Most often truck accidents are caused by some form of driver negligence such as driver fatigue, speeding, distracted driving, or drug and alcohol use. Collisions with large trucks can cause serious injuries for the occupants of a passenger vehicle on the roadway and leave the victims with large medical bills and an uncertain financial future. Many truck accident victims choose to retain a truck accident lawyer to navigate the insurance claims process since determining what party is at-fault in a truck accident is often complicated because of the number of factors at play.
Truck Driver Negligence
Driver fatigue is a major cause of accidents in the trucking industry. Trucking companies incentivize drivers for arriving on time or early, and so have a hard time deterring drivers from driving tired or over the legal amount of hours, even with extensive federal regulations in place. Additionally, many truck drivers could be found to be at least partially at-fault for the accident for the following reasons:
- Drug use
- Alcohol consumption
- Distracted driving
- Impatient driving
- Failure to comply with signs and signals
Mechanical Issues in Truck Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a study that identified other factors that play into the causes of large truck accidents. Some of these factors include mechanical issues, especially those involving malfunctioning brakes and tires.
If a truck needs to stop, especially stop quickly, malfunctions or failures in the truck’s air brake system can occur. For instance, in a congested area or as the truck approaches a roadway being cleared of a previous crash, a driver may need to stop quickly but a loaded truck at 80,000 pounds is an enormous machine to slow down. Even if a truck driver continuously pumps the brakes as recommended, malfunctions can still occur, resulting in a dangerous scenario.
Large trucks are traveling thousands of miles which can put significant wear and tear on the tires. A blown tire, popped tire or bald tires can lead to a situation where the driver cannot control the truck. This can then cause an accident leading to serious injury.
Cargo and Debris in Truck Accidents
New Jersey trucking and commercial transportation companies must follow a comprehensive reference guide of height, length, width, and weight limits for vehicles that are used for commercial purposes. There are limits on all commercial vehicles’ weight: 34,000 pounds for tandem axle trucks, 22,400 for single axle trucks, and overall weight must not exceed 80,000 pounds for all trucks and commercial vehicles in total. The state of New Jersey and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration set these limitations based on ensuring the keeping risk to motorists as minimal as possible. If these rules are not followed, serious accidents, like rollovers, can occur.
If a driver turns too sharply or is going too fast, a full or unbalanced load can cause a rollover accident. The danger and severity of truck rollovers are extremely high, and have high fatality rates. Improperly loaded trucks can also lead to accidents caused by falling debris that can come crashing through a windshield or end up as a hazard in the roadway for another motorist.
Liability for Large Truck Accidents
In cases like driver fatigue, the driver alone may not bear full responsibility for the accident. The trucking company could be found liable if they weren’t following safety guidelines and/or maintaining proper policies. The cargo loader could be at-fault if cargo wasn’t loaded properly. Liability in large truck accidents can be complex and is one of the key reasons to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney to understand your case and your options.
Brandon J Broderick, Attorney at Law, Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help
Are you considering talking to an attorney about an injury you or a loved one sustained in a truck accident? At Brandon J Broderick, Attorney at Law, our attorneys have decades of experience fighting for fair and just compensation for truck accident victims. Contact us today for a free consultation. With our proven track record of success, we can get you the justice you deserve.