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Truck Driver Negligence The Road to Compensation

by on May 4, 2012 » Add the first comment.

62 million registered and approximately 6.4 unregistered vehicles cruise United States’ highways, making them busy places indeed. U. S. highways are also dangerous places: Approximately 44,000 people die on American highways each year.

Semi-trucks, construction vehicles, and heavy machinery vehicles represent roughly 32 percent of vehicles on American roads. And unfortunately these vehicles, along with other kinds—tractor-trailers, single unit trucks, and heavy cargo vans—account for a disturbingly large percentage of traffic deaths per miles traveled. Traffic accidents involving trucks and similar vehicles occur 50 percent more frequently than accidents involving other vehicles, and, though large trucks make up four percent of all registered vehicles, they are involved in 11 percent of all traffic fatalities. The crash rate for large trucks is 2.4 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. Unfortunately, drivers of smaller vehicles end up suffering fatalities in crashes with large trucks.

Large vehicle-related accidents carry an exorbitant price tag: According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the costs of large truck crashes exceed $19 billion dollars in a year.

The Causes of Tractor Trailer and Semi Truck Driver Negligence

Accidents involving large trucks can be attributed to a number of causes, chief among them typically being negligence. Negligence is a legal term used in the common law legal system and is mostly applied in tort cases, or those cases involving civil wrongs not arising out of contractual obligations. The term negligence can be defined as “conduct that is culpable because it falls short of what a reasonable person would do to protect another individual from foreseeable risk of harm.” A claim of negligence is often worth pursuing, because the victim stands to recover compensation for the damages to property or person suffered as a result of the culpable party’s negligence.

Act of negligence in accidents involving large trucks frequently fall under certain categories. Driver fatigue is frequently to blame for accidents involving large trucks, but there are many other specific reasons for the horrendous accidents involving large trucks on American freeways. The following causes are among the most common behind traffic accidents involving trucks:

  •  Use of prescription drugs that interfere with concentration
  •  Exceeding posted speed limits
  •  Use of over-the-counter drugs like stimulants or cold remedies
  •  Unfamiliarity with the roadway
  •  Execution of an illegal maneuver
  •  Distraction by exterior factors
  •  Use of illegal drugs like cocaine or marijuana
  •  Engagement in aggressive driving behavior
  •  Failure to take adequate evasive action

Many times truck drivers will keep inaccurate or falsified records of their actions. Trucks drivers are required to keep detailed logs of the hours they have spent driving, the time they have spent in their sleeper berth, and any maintenance they have performed on their vehicle. These log books can help provide evidence in the case of an accident, as they will reveal whether the truck driver was keeping accurate records of his or her professional obligations.

Acts of negligence by tractor-trailer and semi-truck drivers on the road are not limited to those listed above. Sometimes, acts of truck driver negligence can be due to the driver’s exceeding the speed limit in order to increase their profits or to the driver’s sending emails or text messages while behind the wheel. Regardless of the cause of the accident, if negligence is suspected, then a claim must be filed in order to address any wrongdoing.

Involved in an Accident with a Large Truck? Follow These Steps

If you or a loved one is involved in an accident with a large truck, follow these steps to ensure accurate reporting of the incident:

  •  Call the police. You should have a police report filed immediately.
  •  If you are able to, check for injuries. Even if you feel fine, make sure to seek medical attention after the police report is filed.
  •  Remain at the scene of the accident. If you leave the scene of the accident, the trucker’s word will serve as the foundation of the police report.
  •  Exchange information with the truck driver involved in the accident. Exchange driver’s licenses and vehicle registration information. Make sure to write down the following information: name, address, telephone number, date of birth, driver’s license number and expiration date, written description of the other vehicle (make, model, license plate number, expiration date and vehicle identification number), and the trucker’s insurance company and contact information.
  •  If possible, take as many pictures as you can of the crash scene. These will come in useful when settling a claim.

The Most Important Step: Contact a Trucking Accident Attorney

Once you have filed a police report, make sure to contact an attorney trained in the rules and regulations governing trucking accidents. An attorney trained in trucking accidents will conduct additional investigations into the causes of the trucking accident. They will ensure that the police report was not influenced by the trucker or trucking company. A trucking accident attorney will also locate witnesses and take additional photographs of the accident scene. Most importantly, a trucking accident attorney will be able to recover any cellular phone records necessary for establishing the driver’s negligence, to recover receipts required to show speed, and to obtain temporary restraining orders to prevent trucking companies from destroying or concealing evidence, like log books.

Accidents involving large trucks are a serious matter. Many times they involve acts of negligence. If you are involved in an accident involving a large truck, contact an attorney trained in trucking accidents. Only a trucking accident lawyer can ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for any injuries and damages sustained in a trucking accident.

Find more like this: Personal Injury

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