One in every ten vehicles involved in a fatal crash is a large truck. In fact, according to data gathered by the National Safety Council, in 2019, 5,005 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes around the country. That is a 43% increase from 2010.
That statistic is alarming since the people injured or killed in these crashes are likely not the drivers or passengers of trucks. And, compared to other types of vehicle crashes, there are more factors to consider when taking legal action against truck operators or trucking companies.
It can be difficult to pinpoint if and where negligence occurred in accidents involving trucks, mainly because there are several possibilities.
The Truck Driver
Truck drivers are the first and most obvious potential cause of injury-causing crashes on the road. Many of the recorded crashes involve drivers who were negligent or who had dangerous driving behavior.
In 2020, a catastrophic crash involving a FedEx truck and a bus killed five people on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Investigations are still underway. However, recent information brought forth in the lawsuit point to the driver’s use of noise-canceling headphones that impaired his ability to hear early collision warnings as the cause of the incident.
Distractions are not uncommon causes in this type of scenario. According to this video by Inside Edition, distractions are one of the top three reasons for truck driver-caused collisions.
Other reasons pointed out in the video are speeding and following too closely. These actions are especially problematic because the sheer weight and size of trucks make it considerably difficult for their drivers to react or stop in time to avoid crashes.
The following are other common reasons for driver-caused crashes:
- Inadequate training — Drivers may not have had the right training or license to operate their vehicles.
- Drowsy driving — Drivers may be going over the federal regulations limit on driving hours, which causes fatigue.
- Impaired driving — Drivers who are impaired by alcohol or a drug may not correctly operate their vehicle.
That said, even if the truck driver was proven to be at fault in a crash, the trucking company that employs them may also be held liable.
The Trucking Company
If a trucking company involved in a crash was proven to have prioritized profit over safety, they can be held legally accountable as well. In fact, three of the common reasons mentioned in the previous section can be directly caused by the companies.
Inadequate driver training can be traced back to the trucking company. Drivers need to be equipped with the right knowledge and specialized skills to drive the vehicle before they are trusted with it on the roads.
Speeding and drowsy driving can also be a result of unrealistic schedules set by the trucking company. Some drivers purposefully drive faster or through bouts of drowsiness in order to follow the company’s timelines.
According to CNBC, the average verdict size in a trucking collision lawsuit of more than $1 million has increased by almost 1,000 percent from 2010 to 2018. This means juries are now awarding an average of $22.3 million, compared to $2.3 million back in 2010.
However, drivers and trucking companies are not the only ones who can be accountable.
Other parties such as the loading company, the vehicle manufacturer, or even the government can be held liable as well.
The loading company may have overloaded the truck or may not have secured the cargo properly, causing a crash. Faulty components or a defective truck can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Poorly maintained roads can also cause accidents.
The Final Word
Injury-causing or deadly crashes involving trucks are increasingly common. Often, in these cases, the injured parties are those not in the trucks. In cases like these, understanding the several possible causes of the crash is critical. Seeking the help of a lawyer with experience in truck crash cases is key to seeking legal remedies.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a similar incident, give us a call at 1-844-HAFFNER or 213-514-5681 so we can discuss your options.