Who Is to Blame for Most Truck Accidents?January 15, 2022
Human error causes the vast majority of all car accidents. People are bad at staying safe on the road and avoiding distractions, and often think they are better drivers than they actually are, taking more risks than necessary.
Trucks are no different. Some truck drivers simply ignore rules, as do some trucking companies. This can create extremely hazardous situations for other drivers on the road. Most truck drivers are skilled, well-trained drivers. However, there are some bad apples that can cause serious problems for others by violating laws, norms, and general good driving practices.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the negligent party. Figuring out who that might be is more challenging than you might think.
Potential Sources of Fault
Determining the source of your truck accident is vital to ensuring that you file a claim against the negligent party. Negligence is important in filing a claim because, if you can prove someone or some company was negligent, they could be liable for your medical expenses and other financial losses.
When you get into a truck accident, you will probably have personal injury. Your car may even be totaled. Truck accidents, even at slow speeds, can have catastrophic consequences. The police will probably rush to the accident scene and may file a police accident report. Even if the police assign fault in their report, which they do not frequently do, that report is not binding. This means you may need to have your own investigation completed to accurately determine who caused your truck accident. In many cases, more than one of the following holds some fault.
- Truck driver. The most obvious place to look after any accident is the driver. Truck accidents are no different. Because human error is the most frequent cause of accidents, the truck driver is a prime place to look for fault.
- Truck driver’s employer. Truck drivers must have specialized driver’s licenses and undergo substantial training. If a truck driver’s employer does not conduct a thorough background check or provide the driver with adequate training, the company could be liable for your accident.
- Truck owner. Some trucks are owned by someone other than the driver and the truck driver’s employer. If a third party owns the truck or the trailer and that contributed to the accident, the owner could also be liable.
- Part manufacturer. Commercial trucks are made of thousands of parts. Each of these parts must work correctly every time, or there could be tragic consequences. If a part was defective and broke down, the company who designed and manufactured that part could be liable for your truck accident.
- Truck manufacturer. The truck manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that the truck is put together correctly and in safe working condition before sending it to a buyer. If a truck manufacturer assembled the truck incorrectly or used a defective part, they could be liable for your truck accident.
- Maintenance company. Because trucks are so massive, they require constant preventative maintenance. If a maintenance company fails to find and fix an issue or if they do not properly maintain the vehicle, they could be held responsible for a truck accident.
- City or municipality. If the city or municipality owned the truck that hit you, they could be liable for your accident. If the road where your accident happened was not well maintained or the government had notice that it needed to be repaired, you may be able to hold the city or municipality responsible for your truck accident. However, filing a claim against a government entity, is not like suing another person or company. You need a skilled lawyer with experience taking on complex government lawsuits.
- Loading company. Truck drivers do not load the trucks themselves. This is done by a loading or cargo company and their employees. Although a driver is responsible for ensuring the safe operation of the truck, the loading company must ensure that the truck is loaded correctly, with proper weight distribution, and is not overloaded. If a load is not properly secured, for example, it could shift during transit, causing an accident.
Investigating a Truck Accident
All of the above are potential sources of negligence in your truck accident. More than one of them could be liable, but to make an accurate determination, you may need a comprehensive truck accident investigation.
Conducting a truck accident investigation is not the same as for a regular car accident. Because trucks have thousands of moving parts and many sources of potential liability, a truck accident reconstruction expert may be required to accurately determine who caused your truck accident.
Together with your legal team, a truck accident reconstruction expert can look over every detail and every component in the truck. They can examine evidence that may lead them to determine that one or more parties listed above contributed to your truck accident.
Having this information is vital to ensuring that you file a personal injury claim against the right party. To attempt to collect maximum compensation, you may need to file a negligence claim against more than one party that could be responsible for your truck accident.
Causes of Truck Accidents
The causes of truck accidents are plentiful. Although most center on some level of human error, there can be other causes of truck accidents. Understanding the cause of your truck accident can help determine precisely who is to blame and who should be liable for your damages.
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of any vehicle accident, including trucks. Whether a truck driver is changing the radio, eating, or texting, distracted driving can cause serious accidents. When a truck driver is not paying attention to the road, they may not be able to slow down in time to avoid a collision, causing a more serious accident and more serious injuries.
- Equipment failure. Some trucks have defective parts installed, and no one knows about them until an accident happens. Other times, a part simply fails. Defective brakes, steering problems, and blown tires are some of the most common equipment problems faced by commercial trucks.
- Driver fatigue. Truck drivers are required to rest. They cannot spend too much time behind the wheel without taking a break. This rule is for their safety and for the safety of everyone else on the road. Drowsy driving is similar to driving drunk in that it can impair a driver’s ability to respond quickly to dangerous situations. When a company is pushing a driver so hard on deadlines that they break the law on rest breaks, serious accidents are more likely to occur.
- Driving drunk. Truck drivers spend lots of time alone. Some drivers take their down time to truly rest, whereas others drink. Some drivers even drink while driving. For other drivers, however, they take drugs to help them stay awake. These drugs can make a driver impaired and reduce their ability to handle such a massive vehicle.
- Negligent hiring. When a truck driver’s employer does not take proper precautions when hiring drivers, does not adequately check a driver’s qualifications, and does not run a background check on a driver, it can let bad drivers slip through the cracks. This can lead to truck accidents caused by negligent hiring practices of a company.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Hold Negligent Parties Accountable
If you have been injured in a truck accident, you may not know where to turn next and who to hold liable for your medical bills. The Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton stand ready to hold negligent parties accountable and to help you get the compensation for which you are entitled. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are conveniently located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent clients throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.