What caused my truck accident and what do I do now?
A truck accident lawyer will help you sift through the details of your truck accident because determining the cause and liability can be very complicated. It is vital to understand the major reasons for trucking accidents and the relationships between the driver, owner and recipient and how they are connected to the truck, trailer and load. An attorney specializing in truck accidents can help reveal the particulars of your trucking accident and determine if you have a valid claim to present.
What are some of the common causes of truck accidents?
- Driver error before and during the trip.
- Truck drivers are 10 times more likely than other factors to cause an accident according to a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The study found that the action or inaction of the truck drivers caused 88% of all trucking accidents.
- Factors leading to driver error include drug use, fatigue, distractions, inattention, speeding and unfamiliarity with the road. The biggest factor is fatigue and sleep deprivation often seen among long haul truckers.
- Equipment problems/mechanical failures are the second highest cause of trucking accidents.
- Defective tires (manufacturer).
- Defective steering (manufacturer).
- Defective side or rear lighting (manufacturer).
- Brake failure caused by overuse or poor adjustments.
- Tire blowouts caused by wear.
- Improper securing of load.
- Improper trailer attachment.
- Transmission failure.
- Weather conditions.
- Road design.
- Traffic signal failures.
Determining who is responsible for a trucking accident is complicated, but there are federal laws and regulations governing the trucking industry that provide standards for drivers, owners and trucking companies that can help determine liability. Federal law stipulates that a company owning a trucking permit is responsible for any truck accident that occurs with its name displayed on the vehicle, whether the driver is an employee or independent contractor.
What do I do if I am involved in a truck accident?
- Call a certified truck inspector (typically a member of the reconstruction division of the state police). Federal and state regulations require an inspection on any commercial truck and trailer involved in an accident before it is removed from the scene. The purpose of the report is to reveal the condition of the main mechanical parts of the truck and trailer and is separate from the police report of the accident.
- Hold onto stored data. Similar to the “black boxes” used to store data in aircraft, the trucking industry uses boxes to record information such as the speed of the truck at the time of impact, patterns of speed, when brakes were applied and how long the driver was on the road without a break.
Large trucks are only involved in 3% of injury causing motor vehicle accidents but, sadly, in the last twenty years truck accidents have increased by 20%. Trucking accidents tend to cause much greater damage and injury due to their size.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!