Accidents involving trucks generally cause more severe injuries than collisions
involving only automobiles. While trucking accidents make up a small percentage
of all accidents, the consequences can be severe. Over the last decade
from 2002 to 2012,
trucking accident fatalities have decreased by 17% from 4,587 to 3,802.
Being informed about trucking accidents and liability can help you determine
if you have a case and how to make your case if you have been involved
in an accident. An
experienced truck accident lawyer can help you better understand the claims process and provide support
as you walk through the process.
Laws Governing the Trucking Industry
Federal laws that create standards under which the industry must operate
govern the trucking industry. Trucking companies, the owners of these
companies, and truck drivers are governed under these regulations written
out in Title 49 in the Code of Federal Regulations. Each state also has
a department of transportation, which governs state-specific trucking
Causes of Truck Accidents
Mistakes on the part of the driver are the most common cause of accidents
involving trucks. A
report released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration revealed that
truck drivers are ten times more likely to be the cause of an accident
when compared to other factors and that driver mistakes are involved in
88% of trucking accidents. Driver error includes:
- Driving under the influence (oftentimes prescription drugs are involved
- Distracted driving,
- Driving an unknown road,
- Most commonly, fatigue and lack of sleep.
Following driver error, mechanical failure is the next common most cause
of trucking accidents. Defective parts, manufacturing or design errors,
or a failure to maintain equipment may cause mechanical failures. Examples
of mechanical failure include:
- Problems with brakes: problems in front brakes can cause jackknifing. Failure
to perform adjustments make cause brake failure,
- Worn tires causing a blowout,
- Errors in loading leading to a rollover accident,
- Poorly attached trailer,
- Poor rear and side lighting,
- Transmission failure,
- Problems with steering.
Following a truck accident, it can be difficult to determine who is responsible
for the accident and subsequent injuries. Responsibility may be on the
truck driver, the owner of the truck, the individual or company that leased
the truck, the manufacturer of truck parts, or the loader of the cargo
in the truck. Under federal law, trucking companies are liable for accidents
involving a truck on which the company’s placard or name is displayed.
In the past, trucking companies attempted to separate themselves from
liability by leasing trucks and hiring independent contractors but current
law holds companies responsible regardless of lease agreements and whether
or not the driver was independently contracted.
Contact Goldstein & Hayes, P.C.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident involving a truck, you
may be able to hold those responsible for losses related to medical bills,
lost income, and pain and suffering. Experienced Atlanta metro area attorneys
at Goldstein & Hayes can help you understand how to file a claim following
the accident. It is critical to receive guidance from a knowledgeable
attorney, so please
contact us today for a free consultation.