Truck accidents can cause catastrophic injuries. Considering that most commercial trucks weigh in excess of 70,000 pounds and most automobiles weigh closer to 3,000 pounds it is simple to understand why truck accidents can lead to such serious injury and even death. In 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 3,964 people killed and an estimated 95,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks. In the United States, an estimated 342,000 large trucks were involved in police-reported traffic crashes during 2013.
Causes of Trucking Accidents
Several factors commonly cause truck accidents. In cases where multiple factors combine to cause an injury, catastrophic results can occur. Some of the most common causes include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Driver fatigue
- Speeding or driving too fast for road conditions
- Inexperienced or improperly trained driver
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Driver driving under the influence
- Oversized or overloaded vehicle
- Inadequate or poorly maintained safety equipment on vehicle
- Poorly maintained brakes
Strict Trucking Regulations
The trucking industry is heavily regulated by the federal government. From how many pounds the trailers can hold to how many consecutive hours a driver can drive, lawmakers have understood the inherent danger associated with trucks sharing our roads and have provided injured persons with avenues to be made whole in the event of injury. Trucks and other commercial vehicles involved in interstate traffic are governed by the strict Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which specify how commercial vehicles should be maintained, driven, and loaded. An important requirement is that both drivers and their employers must keep detailed logbooks, including fuel receipts, maintenance records, and trip documentation for a specified period. If an accident occurs involving a particular vehicle, all records pertaining to that vehicle must be preserved. Unfortunately, however, trucking companies often illegally forge, alter, or destroy these documents after an accident.
Trucking accident victims may potentially recover damages from both the driver and the driver’s employer. There may also be other additional avenues for recovery. At Harrington, Thompson, Acker & Harrington, Ltd. (HTAH), we are also experienced products liability lawyers. We will fully investigate each case, and if we believe accident was partially or completely caused by third party error such as a defective product, we will seek recovery from the manufacturer and/or mechanic who improperly made, installed, or maintained the item.
Seek Experienced Representation
Due to the often catastrophic nature of trucking claims, transportation employers and their insurers quickly send representatives to accident scenes to investigate. Evidence should be preserved quickly and efficiently on behalf of the injured persons involved.
For these reasons, you should consult and consider retaining an attorney as soon as possible subsequent to a trucking crash. The attorneys and investigators at Harrington, Thompson, Acker & Harrington, Ltd. have years of experience litigating trucking claims, finding additional layers of insurance coverage for injured individuals and ensuring just and complete compensation for their clients.
If you or a family member has been injured in a trucking accident you should take action quickly and contact us online or call us at 800-828-5828 to set up a free consultation with an experienced lawyer.