According to the Department of Transportation, there are at least 500,000 commercial truck accidents in the U.S. every year. These collisions are responsible for most of the fatalities that occur in road accidents, with the majority being the occupants of a passenger vehicle.
Truck companies are obligated to adhere to strict Federal and state regulations, and also tend to have strict rules that their employees must follow. Even so, these companies are also known to put into place impractical deadlines and commitments which leads many drivers into speeding on the roads, without sleep, just to reach their destination on time. Concurrently, there are many independent contractors who are paid per mile. In order to make a sufficient living as a privately contracted truck driver, fatigue and other negligent behaviors are all too common. Each of these careless actions increases the risk of a collision. When such incidents occur, the repercussions are often devastating.
Determining Who is Responsible for a Truck Accident
A majority of truck accidents involve negligence on part of the truck driver; however, he or she might not always be completely responsible. Determining who all the liable parties are can be a challenge which is why it is important to retain experienced truck accident lawyers. If any of the circumstances apply to your case, a lawyer may also hold the truck company, manufacturer, or distributor, for example, responsible:
- The truck was not maintained properly;
- The driver was not provided with enough training;
- The company failed to ensure the driver was licensed and trained;
- The company disregarded federal or state regulations;
- The company attempted to forge driver’s logs; or,
- The company attempted to destroy evidence.
In many of these scenarios, the responsibility of the accident falls first on the truck company and extends to the supervisors, dispatchers, crew, mechanics, and driver.
Determining Liability on Part of the Truck Driver
The truck driver is often, at least, partially responsible for a truck accident. Examples of negligence include:
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Driver aggression
- Driving under the influence
- Driving while intoxicated
- Poor driving decisions
- Failure to follow state or Federal regulations
- Eating while driving
When the driver is an employee or agent of a truck corporation, a lawyer will usually pursue compensation from the truck company. This is because a corporate truck company typically has enough insurance coverage to pay large settlements that are necessary for victims.
Filing for Compensation After a Truck Accident
When a commercial truck causes an accident and ultimately harm to another person, they have the right to file a lawsuit for their injuries and financial losses. These types of cases are often complex and require due diligence on part of a truck accident lawyer. Often, extensive litigation or negotiations with the insurance company of the truck corporation will be required.
To explore your legal options, call a truck accident lawyer Des Moines, IA trusts now.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Johnston Martineau, LLP for their insight into truck accidents and personal injury claims.