Because of its size and weight, when a truck is involved in an accident with a smaller vehicle, the resulting damage can be devastating. Trying to determine liability in a truck accident is a complex matter. Multiple parties may share some of the blame, such as the driver of the truck, the owner of the truck, the person or company that leased the truck from the owner, manufacturers of truck components should a defect prove to have contributed to the accident, and whoever shipped or loaded the truck’s cargo in cases where improper loading is a factor in the accident. Moreover, large trucking companies and their insurers often have experienced legal teams whose job is to pass the blame to other parties so to avoid having to pay damages to injured victims of truck accidents. For this reason it is highly advisable to consult a qualified Wilmington personal injury lawyer when trying to recover compensation for injuries suffered in a truck accident.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Driver error is the number one cause of truck accidents. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), when a truck crashes, it is ten times more likely that driver error caused the wreck than any other factor including weather and road conditions or vehicle performance. In 88 percent of all crashes, action or inaction by the truck driver was the deciding factor. Common driver errors include:
- Alcohol and substance abuse
- Distracted driving
- Driving while fatigued
Federal regulations known as Hours of Service (HOS) rules govern how many hours a driver is allowed to be on the road before they must rest. Rest is critical to reducing the risk of driver error that can cause a big rig to crash. A fatigued driver may misjudge gaps in traffic, ignore signs of danger, have reduced reaction time in an emergency, overreact to a traffic situation, or fall asleep at the wheel.
All truck drivers must record their driving information as required by federal law. Trucking companies are required to monitor the logs and make sure the information entered by the drivers is correct. A violation of the Hours of Service rules constitutes negligence and could help your case.
Truck accidents can also occur due to equipment failure. The many components of a massive tractor trailer spend most of their life on the go covering miles of highways and roadways. They need regular maintenance to function well and safely. Even with careful maintenance, sometimes trucks have defective parts in which case the manufacturer can be held liable for any accidents caused by the defects. Truck accidents can result from failure of a truck’s brakes, tires, steering, side and/or rear lighting, trailer attachment, or transmission.
If You are Injured in a Truck Accident
For victims of truck accidents, it is critical to collect evidence both at the scene of the crash and to document the driver’s activity beforehand. This means gathering copies of the inspection reports of the condition of the truck when it crashed. This is required by law before the truck can be removed from the accident scene. Other critical evidence includes driver’s log books; black box information from the truck, which contains data on how fast the truck was moving, speed patterns, and whether or not the driver used the brakes; bills of loading; and trip tickets, which will show where the driver was before the accident.
All of this information can help ensure the success of your case, but it may also be overwhelming to try to track it all down while you are recovering from your injuries. Most likely the trucking company will not be forthcoming with the information either. The help of an experienced Wilmington truck accident lawyer can be indispensable for those seeking damages for injuries suffered in a truck accident.
A fully loaded tractor trailer can weigh up to 30 times as much as a standard passenger vehicle. Some trucks are transporting hazardous and dangerous materials. To ensure the safety of those sharing the road with them, the trucking industry is heavily regulated at both the federal and state level. Regulations govern equipment maintenance, what kinds of loads a truck may carry, how often the driver must take breaks, as well as how much insurance truck owners and operators are required to carry. Your attorney should be familiar with all of these regulations in order to craft the best legal argument for compensation on your behalf.
Wilmington Truck Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Advocate for Injured Victims of Truck Accidents
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled compensation. Let the dedicated Wilmington truck accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. use their knowledge and experience on your behalf to ensure the success of your claim. Call 302-656-5445 today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We have offices conveniently located in Wilmington and Georgetown to serve clients in Dover and throughout the state of Delaware.