If you were injured in a semi-truck accident, you know exactly how harrowing this type of crash is. Commercial trucks can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds and are many times the size of an average car. Not only are these large vehicles more difficult to operate, but they also pose a greater risk of devastating damage and injury if they crash.
Truck accident victims often face a long costly road to recovery and should be aware of their legal rights. In the event you suffer an injury in a commercial truck accident, do not hesitate to contact the experienced Albany truck accident lawyers at Hasner Law for assistance.
Semi Accidents: The Sobering Statistics
Semi-trucks are a regular presence on our roads and highways. While we are used to seeing these commercial vehicles, you may not realize how common truck crashes can be. The following are some startling statistics related to semi-truck accidents:
- Fatalities in truck crashes increased by 22 percent from 2009 to 2015
- Trucks were involved in about 11 percent of all 2015 traffic fatalities
In a crash, occupants of the truck only comprised 3 percent of fatalities – the rest were occupants of other vehicles.
Truck accidents are dangerous—and often deadly–and can lead to dire financial, physical, and psychological consequences. If you or your loved one was hurt or suffered a fatal injury in an Albany, Georgia truck accident, you need experienced legal counsel as soon as possible.
Truck Drivers: The Rules and Regulations
Because semi-trucks are more difficult to drive and because truck accidents are so dangerous, the trucking industry faces heightened regulations at both the state and federal levels in addition to state traffic laws. Some common regulations include:
- Strict commercial driver’s license standards, including additional testing and
- driving skills requirements
- Stricter laws regarding drunk driving, including a lower BAC tolerance and random alcohol testing requirements
- Limits on the amount of time a truck driver can operate a vehicle before resting
- Strict health standards to ensure drivers are fit to operate such large vehicles
- Requirements for regular inspections of all commercial trucks
While there potentially serious penalties for violating trucking regulations, many truck drivers and trucking companies continue to do so. This puts everyone on the road at risk and it should always be examined whether a violation was the cause of your truck accident. Our attorneys have a thorough understanding of all commercial truck rules and regulations and can investigate to determine if any violations occurred.
Determining the Cause of Your Crash
While much focus may be on the truck driver after a crash, this is only one party that may be at fault for a truck accident. Fault can be determined by identifying whether any parties acted in a negligent manner that led to the collision. Some examples of negligence that may be involved in truck accident claims include the following:
Driver error – Many truck accidents occur because a driver had a lapse in judgment before or during their driving shift. Truck drivers are only human and are bound to make mistakes, however, these mistakes can cost other motorists their lives. Many mistakes breach a driver’s duty of care and can be considered negligent, including drunk or drugged driving, texting, other forms of distracted driving, fatigued driving, aggressive driving, violating traffic laws or trucking regulations, and more.
Dangerous hiring – Trucking companies are expected to hire safe and qualified truck drivers. However, some companies may have lax hiring practices or may favor friends or family who are not necessarily qualified to operate a commercial vehicle. Such practices may include allowing drivers without proper commercial licenses to drive trucks, as well as hiring drivers with a history of DUI or dangerous traffic violations.
Inadequate supervision – Trucking companies also have a duty to ensure that their drivers are acting in a safe manner. This includes performing the required drug and alcohol tests, review hours of service logs, and checking annual health statuses. If a trucking company fails to identify any possible violations by drivers or simply looks the other way, it can be held liable for negligent supervision.
Improper loading of cargo – There are strict regulations regarding cargo loading and securement in commercial trucks – and for good reason. Cargo that is off-balance or improperly loaded can throw a trailer off balance, causing the commercial driver to lose control of the semi-truck and crash. Improper cargo loading can lead to serious crashes such as jackknifes or rollovers.
Inadequate inspection or maintenance – Trucking companies must regularly maintain every truck they own, as well as inspect the trucks for possible issues. In addition, truck drivers are required by law to perform a standard inspection before every driving shift. If either party fails to properly inspect the truck or address any possible maintenance issues, they can be deemed negligent if an issue causes a crash.
Defective truck parts – Truck manufacturers can also be at fault in a truck crash if they sold truck parts that were inherently defective and then malfunctioned. Some defective parts that can easily lead to a collision include tires, brakes, coupling devices, and more.
In every truck accident case, it is essential to determine which parties can be held responsible and it is often more than one party. Because of the risks of the industry, trucking companies are required to have substantial insurance policies, however, obtaining compensation under these policies can be complicated. You should always have a law firm handling your case that has specific experience handling truck accident insurance claims and legal claims to make sure your rights as a truck accident victim are fully protected.
Work with an Experienced Albany, Georgia Truck Accident Lawyer
Every truck accident is harrowing and every truck accident claim is complex. The experienced truck accident attorneys at Hasner Law are here to help. We have the skill, knowledge, and determination to aggressively advocate for your just compensation, so please contact us online or call our office at 855-888-4878 for a free initial consultation today.