Truck accidents are defined as collisions between a large commercial vehicle, such as a tractor-trailer, bus or dump truck, and a small passenger vehicle. In 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that 4,311 large truck and bus accidents resulted in fatalities, with 87,000 large truck crashes causing injuries.The reason for the extreme danger of these crashes is the significant difference in size and weight between the vehicles in the accident and the often high rates of speed at which they occur.
Experienced Truck Accident Attorneys
Because trucking accidents are so different from other motor vehicle accidents, it’s critical that the personal injury law firm you choose be experienced in handling this type of injury claim. Because Hundley & Johnson has handled cases for many clients who have been injured in large commercial vehicle accidents, our personal injury lawyers are familiar with the federal regulations and special rules that govern the operation of these vehicles as well as the many other distinctive elements of these injury cases.
One problem that arises in truck accident cases is finding and preserving evidence. Many trucks are now outfitted with “black boxes,” much like airplanes. These boxes continuously record important information about the truck, such as whether the driver has braked or how long the truck has been running.
When victims try to represent themselves, they don’t know how to access this information. Less experienced attorneys, or those who rarely handle truck accident cases, also usually overlook key pieces of information such as this. At our firm, we can move swiftly to preserve evidence that can strengthen your case.
Differentiators of Truck Accidents
- There must be no delay in investigating these crashes. Natural forces, such as rain and wind, can eliminate physical evidence like skid and yaw marks, accident debris, and various fluid stains. Early investigation allows us to drug and alcohol test and gain eyewitness testimony, plus ensure driver’s logs are preserved.
- Multiple parties may be at fault, including truck driver, driver’s employer, the owner of the truck or lessee, shipper, loader, broker, mechanic, truck manufacturer and government entities. With so many parties involved, it is often necessary to sue more than one. For this reason, a truck accident is very different from a car accident. However, because so many defendants might be at fault for contributing to the accident, we can often get more compensation.
- State and federal trucking industry violations may be involved. These regulations often prove critical, since a violation of a regulation is strong evidence that the defendant has been negligent. As an example, regulations set out that employers must check the driver’s employment history and request a medical exam. If a trucking company skips these steps, then they have not been sufficiently care and could be found liable for a collision.
- The trucking company’s insurance providerwill work tirelessly to limit the company’s and driver’s liability. You need someone in your corner who is looking out for you.
Types of Fault in Truck Accidents
Including, but not limited to:
- Sudden braking
- Drug and alcohol use
- Being distracted
- Improper loading
- Negligent maintenance
- Mechanical defects
- Poor road conditions
Trucking companies can also be negligent in their hiring, training, and supervision of employees. These companies have very large insurance policies, so suing them often is ideal.
Tip: Driver Fatigue
While truck drivers are required to comply with specific Department of Transportation hours-of-service laws and record these hours in a logbook, some truck drivers will intentionally falsify their logbooks, or alter or destroy these books after an accident. There are many reasons why they do this. Many, undoubtedly, are under pressure from their employers to meet tight deadlines. Some might also be paid under the table for driving more than is legally allowed. An employer might even order that books be destroyed. The new black boxes on trucks are helpful because they are harder to falsify or tamper with.
Driver fatigue is a serious problem. Some drivers believe they can combat their fatigue by using over-the-counter medicines, which unfortunately is not true. Caffeine merely masks symptoms, it does not improve the ability to focus and make competent decisions.
Were You or a Loved One Injured in a Truck Accident?
You are not alone. Although you might be in considerable pain, and even if medical bills are mounting, help is available. If contacted immediately after a crash, Hundley & Johnson can often obtain possession of the logbook before tampering can occur, plus verify driving time by investigating routes, fuel and food receipts, etc.
Please reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation