Big trucks carry big consequences. An auto accident involving a large commercial vehicle may involve catastrophic injuries or death. Time is critical after a truck crash, and the legal team at Horton & Mendez will act swiftly to investigate the accident and preserve evidence that may be crucial to receiving the compensation you deserve.
Truck drivers should be well-trained, but this is not always the case. There are a variety of other circumstances that could cause dangers on the road including improperly loaded cargo, driver fatigue, and more.
Suing at-fault parties for a truck accident can be complicated. Do you go after the driver? The trucking company? A third party?
What are Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the most common.
- Poorly Trained Drivers: A driver should be well trained before he or she gets behind the wheel of a truck. Unfortunately, many companies urgently need staff and put drivers on with minimal training, increasing the risk of an accident.
- Fatigued Drivers: It is not uncommon for companies to give drivers demanding schedules that cause them to drive through the night. Experts say that fatigued driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving when it comes to increasing the risk of an accident.
- Poorly Loaded Cargo: A truck’s cargo must be properly loaded and balanced. If it is not, it can spill into the road and cause an accident.
- Equipment Failure: Trucks have a variety of parts and functions. As such, they must be properly maintained. If they break down, it will result in a dangerous situation for the driver and others on the road.
- Not Obeying Traffic Rules: Truck drivers must be especially careful to obey the rules of the road by not speeding and obeying lights and signs. Failure to do so may result in an accident.
Common Types of Truck Accidents
Many types of truck accidents can happen on the road. Here are some of the most common.
- Jackknife: A jackknife accident occurs when the tractor-trailer in the rear of the truck comes out in front of the cab. This can block off several lanes of the freeway or street and result in a multi-car crash.
- Rollover: Trucks are heavy, and their weight can easily become unbalanced. This can result in a rollover accident which is quite dangerous.
- Underride Accidents: Underride accidents are one of the most dangerous accidents that can happen on the road. They occur when the truck stops short and the car behind them ends up driving under the truck. It can cause severe brain injuries and decapitation. Fortunately, most trucks now have side guards and rear guards installed to reduce the risk of underride accidents.
Who is Responsible for a Truck Accident?
Because a truck is a commercial vehicle, it can be difficult to determine who is at fault for an accident. Here are some parties that may be liable for damages.
- The Driver: The driver will be responsible for the accident if he or she exhibited reckless or negligent behavior on the road.
- Trucking Company: The trucking company may be at fault if they sent a driver out without the proper training or asked the driver to drive on a schedule that was too demanding. They may also be to blame if they failed to schedule maintenance on their vehicles and an equipment breakdown caused an accident.
- Maintenance Company: The maintenance company will be liable for damages if maintenance was scheduled but the company failed to take the proper steps to make sure the vehicle was safe.
- Manufacturing Company: If the truck had faulty equipment, the manufacturing company may be the target of a lawsuit. This may include the manufacturer of the truck itself and/or the company that made the parts that broke down.
- The Loading Company: In some instances, a truck company will hire a third party to load the freight onto the truck. If the freight is improperly loaded and causes an accident, the loading company may be responsible for compensating the victim for damages.
- The City or a Contractor: Accidents may also occur if there was debris on the roadway. If the debris was caused by nearby construction, the city or contractor may be at fault.
Truck Driving Rules and Regulations
Truck companies must adhere to certain rules and regulations to make sure drivers are driving safely. These include the following:
- All drivers are required to maintain a commercial driver’s license.
- All drivers must drive within the speed limit.
- Drivers cannot drive fatigued.
- Drivers cannot drive intoxicated.
- Drivers are responsible for regular brake and tire inspections.
- Trucking companies must make sure hazardous materials are properly labeled, categorized, described, packaged, and marked when they are being transported.
- Employees must submit to regular drug and alcohol testing.
- Trucks and drivers must be properly insured.
- Trucks must be maintained, and records of maintenance must be kept and organized.
- Employers must hire healthy, qualified, English-speaking drivers.
- Employers must keep a record of each driver’s route, hours, violations, accidents, and drug tests.
- Drivers cannot use cellphones or text while actively operating a vehicle.
If drivers or trucking companies fail to follow the rules and regulations listed above and their neglect results in an accident, they will be liable for damages.
Why Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys Can Help After Your Wilmington Truck Accident
The sooner you contact an attorney at Horton & Mendez, the sooner we can act to secure evidence and begin a prompt investigation into the cause of the accident.
We have years of experience representing clients in truck driving accidents in the Wilmington, North Carolina area. We are not afraid to go up against major trucking companies or their insurers. As former insurance defense lawyers ourselves, we can spot their shady tactics and get our clients the compensation they deserve.
A truck accident can result in debilitating injuries. Don’t let careless drivers and trucking companies get away with it. Call Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys for a free consultation and look forward to getting the closure you need to move forward with your life.