Carrier trucks often called Motor Carriers in Federal and State Regulations – these big rigs can be difficult vehicles to drive, with the consequences of a carrier truck accident being potentially deadly, much more so than a routine automobile collision.
In 2020, there were about 5,000 fatal accidents in the United States involving large trucks, smis and buses. Some of them involved carrier trucks.
If you were involved in a carrier truck accident, you may be wondering if you are at fault. You could be looking into a truck accident lawyer or semi accident lawyer.
What do you need to know about truck accident compensation? How does a truck accident case work?
This is your guide.
What Is a Carrier Truck?
A carrier truck is a truck that delivers commercial products from one destination to another for hire. There are often several different people or entities that are sometimes involved in the loading, brokering, and actual delivery and shipment of the product. attaching and securing these vehicles and items to the back of a carrier truck. Under Federal Law and South Dakota law, any vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating over 26,001 lbs is a commercial vehicle.
For those of you that have seen large trucks like FedEx commercial trucking, this is the type of truck that they use for their deliveries – even though it is not what we think of as a “truck” or “semi”. If you have seen these types of trucks on the road, then you are aware that they can do a great deal of damage if an accident occurs because of their size to begin with, and the cargo they haul.
Causes of a Carrier Truck Accident
Now that you know what a carrier truck is, it is time to talk about the potential causes of a carrier truck accident. One thing that you have to start out with is the driver.
When it comes to truck drivers, some of them end up going out on long routes. They are driving long distances for many hours per day for several days in a row. Despite there being regulations for maximum driving hours per day, there could still come a point where those drivers get tired and have exceeded the allowable hours of service.
Thus, one way an accident can happen with a carrier truck is if they are fatigued. This can leave them impaired and more likely to make a mistake on the road. If that happens, you are looking at a potential accident because the driver was too tired to perform properly.
Another way a driver could cause an accident is through inexperience. They may not know how to handle such a large vehicle, particularly in high traffic areas, making turns that should not be made, or being on the road in inclement weather. What can happen in this situation is that the driver may not react in time to a preventable accident, they could park improperly, or they could take a bad angle on a turn and hit something or create an obstruction in or near the roadway.
Regardless of the cause, inexperience can show in these situations.
Another factor when it comes to truck accidents is the stoppage time that trucks have. One thing a lot of truck drivers have to face on the road is that the cars around them lack understanding about their stoppage time. Yet, this is no suprise. In fact, Commercial Motor Vehicle operators are trained to, and supposed to actively manage the space around them.
It can take a truck takes much longer to stop than a car. Let's say that both a car and a truck are going 65 miles per hour.
At that speed, a car would need 316 feet to come to a complete stop. In contrast, a truck might need as much as 525 feet to come to that same complete stop depending on what it was hauling, the overall condition of the roadway, the semi truck and specific equipment it is equipped with, and the perception time and reaction time of the driver.
Trucks are often going to take longer to stop so any issues can mean trucks can be more vulnerable to causing an accident.
Something else that can cause an accident is something that could be be related to poor maintenance rather than driving related. This is when the equipment fails on them. Many pieces of equipment need regular inspection and maintenance. And, while motor carrier drivers are supposed to do routine trip inspections and the vehicles themselves are supposed to be inspected at least annually, a lot can happen over the course of millions of miles.
It can be anything from bad lights to ineffective brakes to their tires getting blown off. Straps can go bad, or chains can come loose which leads to a load becoming detached or insecure.
This can include items that the truck is carrying or even the trailer itself. If that happens, it can result in a serious collision all around them. For example, if a truck and trailer combination attempts to turn too sharply, the braking system on the trailer can become damaged, leaving an obstruction in the roadway.
Who Is Liable In a Carrier Truck Accident?
The answer to this question can help be determined by delivery accident attorneys.
Sometimes, the truck driver may be liable. This can happen if they were driving impaired such as under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or exceeding their hours of service, or driving in a way that the dispatching or owning company does not approve of. Or, this can happen if they made a poor decision on the road, or using an electronic device while driving a commercial motor vehicle..
There are other times when the company that hired the driver is liable. This can happen when there is an unqualified driver. If this is the case, they company, in addition to the driver may benegligent
A company can also be on the hook if they were the ones that had bad parts that caused a malfunction that led to an accident or otherwise was supposed to do the inspections and maintence that led to the crash.
Finally, there can be third-party providers that can be held responsible for a carrier truck accident. This can be the case if the tuck company works with them to load and unload supplies. If it is proven that these supplies were not secured at the time of the accident, then the responsibility for the accident falls on them. Or, if a person or company habitually over-loads vehicles and sends it down the roadway, it too may be responsible.
Hire a Truck Injury Lawyer
These are just a few of the things that you and your attorney should know if you are involved in a carrier truck accident. You need to know the causes of carrier truck accidents, who may be liable, the rules and regulations associated with commercial motor vehicles and how it is viewed in the eyes of the law.
If you have a basic understanding of this, you can proceed to find the right lawyer for you.
Are you ready to get started? Message Turbak Law Office today to review your case.