While all traffic-related accidents have the potential to cause serious accidents and injuries, accidents involving large commercial trucks can cause particularly devastating damage. Commercial trucks are much larger than regular passenger vehicles and can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, as opposed to an average car that weighs around 3,500 pounds. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that, in 2012 alone, collisions involving large trucks caused an estimated 104,000 injuries as well as nearly 4,000 fatalities.
If you have been involved in a large truck accident, you have likely suffered serious injuries and incurred significant losses including medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. An experienced Philadelphia truck accident lawyer can help you receive proper compensation for your losses.
Semi truck driver error is the leading cause of accidents involving commercial trucks. A study conducted by the FMCSA revealed that a truck accident is ten times more likely to occur due to driver error than due to other factors. Professional truck drivers are required to go through special training in order to obtain a commercial driver’s license and they should understand the risks that large semi-trucks pose on the roads. Due to the extreme risk of injury to other motorists in truck accidents, professional drivers are held to a higher standard of safety than operators of regular passenger vehicles. Unfortunately, truck drivers do not always abide by their duty to drive in a safe manner and driver negligence routinely causes truck accidents.
• Some examples of truck driver negligence that leads to serious accidents include the following:
• Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
• Driving while fatigued or violating FMCSA Hours of Service regulations
• Unlawfully driving with a serious medical condition, such as a heart condition or epilepsy
• Engaging in distractions, such as using a handheld mobile device, eating, grooming, and more
• Failing to complete all required pre-trip inspections
• Aggressive driving, including speeding, following too closely, improper passing, or intimidating other motorists
• Taking turns too quickly
• Failing to adequately pay attention to blind spots
Driving a commercial vehicle without the proper license or training
• De-powering the brakes in the front of the truck
• Otherwise violating traffic laws or FMCSA regulations
All truck drivers who negligently cause accidents and injuries should be held fully accountable for any losses suffered by accident victims. Because drivers will not often simply admit to making an error, identifying driver negligence may often be complicated. An experienced Philadelphia truck accident attorney has the knowledge and tools to investigate the driver’s actions to identify negligence to help victims recover.
In addition to truck drivers, several other factors may lead to serious truck accidents. Some of these potentially negligent parties include:
Trucking company—The trucking company may be found negligent if an accident is caused by the hiring of inexperienced or unqualified drivers, failing to conduct the required drug and alcohol testing on drivers, failing to supervise or discipline drivers to ensure FMCSA compliance, encouraging unsafe practices to improve their bottom line, failing to sufficiently inspect and maintain trucks in the fleet, and more.
Cargo loading team—An independent cargo loading team may be held accountable if an accident is caused by over-loading, under-loading (generally for liquid cargo), or failing to properly secure the cargo in the trailer of a truck. Cargo mistakes can cause trucks to have trouble braking or stopping or may cause roll-over or jackknife accidents.
Truck manufacturer—Manufacturers have a duty to produce and sell truck parts that are safe for use. For this reason, if a defective truck part—such as brakes, tires, axles, steering columns, coupling, and more—malfunctions and causes an accident, the manufacturer should be held liable under product liability principles.
Government entity—The government has a responsibility to properly inspect and maintain roads and highways and keep them free of dangerous hazards. Large commercial trucks are particularly susceptible to losing control when they hit a pothole, a large crack in the pavement, uneven lanes, or other hazardous conditions. If a truck encounters a road hazard and an accident occurs, the negligent government entity should be accountable to the losses of victims.
If you have suffered injury and related losses in an accident involving a large commercial truck, you always want to seek the assistance of an attorney who understands the complications in this type of case. At the Levin Firm in Philadelphia, we have the experience and resources necessary to hold truck drivers, trucking companies, and other relevant parties responsible for the injuries and damage caused in serious truck accidents. We offer free, no-obligation consultations, so please do not hesitate to call our office today at 877-825-8542 for help today.
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