Laws Governing Truck Accidents
Federal regulations that establish interstate standards for truckers under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) often determine who is liable for damages caused by truck accidents. Every state government has a department that makes and enforces trucking regulations. So trucking law is extensive and complex. To succeed, every Riverside truck accident lawyer must develop formidable knowledge, skills, and abilities for a challenging practice. These are the skills that Rizio Law Firm possesses throughout our 20 years of experience.
Who Is Responsible?
In truck crashes, many parties may bear some liability for a claimant’s injuries:
- The driver
- The owner
- The lessee
- The manufacturer of the vehicle, its brakes, tires, or other parts
- The shipper or loader of truck cargo
Truckers, haulers, and lessees often argue over whose insurer should pay a claim.
Trucking companies try to evade liability by distancing themselves from their drivers, vehicles, and equipment. When trucks cause crashes, big truckers argue in each case that the driver was not their employee, so they are not liable for driver error. They may also claim that they do not own the equipment and are not responsible for its operation, maintenance, upkeep, or repair. Under current federal law, every trucking permit holder is liable for all injuries by any truck displaying its placard or name regardless of any lease terms or whether the driver is an employee or independent contractor.
Devices similar to aircraft black boxes are used in the trucking industry. These devices record truck speed, speed patterns, break times, and how long the truck has been on the road. Inclinometers record information about slope and corner angles. A successful truck accident attorney always secures and preserves such data for use as evidence of crash conditions.
Truck Accident Statistics
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), is charged with collecting and analyzing data involving truck accidents in all 50 states. According to a recent report, 3,978 trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds were involved in fatal crashes in 2014, which is a decrease of 5 percent over the previous year. However, this is the first decrease since 2009, when fatal truck accidents rose each year through 2013.
The number of truck accidents resulting in injuries was 88,000 in 2014, which was an increase of 55 percent since 2009. In addition, injury crashes involving large trucks rose by 21 percent, and truck accidents resulting only in property damage rose by 31 percent from 2013 to 2014.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 98 percent of all semi-truck accidents result in one or more fatalities, and tractor-trailer accidents are responsible for more than $20 billion in damages each year.
When it comes to commercial trucks as a larger classification, the average truck accident results in about $59,200 in damage, and 90 percent of these accidents are caused or made worse by human error.
Common Types of Truck Accidents
The types of accidents that can occur with trucks are quite varied and differ from the accidents that automobiles can cause. Following are some of the common types of truck accidents:
Jackknife – When a tractor-trailer stops suddenly, the trailer can swings out to the side, impacting with other vehicles.
Load drop – Cargo on trucks that is inadequately secured may come loose and spill onto the roadway or other vehicles.
Rollover – Truck drivers sometimes lose control of their vehicles, and they tip onto one side or roll from one side to another.
Blind spots – Trucks have large blind spots that block a driver’s view of the road and other vehicles.
Consult an Established Riverside Truck Accident Lawyer
When a semi truck or tractor-trailer is involved in an accident with a passenger vehicle, the results are often catastrophic. While liability may seem straightforward in these cases, the trucking company and its insurance carrier will try to deny liability by any means necessary. They have teams of lawyers, insurance adjusters and other experts who are employed to protect the company from expense.
Full and fair compensation is our goal for payment of your complete recovery costs. Rizio Law Firm has assisted and represented truck accident victims in Southern California for over 20 years.
Call 888-292-8888 today to schedule a free consultation with a skilled, experienced Riverside truck accident lawyer in Riverside. You can also use our online form if you would prefer. We have an office conveniently located in Riverside to meet with you and discuss your case.