Given the large size of the trucks, the lengthy hours that drivers are on the road and truck drivers’ willingness to disregard speed limits in order to meet deadlines. Trucking accidents, namely those involving big rigs, buses, and commercial vehicles, are often far more complicated than non-commercial car accidents. Injuries are often more severe, the question of fault may not be easily answered, and, there are usually more parties involved than what you would find in an ordinary car accident. For example, in addition to the truck driver having fault, sometimes the government or car manufacturer shares liability for the accident.
The occurrence of trucking accidents has been steadily increasing for the past 20 years. Trucking accidents now happen 20% more frequently than they did just 2 decades ago, resulting in roughly 4,000 fatalities in the United States each year. Although trucking accidents account for only 3% of all vehicular incidents in this country, commercial trucks are capable of causing much greater harm than the typical passenger car.
Furthermore, according to a study published by the United States’ Department of Transportation in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, large semi-trucks were 23% more likely to be involved in fatal multiple-vehicle accidents than passenger cars. However, it is not always a simple task to identify the faulty party or parties.
Unlike a more common accident involving two passenger cars, a trucking accident may find the liable party in a wide variety of places.
The following could all be partially responsible:
• The driver of the car
• The truck driver
• The entity who leased the truck
• The trucking company for lack of training / regulations
• A mechanic who failed to properly inspect the truck
Moreover, it is also possible that the truck malfunctioned due to faulty parts, in which case the manufacturer of those parts would be at fault. In accidents involving a cargo load which has become dislodged, or when improper loading contributed to the semi-truck accident, the loader or shipper may be found liable. When attempting to determine liability, there is often a great deal of contention between all potentially negligent parties, making for an all but easy process.
There are federal laws and regulations in place that regulate the trucking industry. These regulations set standards to which owners, drivers, and trucking companies must adhere to be eligible to operate on public roadways. The primary agencies governing trucking are the Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These bodies work in tandem to ensure every truck in operation is road-worthy and every driver well prepared for the unique challenges of operating a commercial vehicle.
Trucking accidents are particularly dangerous because of the scope and magnitude of crashes involving these commercial vehicles. If you have been affected by a vehicle accident involving a big rig or other commercial truck, contact The FIRM LA.