Nearly 3700 people die each year in collisions with heavy trucks (tractor-trailers or semis) and ninety-eight percent of the fatalities from these collisions are the individuals in the passenger car. One of every eight traffic fatalities is caused by a collision with a large truck.
Under the law, a driver of a large truck is considered to have an even greater standard of care than other drivers, because of the injuries that their large trucks can cause. Collisions caused by a trucker’s negligence can lead to the most catastrophic injuries on the road.
Trucking litigation involves claims against negligent truck drivers and the companies who hire them. Truck negligence cases generally fall into two categories: Driver error and Vehicle maintenance failure.
The most common cause of driver error is fatigue, which can cause clouded judgment, drowsiness, and falling asleep at the wheel. Driver error can also be due to inexperience, improper driver training and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (whether prescription or illegal). Often in trucking accident cases we find that the owner of the truck has violated important Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
Truck accident lawsuits tend to be far more complex than other vehicle accidents and require experienced legal counsel. The difficulty of handling trucking accidents is largely due to the following factors:
- Trucking companies and insurance adjusters realize the potential for major lawsuits when a truck accident is involved, so right after an accident, they quickly gather evidence and experts so that they can immediately begin to prepare their case.
- Determining who is liable can be difficult and complex, as follows:Driver Fatigue – this would likely be the driver’s fault, but may be the result of the truck owner requiring the driver to be on the road in excess of the time permitted by federal law.
- Overloaded Freight – this is usually the fault of the company the driver works for.
- Excessive Speed – both the driver and the company could be responsible for the wreck, if strict and unreasonable deadlines were set on the driver.
- Equipment Malfunction – the manufacturer of the defective truck part could be responsible.
- Improper Maintenance – the truck may not have received regular maintenance to ensure its safe operation
- Defective Tires – a tire manufacturer or distributor could be responsible.
- Failure to Follow State and Federal Regulations – this happens in the overwhelming majority of truck fatality cases, and makes the company that owns the truck legally responsible for its failure to follow the law.
We want to give you an overview of what will be involved in pursuing a trucking accident claim. We think it is very important that you have some idea of the process before you make a decision about whether to hire an attorney and if you decide to hire an attorney, which one to hire. Simply picking up the phone and calling the first 800 number with a caption that says, “Have You Been Injured? Call Now!” or “Get the Money You Deserve!” is not, in our opinion, the best way to make an informed decision about who to hire. Instead, contact us at 800-753-5359 or 806-376-8903 (Texas office) or 303-333-2200 (Colorado office).
If you or a loved one was in an accident with a truck which resulted in serious injury or the wrongful death and would like to discuss your case with one of our trucking accident attorneys please call 800-753-5359 or 806-376-8903 or contact us.