In 2006, 385,000 large trucks, also known as eighteen-wheelers, tractor-trailers or other types of commercial carriers, were involved in accidents resulting in almost 5,000 fatalities and over 100,000 serious injuries. Aside from the obvious issues arising from the difference in size between large trucks and automobiles, commercial carriers often carry hazardous or other materials that can cause secondary damage. Trucking accident lawsuits are common in Oklahoma and other states due to the often devastating injuries that can occur when a large truck collides with a passenger vehicle.
Negligence in Trucking Accidents
A study released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that driver negligence could be responsible for up to 88 percent of semi truck accidents Negligence conduct on the part of a truck driver can include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or being distracted while texting or talking on a cell phone. A driver could also cause an accident by driving while fatigued as a result of exceeding allowable hours on the road. Other neglect acts by truck drivers include speeding or driving too fast for conditions, overly aggressive driving, and violating other rules of the road.
Equipment failures are another leading cause of truck accidents. This may include defective equipment installed at the factory or design flaws. Some failures can be attributed to a lack of routine maintenance. While the freight carrier owns some semis, many carriers use independent owner-operators for deliveries. While most owner-operators realize the importance of regular maintenance, some may fail to keep up with the recommended schedule, placing themselves and other drivers at risk. Tires, steering and braking systems, and improper load distribution are all leading causes of equipment failure in truck accidents.
Semi Truck Accident Information
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 24 percent of fatalities occurring in semi-truck accidents in 2006 were caused by drivers with a previous violation for speeding. Failure to obey traffic laws is negligence. Other traffic offenses include improper lane changes, failure to yield, and tailgating.
Trucking accident lawsuits involve a number of potential parties, including the driver, the owner of the truck and/or trailer, the manufacturer of the vehicle, and the entity that leased the vehicle from the owner. In trucking accident lawsuits involving improper loading, the shipper might also be considered a responsible party. Under the current law, any company that owns a federal trucking permit is responsible for all accidents that involve a truck with its name displayed on the truck involved. This “logo liability” applies whether the driver is an employee or an independent owner-operator.
Trucking accidents can cause devastating injuries, including broken bones, partial paralysis, traumatic brain injury, amputations and burns. Many accidents can result in the death of the automobile occupants even though the truck driver sustains minor injuries.
Injured in an Accident Involving a Semi Truck? Call Us Today.
Given the serious nature of these types of accidents, trucking companies can be quick to try to settle with victims and their families to avoid trucking accident lawsuits. If you or a loved one is a victim of a trucking accident, you don’t have to navigate the maze of a trucking accident lawsuit alone. Contact the Oklahoma Injury Attorney Group for a free consultation regarding a possible personal injury or wrongful death claim. There is no obligation, and if you have a case we can connect you with an affiliated Oklahoma trucking accident attorney who can assist you in pursuing your claim.