Commercial vehicles haul everything from furniture to petroleum and play a vital role in the economy. Since these trucks weigh 20-30 times more than a standard passenger vehicle, if they collide with smaller vehicles, bicycles, or pedestrians, the victims can sustain severe injuries or death. One of the major reasons for truck accidents is driver negligence. You can continue reading to learn more about truck driver negligence and how T. Madden & Associates can help.
Types of Truck Driver Negligence
- Inadequate Training: Learning to drive a truck is challenging. If the truck driver doesn’t have enough training, they might not have the skills to handle the truck, especially in challenging driving conditions.
- Aggressive Driving: Truck drivers often have to cover long distances to meet tight deadlines, which can make them increase the vehicle speed or drive aggressively. This can result in tailgating, running red lights, swerving, or changing lanes at high speeds. In addition, larger vehicles are more difficult to control at higher speeds, especially when loaded with cargo.
- Distracted Driving: The slightest driver distraction can turn a safe journey into a disaster. A truck driver getting distracted could result in severe consequences. Common driver distractions include using a cell phone, trying to reach something, eating, or drinking.
- DUI: Alcohol or drugs can impair the ability of the driver. It is extremely negligent behavior by a truck driver if they drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Negligence in Truck Maintenance: Truck drivers should ensure their vehicles are maintained to meet minimum safety standards. If the truck has issues, they should promptly inform their employers or whoever is responsible for the truck’s maintenance.
- Overloading: Overloading can destabilize the truck, making it challenging to control, especially at higher speeds or when turning. It is the truck driver’s responsibility to ensure they are not driving an overloaded truck. Not doing this would be considered truck driver negligence.
- Fatigue: The Federal Motors Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict guidelines regarding the service hours of commercial truck divers. If a truck driver violates these federally mandated HOS (hours of service), they can be penalized. More importantly, they risk their safety and the safety of others around them if they are too tired to drive.
Consequences of Trucker Driver Negligence
Truck accidents cause a significant number of injuries and deaths on the road. In addition, the injuries suffered in truck accidents are often more severe and, in some cases, can lead to long-term disability such as paralysis or amputation.
Other common injuries from truck accidents include fractures and broken bones, disfigurement, cuts and lacerations, soft tissue injuries, and traumatic brain injuries.
People involved in truck accidents can suffer from emotional trauma like high stress, anxiety, and depression because they have difficulty coping with the aftermath of the accident. For instance, serious injuries can result in a loss of quality of life or earning potential, which can affect mental health.
A serious truck accident can also result in a significant financial burden on the victim because of high medical expenses. Negligent truck drivers can also cause significant property or vehicle damage. When larger vehicles such as commercial trucks are involved in accidents, the truck could block the road causing a traffic jam.
Is It the Fault of the Truck Driver or Trucking Company?
Truck drivers can be at fault if they exceed the federally mandated service hours or violate the traffic laws, such as speeding, aggressive or reckless driving, DUI, distracted driving, etc.
The trucking company would be at fault if they failed to provide their drivers with adequate training, provide regular maintenance checks on the trucks, or they push the truck drivers to drive more hours within a day than recommended by the FMCSA.
Sometimes the liability extends beyond the truck driver or the trucking company. For example, if a third party is responsible for the maintenance of the truck, they can be held liable. Likewise, the truck manufacturer could also be held responsible for an accident caused by a manufacturing defect in the vehicle. Sometimes the accident can be caused by poor road conditions, and a government entity can be held responsible.
Unfortunately, determining liability in a truck accident is often very difficult. Therefore, it is best to hire an attorney to help you establish liability.
How to Prove Truck Driver Negligence
To prove the truck driver was negligent and caused the accident, you would have to gather evidence such as medical records, police reports, surveillance footage, witness testimony, and more.
If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident that involved a negligent truck driver, you should document your injuries and get medical attention. You should then hire an attorney to maximize your chances of a favorable settlement from the insurance company or a verdict from the court.
Contact an Attorney
Attorneys understand the importance of filing a lawsuit within the state’s statute of limitations. They can guide you to the best legal route with the best chance of getting full and fair compensation for your damages.
A Jonesboro personal injury lawyer can help you gather solid evidence to support your claim or lawsuit and get expert witnesses, such as a trucking safety expert, to testify in court. Contact us at T. Madden & Associates, P.C. if you need legal guidance on an accident that involved a negligent truck driver.