Here in northwest Indiana, we’re in a deadly zone for truck accidents – extending from Chicago on I-65 all the way down through Indianapolis and into Kentucky. Anybody who’s driven this route can relate.
The fact is, according to the National Safety Council, around 500,000 trucking accidents occur every year in the United States. Of these, approximately 5,000 trucking accidents result in fatalities. In fact, one out of every eight traffic fatalities involve a trucking collision.
When It’s Not the Truck
It’s easy to blame the truck. A passenger vehicle weighs about 5,000 pounds. A semi-trailer truck up to 80,000 pounds. In an accident, there is no contest. But it’s not always the trucker’s fault.
Drivers of cars, smaller trucks or motorcycles are often to blame. When people try to outsmart and outmaneuver a truck, they lose. They do stupid things like driving in areas where the truck driver has limited visibility instead of keeping their distance. It may be that the driver changes lanes in front of a truck, or they make turns in front of the truck, or they merge too quickly causing a trucker to break quickly.
In fact, the majority of trucking accidents caused by driver error are due to the passenger vehicle driver (81%), not the trucker (22%).
When Trucks Become the Reason
This is where the attorneys at Tauber Law Offices get involved. Many victims of a trucking accident come to us and wonder who they should sue for damages. We work with you to determine the best course of action.
It may not be the truck driver. It may be the truck that is improperly maintained. It may be the trucking company who requires a driver to work long long hours without a break. It may be a truck that is overloaded.
When it’s the Driver
While most operators of the big semi-trailer trucks are trained and responsible drivers, they do make careless mistakes. Sometimes they drive without adequate sleep. They might be drunk or drive under the influence of drugs. And like other drivers, there is an issue of texting and driving. Drivers may be in a hurry to get to a destination on time and they drive too fast, perhaps tailgate, and take chances.
When it’s Poor Vehicle Maintenance
There have been commercial trucking companies that have been put out of businesses because of a terrible record for properly maintaining their vehicles. Commercial trucks drive thousands of miles every day. To keep up with the immense wear and tear these vehicles take, trucking companies, drivers, and maintenance crews must regularly maintain the fleet. Equipment failure, such as worn brake pads or a cracked windshield, can cause a major traffic accident. It’s a driver’s responsibility to check his/her rig at the beginning of every shift and submit a vehicle maintenance report. Failure to do so can be fatal.
When it’s the Failure of Equipment
When the driver and the owner of the trucking company have complied completely with the rules, accidents still happen. Often, we discover that equipment manufacturers may be guilty of negligence during a part’s production, leading to defective or dangerous components. Parties that may be liable for defective parts in a trucking accident include the parts manufacturer, truck manufacturer, the trucking company that sold the truck, and the installer/mechanic who made part repairs.
When Cargo is Loaded Improperly
Truckers and cargo loading teams have to abide by industry-specific rules when it comes to loading the bed of a commercial truck. There are certain weight, size, length, width, and height limits to a load, as well as special methods of securing cargo for transportation. Mistakes or negligence during loading procedures can make a load fall off into the road, causing catastrophic accidents.
When it’s the Weather
It’s just common sense that when the weather is inclement, you slow down on the roads. It could be heavy rain or fog. And it won’t be long before snow and icy highways become a factor. Visibility is often seriously reduced. Failure to practice safe driving during these conditions can also result in tragedy.
When to Call Tauber Law for a Free Consultation
When you are injured by any of these issues that lead to serious consequences, contact us at Tauber Law Offices. You may be entitled to compensation for your loss.
You can trust the Tauber family of lawyers to investigate your case carefully. If we determine negligence, we aggressively fight for you and stand by you every step of the way. You can count on our decades of experience in handling big truck accidents.