Large commercial trucks, such as eighteen-wheelers, tractor-trailers, flatbed trucks, delivery trucks, dump trucks and box trucks, can weigh at least twenty times more than a passenger vehicle, which is why wrecks involving these big trucks can result in devastating injuries for the occupants of passenger cars. More than 3,800 people died in collisions involving large trucks in 2015. Of those deaths, 69 percent were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a wreck involving a large truck, the experienced attorneys at Martin & Helms, P.C. can help you receive compensation for your injuries, lost past and future wages, medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and other damages.
TRUCK ACCIDENT CAUSES
There are many factors that can contribute to a wreck involving a large truck. Collisions involving tractor-trailers are oftentimes more complex than accidents involving passenger vehicles. Truck drivers and trucking companies are subject to federal regulations when they are driving. When a truck driver ignores those regulations, wrecks happen. Trucking accidents often occur because of the following:
- Driver fatigue
- Poor vehicle maintenance history
- Improperly-secured loads
- Disregarding safety regulations and hours of service restrictions
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Inadequate training of drivers
The truck accident attorneys at Martin & Helms, P.C. are familiar with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations that may affect your case. Our lawyers have the experience and resources to guide you through the legal process.
Liability for a Trucking Accident
Depending on the facts of the wreck, more than just the driver may be at fault for the accident. The at-fault parties for a wreck involving a semi-truck may include one or more of the following:
- The Truck Driver
- In determining whether to pursue a trucking case, you should first determine whether the truck driver contributed to the cause of the wreck. Due to the extreme differences in size and weight of tractor-trailers compared to average vehicles on the highway (a loaded tractor-trailer will weigh close to twenty times that of the average motor vehicle), wrecks involving tractor-trailers have the potential to cause substantially greater harm. Because of this greater risk of harm, tractor-trailer drivers and the trucking companies which employ them are required to follow safety regulations that are above and beyond the requirements of other drivers. The federal and state regulations as well as trucking industry standards place a higher obligation to safety for drivers and trucking companies than obligations of other drivers.
- The Trucking Company/The Motor Carrier
- Trucking Companies may be held responsible for accidents caused by drivers. The liability of a trucking company for an accident caused by a driver may be based on:
(1) vicarious liability – which requires evidence showing that the driver was working for the trucking company at the time of the wreck;
(2) logo liability – which requires evidence that the driver was driving a truck that was leased by or owned by the trucking company and had the trucking company’s “logo” or “placard” on the truck at the time of the wreck; or
(3) direct liability – which requires evidence that: (1) the trucking company hired an incompetent driver, or failed to monitor its driver to ensure that the driver was following safe driving practices, and (2) that these actions of the trucking company contributed to the cause of the truck accident.
- The Broker/Third-Party Logistics Provider who booked the load
- A broker or third-party logistics provider is an entity within the chain of transportation which does not haul loads but instead contracts with motor carriers to make hauls on behalf of shippers. Basically, shippers hire brokers/third-party logistics providers to select and hire motor carriers to transport their goods. If a broker does not exercise reasonable care in the selection and hiring of competent and careful motor carriers to make hauls, it may be held liable under the theory of negligent hiring.
- The Freight Owner/The Shipper
- Potential liability for a freight owner/shipper in a trucking case may be related to either the freight owner’s or shipper’s hiring of an incompetent trucking company or driver who causes a truck wreck, or the freight owner’s/shipper’s involvement in the improper securing of a load which results in an accident.
At Martin & Helms, P.C., our attorneys will work to determine all the parties that may be responsible for the wreck that injured you or your loved one.
Martin & Helms, P.C. is located in Huntsville, Alabama. We represent individuals from cities across North Alabama, including Athens, Decatur, Guntersville, Huntsville, and Madison.
If you or a loved one has been injured in tractor-trailer crash, CONTACT US ONLINE. OR CALL US AT 256-539-1990, or toll free at 877-539-1990 to set up a free consultation.