shipper/loader of the truck’s cargo
There will most likely be some dispute between the trucking, hauling and leasing companies over whose insurance will compensate the victim or victims.

TYPES OF TRUCK ACCIDENTS
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2015 there were 85,000 trucks involved in accident incidents and 4,050 involved in fatal incidents. This statistic brings to light the trends. In order to learn who was responsible and to piece the puzzle of your individual claims, a better understanding of the types of truck accidents is beneficial.

Overturn (rollover)
The truck rolls over if the driver is speeding takes a curve to fast or trips on potholes, debris or curbs.

2. Jackknife
The truck swings out at a sharp angle in shape of a jackknife. This occurs when the driver uses inappropriate braking techniques

3. Rear-end
The truck follows too closely or is distracted whilst driving. (A trucks stopping distance is 5 times greater than an average car’s stopping distance)

4. Underride
Opposite of a rear-end collision. Passenger vehicle rear-ends a truck. The passenger vehicle can be crushed by a trailer truck once under it. One of the most devastating accidents.

5. Blind spot
Drivers of passenger vehicles drive in the blind spot of the truck driver which causes merge or sideswipe accidents.
There are a number of differences between the way a truck is driven in comparison to other vehicles. Some of these differences even boil down to the type of training that is taken to be able to drive a truck in comparison to the test taken to drive a car. Simple human error behind the wheel has dire repercussions to other road users. However, almost all truck crashes are preventable with the utmost care and precaution.

CAN THE TRUCKING COMPANIES AVOID LIABILITY?
There have been events in the past where this has occurred. The trucking companies do this by distancing themselves from their drivers, the vehicles and the equipment.

The company obtains necessary permits to operate trucks. (Most times the company doesn’t own the trucks.
Leases pieces of equipment, tractors, and trailers from the “owner/operator”. (Some companies do not directly employ the drivers)
Hire them as independent contractors from the owner
The trucking company gives the owner a “placard” (includes the name of the trucking company and permit numbers)
To make it seem like the truck and driver are owned by the same trucking company the “placard” is fixed to the door of the vehicle.

Thus if the trucking company is sued, due to an accident that occurred with their truck they could argue that either the driver was not an employee of the company or that the equipment of the vehicle was not owned by the company. Either way in both cases the company is not liable for paying compensation to the victims.

Fortunately, under the current federal regulations, truck companies who own a permit that is involved in an accident is liable, and therefore responsible for the accident. This is regardless of whether the information on the permit and the information on the lease add up or not.

Our experienced lawyers will help you to understand your rights, give sound but honest advice about the value of your claim and aggressively stand up to any company’s intimidating strategies. We are at your service and ready to give personalized attention and advice. Contact us for a consultation today by calling 833-ACTS-LAW.

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