If you have been in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages such as medical bills, property damage, and more. In order to recover compensation, you will need to take legal action against the party responsible. However, understanding the cause of a truck accident can be more difficult than it seems.
Multiple parties may be liable for a semi truck accident. Determining the cause of the accident is a crucial part of identifying who is responsible for your injuries.
If you or a loved one was hurt in a collision with an 18-wheeler, our semi truck accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate the crash and build a strong case on your behalf. Please call (614) 362-7000 today for a free case evaluation. Colombo Law serves clients in Columbus, Hebron, Circleville, Fairmont, Chillicothe, and other areas of Ohio.
Truck Driver Error
The most common cause of truck accidents is driver error. Errors on the part of the truck driver can take many forms, including:
- Drowsy Driving: Driving while tired is dangerous under any situation, but especially when driving a commercial vehicle weighing tens of thousands of pounds. Even if a driver doesn’t completely fall asleep at the wheel, their drowsiness can lead to mistakes like cutting other drivers off, running red lights, or tailgating.
- Distracted Driving: Driving a truck day-in and day-out can certainly become monotonous. Unfortunately, this leads many truck drivers to drive distracted in an attempt to entertain themselves or occupy their minds. If cell phone records show the driver was using their cell phones while driving, it could serve as evidence that the accident was caused by their distracted driving.
- Drug or Alcohol Use: Alcohol and drug use are, unfortunately, not uncommon among truck drivers. One study showed that about half of professional truck drivers admitted to drinking while driving, while 30 percent admitted to using amphetamines. Beyond the criminal charges they could face for this crime, truck drivers might also be held responsible for the damages accident victims sustain.
- Aggressive Driving: When truck drivers are subject to tight deadlines, it can weigh on their patience. Sometimes, this results in all types of aggressive driving, from speeding and tailgating to cutting other drivers off and swerving in and out of lanes. This is inexcusable behavior, plain and simple.
- Lack of Training: Driving a truck is not like driving a passenger vehicle. It requires experience and training to do safely. When drivers don’t get the appropriate training, they may not know how to handle certain situations, leading to serious accidents.
The bottom line is that, like all of us, truck drivers are responsible for behaving safely while behind the wheel. In fact, due to the potential danger of truck accidents, truckers should be even more cautious while driving.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. This is why we strongly support truck accident victims pursuing compensation against negligent drivers.
Trucking Company Negligence
When a truck driver makes a mistake, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will be held wholly responsible for the accident. Several other parties could also be held liable.
The first of these parties we want to discuss is the truck driver’s employer, the trucking company.
Despite strict, specific rules about truck driving, such as how long a truck driver is allowed to drive without stopping, trucking companies have been known to overwork truck drivers, pressuring them to work longer hours than legally allowed. This can result in drivers staying on the road even when they’re too tired to be as aware as they should be. Similarly, truck drivers will sometimes resort to drugs, such as amphetamines, to keep themselves awake. Trucking companies are also required to complete proper background checks and ensure their drivers have adequate training.
When companies fail to follow these rules, even if they weren’t behind the wheel when the accident occurred, they could also be held responsible for an accident.
Semi trucks are extremely heavy vehicles that require sophisticated, reliable equipment to handle. If, for example, there is a problem with a truck’s braking system and a driver is unable to stop a vehicle weighing tens of thousands of pounds, the damage can be catastrophic.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that a manufacturer made a mistake. Sometimes, parts break. But other times, parts manufacturers are aware of deficiencies in their products and decide not to recall them.
As with trucking companies, the motivation is often related to profit. When this happens, it’s clear the manufacturer should be held responsible for their negligence. Accident victims may be entitled to compensation for injuries and damages directly caused by that negligence.
Errors Loading the Truck
Semi trucks often haul extremely heavy cargo. When fully loaded, they can carry up to 80,000 pounds. Due to these extreme weights, the companies securing the loads must properly train workers and do a thorough job to avoid mistakes.
If they fail to do so, the shipping company could also be held responsible for any accident that takes place because of their mistake.
There are specific rules that govern how trucks must be maintained. Certain parts must be replaced after a specific number of miles driven, and detailed logs must be kept.
If a part wasn’t replaced on time or if those responsible for the maintenance of a truck missed something they should have caught, a serious accident may occur.
If, for example, a tire was damaged, a turn signal light was broken, brake pads were worn down, or a suspension system was faulty, it could lead to a tragic accident that even a seasoned truck driver may be unable to prevent. In these cases, those responsible for the truck’s maintenance may be held liable.
Contact Our Semi Truck Accident Lawyers
Establishing the cause of a semi truck accident, as well as the party or parties responsible, is no small task. Truck accident investigations involve many steps, including collecting evidence, performing background checks, reviewing trucking company records, discussing the case with expert witnesses, and much more.
Colombo Law is here to help. Our dedicated semi truck accident lawyers have recovered substantial compensation on behalf of people who have been hurt in crashes with 18-wheelers.
Please call (614) 362-7000 today for a free consultation. Colombo Law serves clients in truck accident claims throughout Ohio, including Columbus, Hebron, Circleville, Fairmont, Chillicothe, and other areas.