The latest statistics from the U.S. DOT (Department of Transportation) show that approximately 500,000 large commercial truck accidents occur each year in America. Sadly, trucking accidents with the highest majority of fatalities involve collisions with passenger vehicles. The sheer size and weight of semi-trucks, flatbed vehicles, and tanker trucks can cause catastrophic damage when the large commercial vehicle is improperly operated or maintained.
Trucking companies often place strict demands on their truck driving employees to meet deadlines and commitments when moving cargo across the nation. This often leads to driving at excessive speeds and fatigue when attempting to reach the destination on time.
Alternatively, independent contractors are usually paid “by the mile,” which often creates dangerous and negligent behavior, and excessive fatigue, to generate enough income to make independent truck driving profitable. These careless actions often lead to recklessness and an increased potential of catastrophic accidents with serious injuries or wrongful death.
Determining Parties Responsible For A Truck Crash
Large trucks involved in accidents are usually responsible for the catastrophic injuries or wrongful death through mishap or negligence. However, the truck driver is not always solely at fault. Although attempting to determine responsibility and legal liability can be challenging. It might be determined that the truck company's responsibility for an accident is valid because the commercial vehicle was maintained improperly, or the driver was not provided adequate training on how to transport cargo safely.
Alternatively, some independent contractors own and operate their commercial truck and furnish the oil, gas and liability insurance. However, if the trucking company controls the operator’s schedule and details of how to move the cargo by the independent contractor’s truck, the trucking company may still be responsible or at fault. The truck company responsiblity for accidents usually starts with the company owner, and extends to subordinates that include managers, supervisors, dispatchers, maintenance crews, mechanics and the truck operator.
Implicating The Company For Driver Driver Negligence
Large commercial vehicle operators can cause accidents through their negligence when fatigue, aggression, excessive speed and the use of alcohol or drugs is involved. In addition, unsafe driving decisions when maneuvering the truck through adverse weather conditions, and/or the failure to follow federal and state regulations can place the driver, vehicle and all other motorists and passengers sharing the road at risk of great peril. Commercial vehicle drivers can also be at fault when eating while operating the truck or talking/texting on a mobile phone.
When a driver is an actual or apparent agent of the corporation that he drives for, the company might be pursued as a party (defendant) in a trucking accident lawsuit. While getting the company involved in the lawsuit may seem like an incidental circumstance, involving a corporate defendant is important for an injured party. A corporate defendant usually has ample insurance coverage to pay a large settlement or judgment at an amount necessary to compensate a person with significant injuries.
More Obvious Involvement of Corporate Responsibility For An Accident
Many commercial truck accidents are directly or indirectly the fault of truck company negligence when mechanics, maintenance crews, supervisors and management keep the vehicles poorly maintained. In addition, dock crews that overload or improperly load the vehicle increase the potential of serious accidents, when the load shifts during transport. Overloaded trucks can cause the braking system to fail due to the extra weight. Many truck companies place unreasonable deadlines on the trucker, forcing them to make unwise decisions that place all motorists on the road at risk.
Third-Party Negligence In Trucking Cases: The Silent Parties
Defective equipment, poor maintenance and negligence of other motorists often result in accidents involving large commercial trucks. Defective axles, tires, brake pads, braking systems and other components can cause accidents with serious injuries and/or death when the operator loses control of the large truck traveling at high speeds. Determining who these entities are and pursuing them requires a thorough investigation of the collision.
Depending on the situation, an accident investigator or mechanic may need to review the truck accident data recorder or the crash debris to determine how and why an incident occurred. Situations like this highlight the need to retain a truck collision attorney in a timely manner so evidence can be gathered and secured.
Filing a Lawsuit for Personal Injuries Related to a Truck Crash
Victims who have suffered injuries or families that have lost a loved one in an accident involving a large commercial truck can sue the party at fault for the damage. Illinois tort law involving commercial truck accidents is complex. Often times, victims file lawsuits to recover the enormous loss through litigation or negotiation with insurance companies that hold the policy for trucking companies.
Trucking accident lawsuits allow victims to obtain financial recompense for many of the damages incurred including:
- Extensive medical expenses
- Lost income due to missed work
- Financial expenses associated with the accident
- Physical damages to passenger vehicles
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Pain and suffering
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have been successful in handling many truck accident cases for clients suffering injuries caused by large commercial trucks. The law firm maintains an aggressive position in developing strong strategies to combat large trucking companies fighting to avoid legal liability for serious, and sometimes deadly, accidents. The attorneys at (888) 424-5757 work on a contingency fee basis, which means no upfront fees are required, and all legal services are paid from an award at trial, or through an out-of-court settlement. Contact us today!