Semi-trucks are a staple of our economy. We share the roads with these big trucks as they carry merchandise and goods across the country. Whether the economy is booming or barely sparking, you'd be hard pressed to travel nearly any distance without a semi-truck sighting. Just like any driver, truck operators have a duty of care to drive in a reasonable manner so as not to put others in harm's way. Unfortunately, due to a myriad of reasons, big trucks don't always uphold this duty, and accidents happen. These accidents can be even more severe than passenger car accidents due to the size, weight, and shape of the truck, resulting in serious injury and death much of the time.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), big trucks were involved in 5,005 fatal accidents in 2019. Despite federal laws that govern the trucking industry to keep people safer on the roads, the year 2019 saw a 43 percent increase from 2010 in semi-truck accidents.
In this article, we'll discuss some frequently asked questions regarding semi-truck accidents. If you or a loved one have been hurt in an accident involving a large truck, call our semi-truck accident lawyer in Salt Lake City at 801-400-9860 to schedule a free consultation and case review to learn about your potential legal options. You may alternatively fill out our confidential online contact form here, and we will reach out to you to set up your free consultation.
Semi-Truck Accident Liability
Proving fault in a semi-truck accident can prove to be a difficult task. Some reasons for this are that trucking companies tend to have large insurance firms and multiple lawyers; several parties and entities may be responsible for the truck, its cargo, and the driver; and a high amount of damages tend to be involved in these cases. In this section, we'll answer some questions about semi-truck accident liability.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Trucking Accidents?
Trucking accidents can happen for a multitude of reasons. Three of the most common causes include:
- Driver Error/Negligence
- Unmaintained or Poorly Maintained Vehicles
- Poor Weather
The driver is on the frontline, so he or she carries a lot of responsibility when it comes to the safe and reasonable operation of the truck and the management of its cargo. As such, driver error is an extremely common cause of trucking wrecks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) outlines three of the most common driver errors that contribute to incidents:
- Trucks crossing the travel lane into a different lane or off the road
- Loss of control as a result of driving too fast for the conditions, shifting cargo, truck systems failure, or bad road conditions
- Rear-end collisions with another vehicle in the same travel lane
Who Is Typically Liable in Semi-Truck Cases?
While driver error is a common cause of big truck accidents, it's certainly not the only cause. Thus, in trucking incidents, there may be more than one liable party. Some parties that may have contributed to the accident include:
- Truck driver
- Truck driver's company
- Owner of the truck
- Company leasing the truck
- Company leasing the trailer
- The shipper that requested the load transport
- Truck, trailer, or parts manufacturer
How Can I Prove That the Truck Company Was Liable?
Proving fault in semi-truck accidents can be a challenge. The key to proving liability lies in choosing the right semi-truck accident lawyer and obtaining the right evidence. Everything is larger in a big truck accident – including the stakes. There will likely be a lot of money on the line, so the insurance company and trucking lawyers will be vigilant in fighting for their client and protecting their financial interests. This means that your recovery will not be their priority. Protect your interests by hiring a semi-truck accident lawyer. Your attorney will have your back and fight for your right to recover, and that is especially important when you're up against a table full of truck company executives, lawyers, and insurance adjusters.
Your lawyer will take certain steps to prove the truck company's liability:
- Finding expert witnesses
- Reviewing traffic reports
- Reviewing traffic camera footage, if available
- Reviewing police and accident reports
- Obtaining alcohol and drug testing from the truck driver
- Examining and reviewing medical records
- Consulting with experts to reconstruct the accident scene
Safety Guidelines for Commercial Trucks
In 2000, the FMCSA was established under the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999. 49 U.S.C. 113. The organization provides extensive guidelines to ensure the trucking industry operates safely. 49 CFR 392.9. Some examples of how the FMCSA promotes safety for all drivers on the road include:
- Strictly enforcing safety regulations
- Holding high-risk entities and drivers accountable for negligence and bad behavior
- Utilizing evolving safety technology and systems
- Increasing the standards of commercial trucking operations and equipment
- Promoting awareness of safety
Within FMCSA guidelines, parties involved in trucking operations (drivers, companies, manufacturers, shippers, etc) are required to implement safe practices such as the regulation of maximum hours drivers can operate trucks before taking a break, ensuring proper cargo loading of trucks, and other safety protocols that are designed to prevent injuries and fatalities on the road. A knowledgeable trucking accident lawyer will know if any FMCSA rules may have been violated in your trucking accident.
Schedule a Consultation with Our Semi-Truck Lawyer
If you've been hurt in a semi-truck accident, don't wait. Call our semi-truck accident lawyer in Utah today to schedule a free initial and confidential consultation and case review. We'll stand up for your right to recover so that you and your family can properly heal. To schedule your consultation, call Andrus Law Firm at 801-400-9860 or fill out our secure online contact form here.
Note that the content on our blog and website is for general information purposes only. If you have specific questions and concerns, we urge you to reach out to our personal injury lawyer to discuss your case.
Our semi-truck accident lawyer is located in Salt Lake City at
299 S Main St
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
We serve Salt Lake City, Layton, Ogden, Orem, Provo, Sandy, St George, West Valley City, West Jordan, and the entire state of Utah.