Accidents involving commercial trucks and smaller private passenger vehicles often result in serious injuries or death for the occupants of the smaller vehicle. For example, consider that a large commercial truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and can be as long as 75 feet. In comparison, smaller private passenger cars can range from a 2,500-pound car to a 5,000-pound SUV. The consequences of a collision between a large commercial tractor-trailer and a private passenger vehicle are often serious and catastrophic.
Commercial truck drivers are specially trained and must follow certain state and federal regulations that the average private vehicle driver does not. These regulations are designed to protect both the truck driver and other drivers on the road. Therefore, a truck driver who fails to follow any of these regulations may be increasing the likelihood of a serious accident.
It takes considerable knowledge and resources to adequately investigate and prepare a truck accident claim to ensure that the victim’s rights are protected.
Often, in order to prove your claim, it is necessary to hire experts in the field of:
- Accident reconstruction;
- ‘Black box’ downloads and data interpretation;
- Human factors;
- Truck conspicuity; and/or
- Trucking safety regulations and standards of care.
The truck accident attorneys at Burke Stein Rosenberg PLLC understand what to look for and who to talk to in order to investigate and prepare your truck accident claim. We understand the traffic laws that apply to commercial vehicles and the requirements that truck drivers must follow. We believe it is our responsibility to help protect you and your family from trucking accidents caused by the negligence of truck drivers and commercial trucking companies that refuse to follow these standards.
Truck accidents involve unique issues, and are often caused by truck drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, fail to brake correctly, refuse to allow another vehicle to merge, drive too fast for the conditions, are fatigued, or swing too wide when making turns. Truck drivers also cause accidents when they shed tires or other objects on the road, drive a load which is too big, heavy or not properly secured, fail to properly inspect tires, brakes and lights, or are driving defective or poorly maintained rigs. Quite often, truck drivers work illegally long work shifts and have unrealistic schedules that make them drive negligently. All this in spite of federal laws enacted to protect the public called the federal motor carrier and safety act ___________cite.
It is therefore important to hire aggressive and knowledgeable truck accident attorneys familiar with the law on these issues, who will conduct a prompt investigation of the accident and your injuries, who has credibility with truck insurance companies, and who will work energetically to obtain for you the maximum compensation to which you are entitled.
We are committed to achieving the best possible result for every client.
Once we accept your trucking case, we immediately begin working to obtain for you the maximum compensation allowed by law.
- Conduct a thorough investigation
- Acquire all available evidence needed to prove and maximize your claim
- Work with auto accident reconstruction experts to prove that the other party is at fault
- Utilize medical experts to support your claim for the full extent of your injuries
Heavy-weight trucking companies
There are many heavyweight-trucking companies competing on the roads today. Below is a list of the top five by revenue for 2014.
- Swift Transportation
- Schneider National, Inc.
- Landstar System
- B. Hunt Transport Services
- Werner Enterprises
Source: Company Reports and SJ Consulting Group Estimates.
These companies spend the most time on the road, and so naturally they would be among the highest for truck accidents as well. Trucking is a dangerous business, for the driver of the truck and the drivers they pass on their routes. The length of time to stop an eighteen-wheeler is 40% greater than that of an automobile, depending on their weight and road surfaces.
Over 500,000 trucking accidents occur every year in the U.S., and the weight of the truck gives victims involved slim chances of evading catastrophic injury or death. The number of accidents involving trucks doesn’t properly define the results of a trucking accident; the combined factors of excessive speed and weight can easily yield fatalities, and they usually do.
Being involved in a truck accident is a horrific experience. There is a good chance that you saw the accident was about to happen, but you had no way of protecting yourself from the impending danger. Many of those who are involved in these truck accidents are left with severe injuries and are coping with living a very different lifestyle.
A report released by the American Association for Justice revealed that more than 28,000 trucking companies, representing more than 200,000 trucks operating on U.S. roads, had safety violations. The most glaring violations were defective brakes, tire failure, loads that dangerously exceeded weight limits, and drivers with little or no training or drug and alcohol problems. This creates a huge potential for serious injuries and deaths. Incredibly, some trucking companies have even used salary systems that encouraged truck drivers to exceed maximum driving hours and speed limits.
Check out the trucking company that caused your injury and contact us to fight for you
Actions you can take if you have been injured in a trucking crash.
Collecting evidence at the scene
The physical and circumstantial evidence you gather in the aftermath of a truck accident can strengthen your case tremendously. In addition to gathering the contact information from the truck driver and any witnesses, there are a number of steps you can take to collect and preserve valuable evidence at the scene. If you do not have a camera in your car, or a cell phone with a camera, call a friend to visit the crash site and take photos. The more photos you can take, the better. You will want proof of where the crash occurred, how the vehicles were positioned, what the damage to the vehicles looked like and what your injuries looked like immediately after the accident.
In addition to photos, you should write out your recollections of the accident. Having your written notes of exactly when, where and how the accident occurred can help. It will also be in your best interest to obtain a copy of the police report. A skilled truck accident attorney will also be able to request an inspection of the truck and the trailer, collect evidence from the truck’s data recorder, and examine the trip inspection report as well as the driver’s log.
There are a number of ways in which your case can be bolstered during the investigation. It will be necessary to prove that the truck driver was negligent at the time of the accident. If, for example, the authorities cite the driver for being under the influence or for a traffic violation, it will help your case.
Our knowledgeable truck accident lawyers will know how to get to the bottom of a number of important liability questions. When was the last time the truck was properly inspected? Were the tires, brakes and other components properly maintained? Who was responsible for loading the cargo? Did the trucking company properly review the truck driver’s experience, driving record and criminal background before hiring him? When was the last time the truck driver took a break? Did the truck driver take a break for over 10 hours before returning to work? Did the trucking company encourage the driver to violate federal regulations to meet unreasonable deadlines? Was there a pattern of falsifying the number of hours worked in order to meet unrealistic deadlines?
The trucking companies have lawyers on the case before you even arrive at the emergency room. Contact us to level the playing field.