No matter how experienced a truck driver is, there are still instances which are beyond his expertise and those sometimes result to a catastrophic ending, landing in the hospital for treatment of injuries and going to trial for settlement of an injury claim. It seems to be somewhat unthinkable, but the recent data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proves it real given the increase on the number of truck accident cases where there are no less than 4,000 fatalities and over 100 injured victims. That is how worse such type of an accident is; as such, at all costs or means, you have to be very careful when driving your own vehicle or operating a trucking company. It is so for even a simple mistake could make you liable for the damages and face other liabilities as briefly elucidated in the given details:
Typical Causes of Truck Accident
As noted by the aforesaid agency, the most common causes of trucking accidents include weather conditions, mechanical failures, road design, and traffic signal errors (often a result of the truck driver's negligence). But on top of all these are the driver error and equipment problems; the former is emphasized to cause accidents ten times than any other factors as this has been found out by the FMCSA as comprising the 88 percent of crashes, while the latter could either be the imputed to poor maintenance or defective products or mechanical parts. It is also noteworthy that the driver error is commonly resulted from certain factors such as speeding, fatigue, inattention, work environment, and distractions, and some examples of the mechanical issues include transmission failure, defective steering/rear lighting, brake failure, improper load distribution, and incorrect trailer attachment.
Liabilities and the Responsible Parties
There could possibly be criminal and civil liabilities depending on the circumstances in the occurrence of the accident. But generally, the local prosecutor can file a criminal lawsuit if the driver violated traffic regulations or state laws and the victim or their family can pursue a civil case (for indemnification of injuries and damages) and will be successful if the truck driver is proven to have caused the car accident. In particular, the responsible parties here may include the truck driver, owner of the truck, company or person that leased the truck, manufacturer or distributor of the motor vehicle, and the loader or shipper of the cargo. It is not uncommon, though, that these individuals argue on whose insurance to use for the compensation of the victims; but this is resolved upon the determination of the person at fault in the accident.
What to do After the Truck Accident?
If you are a victim, it is very crucial that you immediately secure evidence (photograph of the scene, police report, etc.) as you will need these when proving the claim to the insurance company or during the trial. But most importantly, do not forget to consult a good personal injury lawyer given the complexity or technicality of this case; you gravely need adequate know-how of the legalities and be guided at every stage of litigation. Also, it is critical to ask your counsel about the basis or grounds for your lawsuit and what are the chances to expect on the outcome. Get clarified likewise that if found out that the defective machine is the ultimate cause of the accident, the case you have to pursue may not be against the other driver but instead the manufacturer of the vehicle.
There are some other relative information regarding the trucking accident and its legal consequences, which is why reading on other sources and/or asking your attorney about the things you ought to know prior to filing a claim is important to safeguard your interest being a party in the case.
Guest Author Bio
The author of this post is an associate in WarLawGroup and has wide experience in personal injury cases. It is the primary goal of his team to help the victims of truck accidents and similar catastrophes acquire the just compensation they deserve. Their competence in this field is already proven by a number of clients who have won their cases and consequently recovered from injuries and losses.