In 2016, over 4,500 people died in large truck accidents in the United States. This is a 5% increase from 2015. Sharing the roadways with commercial vehicles has become increasingly dangerous over the years as numbers of these incidents continue to rise. While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or (FMCSA) continues to educate and Implement new safety measures, accidents with large trucks and buses still account for 12% of traffic fatalities in the United States.
California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and New York are the deadliest states for large commercial truck accidents according to FMCSA data. In fact, in these states, large truck accidents account for more than 50% of fatalities.
“Respondeat superior” is the area of law that is used to determine commercial traffic accident liability. This liability takes the fault out of the hands of an employee (the truck driver) and places it in the hands of the company that they work for, as part of the cost of doing business.
It is important if you have been in a commercial vehicle accident, that you seek legal counsel as quickly as possible to ensure you are properly compensated for your losses. An experienced commercial truck accident attorney can explain the specific commercial truck laws in your state and the options you have of pursuing a claim.
Why You Need to Act Quickly
Large commercial truck litigation moves far faster than a typical passenger vehicle accident case. Commercial trucks make their money when they are on the roadways so their incentive is to move quickly for business reasons. Also, insurers of vehicles in large truck accidents understand the stakes are high, as accidents involving these vehicles tend to be more severe in nature. Their aim is to limit the liability of these companies. Assembling the right information and the right legal team will be crucial to proving the fault of the commercial truck and/or its driver.
Truck Accident Lawyers
Truck accident lawyers understand the investigation process into these types of accidents and will prove valuable to your claim. An attorney should investigate all aspects of your case. These investigations include extensive research done about the truck company involved so you have the full picture of your truck accident lawsuit. A truck accident attorney will learn about the maintenance records, employment records, citations, and other documents that can prove helpful to your case. More on that below.
Did you know that large commercial trucks have a “black box” similar to that found in aircraft? An experienced truck accident attorney can help you obtain this information to support your case.
Who is at Fault in Commerical Truck Accidents?
To answer this question, a full investigation of the accident will be required and will involve a number of different parties. Police reports about the accident, while important, are just the beginning of this investigation. This report will give your attorney the foundation in which to pursue your case. A full investigation will include inquiries such as the truck driver’s records and logs, the company the driver works for, companies responsible for maintaining the truck, the manufacturer as well as the parts manufacturers of the vehicle. An attorney will even look into who was responsible for cargo on the truck, and who loaded it, to discover if any connections are to be made for your case.
Hurdles in Proving Your Case
It would be easy to assume that large commercial truck accidents are an open and closed case with much of the liability resting on the hands of the truck driver or the company they work for. Unfortunately, these cases have proven to be complicated making it more difficult to place fault on the responsible parties. Trucking Companies have tried to shift their own policies and hiring procedures to limit their liability.
For example, many companies are opting to hire drivers as independent contractors. (a practice that is now getting legal attention) A truck accident attorney will be able to learn more about the relationship between the driver and the company they drive for. Learning this information helps determine where the liability rests so you can be fully compensated for the injuries that you, or someone you love, has endured.
Once again, acting quickly continues to be a major factor in these types of cases. If you’ve somehow been involved in a commercial truck accident, speaking with an experienced attorney will ensure that you are getting the full picture of your accident, and confidence that you’ll receive proper legal representation and compensation.