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Trucking Accidents: Causes & Liability

During the holiday season, increased demand for gifts, food, and supplies means more trucks on the road, often navigating adverse weather conditions. This uptick in traffic, combined with tighter delivery schedules, can elevate the risk of accidents. Furthermore, holiday-related distractions, impaired driving, and fatigued truckers trying to meet delivery deadlines can exacerbate the situation. 

Understanding the causes of trucking accidents and the associated liability is crucial in promoting road safety and ensuring that responsible parties are held accountable during the holiday season and year-round. Keep reading for what you need to know, courtesy of our personal injury attorneys at Crane Flores, LLP.

Common Causes of Trucking Accidents

  1. Driver Fatigue: One of the leading causes of trucking accidents is driver fatigue. Long hours on the road, tight delivery schedules, and insufficient rest can lead to drowsy driving. In response, regulations like the Hours of Service (HOS) mandate specific rest periods for truck drivers. Violations of these rules can lead to accidents.

  2. Distracted Driving: Just like in regular vehicle accidents, distracted driving is a significant issue in the trucking industry. The use of cell phones, navigation devices, and even eating while driving can divert a trucker's attention from the road, leading to accidents.

  3. Speeding: Speeding is another common cause of trucking accidents. Commercial trucks require longer stopping distances, and high speeds can make it challenging for drivers to react in time to avoid collisions.

  4. Impaired Driving: Impaired driving due to alcohol, drugs, or prescription medication can impair a truck driver's judgment, reflexes, and decision-making ability, increasing the likelihood of accidents.

  5. Inadequate Maintenance: Poorly maintained trucks, including brake failures, tire blowouts, and other mechanical issues, can lead to accidents. Regular vehicle maintenance and inspections are essential to prevent such incidents.

  6. Overloaded or Improperly Loaded Trucks: Excessive cargo weight or improperly distributed loads can affect a truck's stability and handling, making it more susceptible to rollovers and accidents.

Liability in Trucking Accidents

  1. Truck Drivers: If the accident was caused by driver negligence, such as speeding or impaired driving, the truck driver may be held liable. In some cases, driver fatigue can be attributed to the driver's own choices or to the demands of the trucking company.

  2. Trucking Companies: Trucking companies can be held responsible if they are found to have violated federal or state regulations, such as the HOS rules, or if they failed to properly maintain their vehicles.

  3. Vehicle Manufacturers: In some cases, accidents may result from defects in the truck or its components. In such cases, the manufacturer or distributor of the faulty equipment may be liable.

  4. Third Parties: Sometimes, accidents can be caused by the actions of third parties, such as another driver, a maintenance contractor, or a cargo loading company. Depending on the circumstances, these parties may share liability.

  5. Government Entities: Poorly designed or maintained roads and inadequate traffic control devices can contribute to trucking accidents. In such cases, government entities may bear responsibility.

Seeking Compensation

In the aftermath of a trucking accident, victims often face medical bills, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering. Seeking compensation for these losses is a critical step in the recovery process. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Contacting an Attorney: If you're involved in a trucking accident, it's essential to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in truck accidents. They can help you navigate the legal process and identify the liable parties.

  2. Gathering Evidence: Collect and preserve evidence from the accident scene, including photographs, witness statements, and police reports. This evidence can be crucial in establishing liability.

  3. Insurance Claims: The trucking company's insurance policy may cover some of your losses. Your attorney can assist in filing and negotiating insurance claims.

  4. Lawsuit: If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations or insurance claims, a lawsuit may be necessary to recover the compensation you deserve.

  5. Recovery and Rehabilitation: It's essential to prioritize your recovery and rehabilitation. Seek the necessary medical treatment and follow your healthcare provider's recommendations.

Crane Flores, LLP Is Here for You

Trucking accidents can be complex legal cases, and it's important to have a seasoned attorney on your side. A skilled personal injury lawyer can help protect your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages.

If you're involved in a trucking accident this holiday season or anytime during the year, contact Crane Flores, LLP today to schedule a free consultation. Our experienced truck accident attorneys can help you navigate the legal process and fight for your rights.

Call Crane Flores, LLP now at (805) 628-4967">(805) 628-4967 or contact us online.