Truck accidents and car accidents are both traumatizing situations in which to find yourself. Accidents involving a large truck, though, tend to be more serious. Trucks can cause more damage and more instances of injury or loss of life as compared to car accidents. If you’re the victim of a truck accident, filing a claim may not be as easy as you would expect. Here is what you need to know about truck accidents and the law.
The trucking industry is governed by the federal government. The US Dept. of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are the agencies that oversee the trucking industry. In addition to the laws and regulations set forth by the federal government, each state has its own set of laws pertaining to the trucking industry.
Trucking standards must be met by company owners, the company as a whole, and individual drivers. These agencies also oversee trucking accidents and their regulations will often determine which party was responsible for an accident.
How to Determine Liability
There are multiple parties involved who could play a role in accident responsibility. These included:
- The driver
- The truck owner
- The trucking company
- The truck manufacturer
- The person/company who loaded the freight onto the truck
In the past, it’s been easy for those involved to “pass the buck” when it came to responsibility. This contributed to frustration and delayed action.
Victims no longer have to rely only on police reports of the accident and eye witness accounts. Laws have since been put into place to determine more swiftly who is responsible.
Any truck involved in an accident MUST be examined by a certified inspector before it can be removed from the scene of the accident. This examination gives investigators much needed information. Were there any issues that could point to the manufacturer as the party at fault? Were there parts that weren’t properly cared for? Such an investigation is just one way to narrow down the question of responsibility.
Another helpful regulation is that of onboard technology that give helpful information after an accident. These devices can inform investigators of how fast the driver was going, the grade of a hill, when the driver hit the brakes, and how long the driver had been driving.
Contributing Factors in Accidents
There are many things that can cause an accident. These include: poor driving and equipment failure.
- Poor driving: Long hours and fatigue (the most common causes of truck related accidents), driver health, speeding, distractions, medications, not being familiar with the road.
- Equipment failure: brake failure, tire blowout, transmission problems, and steering defects, just to name a few.
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a large truck, contact an attorney immediately. They will inform you of your rights. In addition, they will make sure that you receive the information you need, such as that from the truck inspector and from the onboard computer, in order to proceed with your claim or case.