Most heavy vehicle accidents involve trucks than any other type of accident. Weighing approximately 12,100 to 80,000 pounds, a tractor-trailer is 25 times heavier than an average car. Trucks are dangerous to small passenger cars and are harder to bring to a halt, especially when they are being driven at 65 miles per hour on the highway. Trucks and tractor-trailers are harder to steer mainly because of their sheer size and mass, especially when road and weather conditions are ill suited for driving.
Truck-related accidents end up devastating the lives of people in passenger cars or motorcycles, due in no small part to their enormous weight and size. The injuries caused by truck accidents are horrendous in nature, including brain injury, dis-figuration, paralysis, amputation, etc. These can also be deadly resulting in multiple on-the-spot deaths.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) concedes that truck-related accidents account for only 3% of all motor vehicle accidents. But, the fact that such accidents cause a lot more harm than the average car accidents cannot be overlooked. The federal laws maintain rigorous and extensive standards that the drivers and the trucking companies are required to meet. These regulations are summed up in the Code of Federal Regulation under Title 49.
Matters concerning the number of hours a truck driver is allowed to drive before taking a break, the maximum load of the truck, information to be sought regarding a potential employee by the trucking company, etc. are important matters. These are governed by the federal regulations. Additionally, each state maintains trucking regulations in order to safeguard the public.
Holding a Truck Driver Liable for Damage or Injuries
Losses accrued due to injuries caused by truck accidents can be disproportionately high. Treating severe injuries can be an expensive ordeal that can drive your medical bill inexorably to six figures or more. You may also need to switch jobs or, if the injury is severe, stop working altogether. To get compensation for their losses, victims of truck-related accidents are required to file a personal injury lawsuit. The lawsuit can be based on negligence or reckless driving on the part of the truck driver.
Sometimes the reason for the accident is the violation of federal regulations by the negligent truck driver, such as driving an overloaded truck or not taking breaks necessary during long drives. The victims can file their personal injury lawsuit based on negligence on the part of the driver, or negligence per se. According to this theory, if the truck driver has violated a safety decree that has led to the accident, negligence will be inferred, given that the victim is a member of the class that the safety decree was made to protect. This allows the victim to prove his case easily.
The victim can also file a case against the trucking company using many other theories. The employer of the truck driver can indirectly be held accountable according to the theory of respondeat superior. According to this theory, the employer is also responsible since the accident occurred during the course of the truck driver’s employment.
The trucking company can additionally be held responsible for negligent hiring, supervision or entrustment if it hires a driver with a record of drunk or reckless driving. The trucking companies are indebted to the public to train and supervise their drivers properly, and to ensure that the drivers get enough rest and do not falsify their log books. Trucking companies can be held accountable if they do not meet these criteria.