COMMERCIAL TRUCK COLLISIONS
See also my Motor Vehicle Collision Page.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SMALL TRUCK COLLISION
Due to the massive size and weight of tractor trailers, they carry a huge amount of destructive energy even at very slow speeds. When they collide with other road users, including cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians, the force is such that the smaller user rarely escapes unscathed. Commercial truck drivers cause thousands of deaths and an untold number of serious personal injury every year on the roads.
Truck collision cases are far more complex than those involving regular motor vehicles. If you are involved in a truck collision it is key to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who has worked in cases involving commercial trucks.
LIABILITY AND INVESTIGATION
Truck collision cases are complex because once a truck is involved in a crash the trucking company and its insurer go into action to diminish and minimize an injured person’s claim and shift the blame to them. The companies and insurers will frequently send a “supervisor” to the scene of the collision to interfere with the investigation and filter the truck driver’s statements for the police. This means that the injured person, who has usually been taken to the hospital by that point, is starting three steps behind.
Truck collision cases involve many potentially liable parties. If you are involved in a truck crash you need to consult a personal injury attorney who knows the players involved and who can quickly investigate the collision. Potential liable parties include:
- The truck driver who drove negligently.
- The truck driver’s employer.
- A manufacturer of the truck, the trailer, the truck’s equipment, or an aftermarket modification.
- A government entity who misdesigned a road or intersection.
- Another car or truck driver who caused the truck driver to crash due to a negligent action like cutting them off.
COMMON CAUSES OF TRUCK CRASHES
Truck driver fatigue is the most common cause of truck crashes, causing or contributing to almost 40% of all truck crashes. Many truck drivers are required to log their driving time and rest time and if a truck driver causes a collision because they were fatigued both they and their employer can be held liable.
Trucks can also crash due to improperly loaded or secured loads. When a vehicle is improperly loaded, the load may shift causing the tractor-trailer to jackknife or overturn.
Many other factors can contribute to a truck collision like speeding, driving under the influence, and the weather.
TRUCKING LAWS AND REGULATIONS ARE COMPLICATED
All motor vehicles must comply with the basic traffic laws in Oregon. Big rigs and other commercial motor vehicles like busses not only have to follow these same rules of the road, but they also have to follow additional federal and state laws and regulations specific to trucking.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) set forth minimum standards for those involved with the operation of commercial motor vehicles that cross state lines.
Successfully pursuing a truck accident lawsuit requires an in-depth understanding of all state and federal trucking regulations. It requires consulting a personal injury attorney that has extensive knowledge of these laws and has the resources to properly investigate your claim. Truck drivers as common carriers are held to a higher standard than drivers of passenger vehicles, and their employers are required to follow strict procedures involving hiring practices, truck maintenance, record keeping, and time employee experience.