Commercial Truck Accidents: Common Causes and Resolutions for Victims
Car accidents are always scary, but an accident between a 3,000 pound car and a commercial truck averaging well over 80,000 pounds can be catastrophic. These disastrous accidents can lead to serious injuries and fatalities for those in the passenger vehicle.
Fatalities are much more likely in accidents involving commercial trucks, which warrants concern even though the number of accidents involving these large vehicles is declining. In 2006, the Department of Transportation reports that large trucks were responsible for roughly 6 percent of all motor vehicle traffic crashes reported to the police, but led to almost double that amount of fatalities.
Common Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents
One cause of commercial truck accidents occurs when the rear trailer of the truck skids sideways and advances ahead of the trailer, also known as jackknifing. This type of accident can occur when a truck attempts to stop suddenly.
Accidents can also occur due to a trucks wide turning radius. These vehicles are very long and can go into additional lanes of traffic or onto sidewalks while making turns.
Regardless of the cause of the accident, most truck accidents are the result of some form of negligence. Negligence occurs when the truck driver, owner of the truck or other party failed to exercise reasonable care.
In order to prove negligence, the injured driver must establish the following:
- The driver, trucking company or other party owed a duty to the plaintiff to exercise reasonable care to avoid injury
- Defendant failed to meet that duty
- Failure to meet the duty led to injury suffered by victim
The first element is almost always satisfied since drivers automatically have a duty to operate their vehicles with reasonable care.
It is important to note that the driver of the commercial truck may not be the only party responsible for the accident. The trucking company may also be liable if they required the driver to work hours in violation of federal law or did not properly maintain the vehicle.
If injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, compensation may be available to cover medical and rehabilitative expenses as well as pain and suffering. As a result, it is wise to seek the counsel of an experienced truck accident attorney to better ensure your legal rights and remedies are protected.