Common Causes of Truck Accidents

There are many federal and state regulations with which those in the trucking industry must comply. If you have a question about trucking regulations or were involved in a trucking accident, contact an experienced lawyer today.

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Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Commercial trucks such as 18-wheelers, semi trucks, tractor trailers and other large freight carriers tower over smaller passenger vehicles on the road. At highway speeds on crowded roadways, seemingly insignificant driving errors that could easily occur without consequence in a small car or truck can result in catastrophe when a large truck is involved. If you have been injured in an accident with a commercial vehicle, determining the exact cause of the accident can be difficult. An experienced lawyer at Scott & Cain, Attorneys at Law in Knoxville, TN, can gather evidence and work with experts to understand the cause of your accident and file claims against the responsible parties.

Investigating the accident

It is critical to begin investigating a commercial truck accident as soon as possible so that evidence is preserved and the true cause of the accident can be determined. There are a variety of types of information relevant to your claims that must be investigated when handling a trucking accident case, including:

  • Information about previous violations of regulations by the trucking company or driver involved
  • The truck's maintenance records
  • The speed that both the truck and your vehicle were traveling
  • The location of the impact on the vehicles themselves
  • The location of the impact on the roadway
  • The truck driver's log book, driving record and employment history
  • Statements from eye witnesses and first responders to the accident scene, such as fellow motorists, emergency personnel and police officers
  • Information from the truck's "black box," which records data before, during and after a collision
  • The trucking company's policies and procedures regarding maintenance and safety
  • The trucking company's accident history

An expert can be a tremendous resource when determining the cause of an accident. An expert can testify about the possible negligence of a trucking company based on his or her familiarity with trucking regulations. An expert can be any person who has significant experience in the trucking field, such as a trucking company's safety director, the former owner of a trucking company, a former investigator for the department of transportation in your state, an accident reconstruction specialist or even a truck driving trainer/instructor.

Equipment failure

A truck is a complex machine, or, more accurately, a complex group of machines. There are many different systems operating at the same time. It does not matter how safe the truck driver is if the equipment does not work properly. If one of the parts of a truck breaks down or does not function properly, an accident can result.

If you have been injured by defective truck equipment or by a component or system on a truck that did not function properly, you may be able to recover for your injuries. Possible parties who may be liable for defective equipment include the manufacturer, the seller of the truck and the technician or mechanic who made repairs or installed a faulty component.

Errors by truck drivers

Most truckers are safe drivers who understand the risks and dangers that their huge vehicles could pose on the highway. That being said, there are some truck drivers out there who take unnecessary chances, make poor choices and otherwise operate their vehicles negligently or recklessly. Truck accidents are commonly caused by driver fatigue, failure to follow safety guidelines, failure to properly load the truck or secure cargo, overloading, not balancing a load correctly, and using alcohol or drugs while driving.

Some drivers are improperly trained for the operation of a big rig. These drivers do not realize that operating a commercial truck is not something you can just learn by doing; specialized training is imperative. Even when they have received extensive instruction, though, some drivers may not get adequate training in the areas of defensive driving, avoiding accidents and handling changes in weather or road conditions.

The best trained and most experienced drivers may still fall prey to a trucking industry that does not always encourage safe operation. In order to make a living driving a truck, it may be necessary to drive for too many hours without enough rest. This is a hazard not only to the driver who may be breaking safety rules and regulations, but also to all other drivers and passengers on the road. Unrealistic schedules and expectations, as well as fee schedules based on the number of loads delivered in a set period of time could encourage drivers to rush, disobey speed limits and cut corners.

Speak to a trucking accident lawyer

There are many possible causes of truck accidents, and everything from bad road conditions to driver fatigue and equipment failure to driving under the influence can be to blame. It is important to begin investigating the cause of an accident as soon as possible so that evidence can be preserved and vital information gathered. It may be necessary to work with experts in building your case as well as having a skilled lawyer by your side throughout the process. If you have been injured in a truck accident, an experienced attorney at Scott & Cain, Attorneys at Law in Knoxville, TN, can help you determine its cause and seek justice.

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DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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