Large Truck Accidents
Trucks on our Roads and Highways
Truckers, for the most part, do a fantastic job delivering the lifeblood of our economic system. Whether it’s the food you eat, or the toys your kids play with, you can be sure it was trucked to your favorite store by one of these large trucks and the trucker that operated it.
Trucks outweigh the average car by more than 10 fold.Truckers also transport our most dangerous and hazardous materials and chemicals. Materials that are used to make the products that we all use in our everyday lives. These drivers themselves face extraordinary hazards in doing transporting these materials. Truckers are truly owed a debt of gratitude from all of us for the job they so and for their service to our Country.
But as with everything else, there are inherent dangers associated with this job and tractor-trailers in general. Unfortunately, these dangers are imposed upon the rest of us as we operate our cars and vans upon our roadways.
Inherent Dangers Associated with Big Rigs
The big rig creates certain inherent and unique dangers upon our roadways. One of these dangers is due simply to the fact of the immense size of a large truck as compared to an ordinary car. Trucks outweigh the average car by more than 10 fold. Also, eighteen wheelers are prone to “jackknife” and/or overturn when certain untoward conditions occur. This creates an inherently dangerous condition for the rest of us sharing the roads with these 18 wheelers. We all know a car is no match for a truck.
Injuries and Death Associated with Truck Accidents
We are all aware that serious injuries and even death can occur when trucks and cars collide upon our roadways.
In its most recent data, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that in the year 2008 alone there were 4,066 large trucks involved in fatal crashes nationwide.Sometimes these truck accidents are due to driver inattention or fatigue on the part of the operator of the truck. Other times, it can be due to the improper placement or securing of the load being hauled, which increases the chances of a serious accident occurring upon our roadways and highways.
These are otherwise avoidable accidents but for the lack of due diligence upon the part of the trucker or the trucking company.
In its most recent data, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that in the year 2008 alone there were 4,066 large trucks involved in fatal crashes nationwide. That is a little more than 11 deaths per day in accidents involving a truck. In addition, there were 70,567 injuries in crashes involving large trucks. Again, about 200 injuries per day nationwide involving truck accidents. In New York State alone, there were over 3,000 fatal and non-fatal accidents involving large trucks. More than 100 of these resulted in fatalities.
Accidents caused by the Fault of someone other than the Truck Driver
Of course, not every accident involving a truck is as a result of the negligence of the truck driver. They too can be seriously injured in the performance of their job, and they have certain rights and remedies to protect them as well.
A truck operator who is injured due to the negligence of another can also bring a claim against the tortfeasor, or negligent person. In addition, the driver may also have a claim under the workers’ compensation law, since the injury was a work related while in the performance of the job.
Plaintiff’s Burden to Prove Negligence
Under the law, in order to recover damages for injuries sustained in a truck accident, or in any other type of accident for that matter, it is the plaintiff’s burden to prove beyond a preponderance of the evidence that the accident was caused due to the negligence of another person or entity.
This could mean, for example, that the operator was traveling at an excessive speed for the road and traffic conditions then and there prevailing, and/or was violating the posted speed limit, and/or that the driver failed to be cognizant and aware of the road and traffic conditions, and/or made an unsafe lane change, and/or was following too close, and/or violated one or more of the Federal and State Regulations governing tractor-trailers and/or interstate commerce.
Federal and State Regulations, Ordinances and Statutes
There are many Federal and State regulations that govern tractor-trailers and the loads they carry. Proving that the accident was caused as a result of a violation of one or more of these regulations will help to establish at least some evidence of negligence, if not negligence itself, on the part of the truck operator or the trucking company.
These regulations are imposed to help ensure safe operation of big rigs upon our roadways. They include regulations that govern the equipment and accessories of the tractor-trailer, the driver’s qualifications and licensing, the driver’s hours of service, cargo securement standards and devices to prevent cargo shifting and falling, cargo load limits, cargo tie-down requirements, fuel systems, and the transportation of hazardous materials.
Speak to an Personal Injury Attorney as soon as Possible
If you or someone you love is injured in a truck accident, it is extremely important to speak to a competent lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. There are many filing requirements that must be met, which are time sensitive. These filing requirements are not only in relation to the making of a claim against the proper party or parties, but also for the recovering your medical, wage loss and other benefits that you may be entitled to receive.
In addition, it is just as important to contact a competent lawyer as soon as possible after the accident so that a prompt and thorough investigation can be started and conducted before crucial evidence is lost and memories of potential witnesses fade. Some of the investigation includes obtaining photographic documentation of the vehicles involved and the scene of the accident, obtaining accident reports from first responders, locating and interviewing potential witnesses, obtaining log books, manifests, and repair and maintenance records, discovering global positioning data, cell phone records, black box data, and even weather reports.
An early and thorough investigation into the cause of a large truck accident will assist the lawyer in getting you the compensation you deserve when you are injured in a truck accident that was caused due to the fault of another person or entity.