With an estimated 15.5 million trucks operating across the country, it is little surprise that they are a common sight on our roads. As much as we depend on the essential services these large vehicles provide, though, they pose a substantial risk.
In addition to property damage, trucking accidents often result in serious injuries or death for those involved. For survivors of a collision, there may be permanent disabilities, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substantial financial burdens to worry about.
If you or a family member has been involved in a trucking accident, the team at Judd Shaw Injury Law is here to help. We can investigate your case to identify potentially liable parties, such as the truck driver or trucking company, to help you recover maximum compensation. Call us today at 1-866-909-6894 for a free case review and consultation.
When the Truck Driver May Be Liable
As the person with control of the vehicle, the truck driver is often the first on the list of potentially liable parties in a truck accident. There are a number of unsafe driving practices that can cause a driver to contribute to a crash, including distracted driving, driving under the influence, drowsy driving, and reckless driving.
While it is a risk for any driver to be distracted behind the wheel, it is especially dangerous for a driver operating a large truck.
Distractions can include:
- Sending or reading a text message
- Talking on the phone
- Adjusting the radio
- Looking at the GPS
Being distracted for even a short period of time is not only dangerous but, in some cases, also illegal. If a distracted truck driver is to blame for your accident, he or she should be held responsible for the damages caused.
Driving under the influence
When a truck driver gets behind the wheel under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he or she puts the lives of others at risk. Studies show that alcohol and drug usage among truck drivers tends to be lower than among other groups, but it continues to be a concerning and deadly problem.
Certain prescription drugs can increase drowsiness and impair vision, affecting a person’s ability to drive. A truck driver may be held liable if he or she drives while using certain medications even if doing so is legal.
Anyone who has driven long hours, especially on highway roads, understands how easy it is to become drowsy while driving. Due to the amount of time spent on the road, commercial drivers such as truck drivers are at a higher risk for drowsy driving.
Drowsy driving is often just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, causing:
- Impaired judgment
- Slow reaction times
- Difficulty maintaining a lane
A truck driver may be found liable for an accident if he or she was engaged in reckless or aggressive driving.
This can involve a number of dangerous practices which can include:
- Brake checking
- Swerving into a lane
- Excessive speeding
- Following too closely
- Dangerous overtaking
When the Trucking Company May Be Liable
Often, the truck driver may not be the only liable party involved. In many cases, the trucking company may be found to be entirely or partially responsible for the accident. While investigating, your truck accident lawyer can determine whether the trucking company played a role in your accident.
Negligent hiring practices
Driving a large commercial truck is a large responsibility. For that reason, specialized training and experience are required for drivers of large trucks.
For most trucking companies, hiring trustworthy drivers is something that is taken seriously. However, with over 1 million trucking companies operating across the US, there are always some employers who prove to be negligent with hiring practices. If this was true in your case, the trucking company should be held responsible.
Federal regulations are in place to ensure commercial trucks are properly maintained. After all, a poorly maintained vehicle is more likely to cause an accident. Trucking companies are principally responsible for ensuring that the vehicles owned by the company are compliant with federal maintenance regulations.
The required maintenance program can include essential systems such as:
Your lawyer can carefully examine maintenance records to verify whether insufficient maintenance may have played a role in your collision.
Inappropriate working conditions
Another area in which some trucking companies are negligent is the working conditions of the drivers. In the interest of safety, drivers have strict regulations on the amount of hours they can work and the amount of rest they must have between each driving period.
In an effort to increase profits, however, some trucking companies may pressure or encourage drivers to exceed these limits. Mandatory driver log books may be inaccurate or improperly updated. Your trucking accident lawyer can look for signs of these dangerous and negligent practices related to your case.
When There Are Other Liable Parties Involved
At times, a third party other than the driver and trucking company holds some responsibility for the accident. This can happen in a number of situations – for example, when the cargo was improperly loaded, or when there was poor road design or maintenance.
Improperly secured cargo
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the FMCSA, has strict regulations in place for how different types of materials must be loaded and secured. Generally, the driver is responsible to ensure that the cargo he or she is carrying has been properly secured. However, there are some situations in which a third party is responsible.
For example, materials may be loaded when the driver is not present or otherwise unable to witness the process. The load may be then transported in a manner where the driver is unable to practically inspect it. In these cases, the shipper or another third party who loaded the cargo may be held liable if an improperly secured load caused an accident.
Negligent road design or maintenance
At times, the road itself may have caused or contributed to a crash. While it is impossible to completely prevent accidents from happening, roads are generally designed with safety in mind. If the road in particular was not designed in a safe manner, however, this can increase the likelihood of an accident taking place.
A decent road will have proper:
- Speed limits
In addition to the design of the road, poor maintenance can also contribute to an accident. In the case of negligent road design or maintenance, a government entity may be held responsible. A free consultation with the Judd Shaw legal team can help you understand the time limits and other factors that may affect your potential claim.
Judd Shaw Injury Law Can Help You With Your Trucking Accident
A trucking accident often leads to a long road to recovery. Along the way, you deserve to have peace of mind knowing that your expenses can be paid without putting a financial strain on your family. At Judd Shaw Injury Law, we believe that each of our clients deserve respect and a legal team that can deliver the WOW.
That is why we follow the Judd Shaw Way – and we are proud of it. When you need high-quality representation and personal service, call the team at Judd Shaw Injury Law. We are ready to hear your story, and our No Fee Guarantee® ensures that you won’t pay us anything unless you get money when we resolve your claim.
Contact us today at 1-866-909-6894 to schedule your free case review.