It’s common in truck accident cases to focus on the injuries or deaths to the occupants of other vehicles and to pedestrians. This is because, in most truck accident cases, cars and pedestrians are no match for the size and bulk of a truck.
Still, there are many times when the truck driver is injured. He/she then has the right to hold others accountable. Families of drivers who were killed while driving a truck may also have the right to file a wrongful death claim against the responsible parties.
Trucks can get into accidents for many reasons, which are not the fault of the driver:
- The cargo may not have been properly secured, causing the truck to move and shift while in operation.
- The truck may jackknife or rollover due to defective or dangerous roadways, or in response to negligence by other drivers.
- The truck may not operate properly due to defective parts. Defective steering wheels, lights, fuel systems, tires, and other defective parts can easily cause a driver to lose control of his/her vehicle.
Who is responsible for injuries or deaths of truck drivers?
Just like with any vehicle accident, there can be multiple liable parties in a truck wreck:
- Other drivers. The most likely defendant when truck drivers are injured is another driver. If another driver speeds, runs a red light, drives while distracted, drives while intoxicated, or is negligent in any way – that driver should be held accountable for any injuries or deaths the other driver causes.
- The truck driver’s trucking company. Many trucking companies put profit before the safety of their drivers. Trucking companies can be held liable for truck driver injuries if:
- They fail to properly inspect their vehicles in accordance with federal standards
- They push their drivers to operate their vehicles in violation of the rules that regulate how many hours drivers can be on the road
- They fail to secure the cargo before handing off the truck to the driver
- They act negligently in any other way
- A manufacturer, distributor, or seller. Makers of truck parts have an affirmative duty to ensure the safety of their parts. If a steering wheel, tire, windshield wiper, or any truck part is defective, and that defect causes a truck accident, then the manufacturer and others who profit from the sale of the truck parts can be held liable for a death or any injuries that are caused by the accident.
Other people or businesses may be responsible too. The Alabama Department of Transportation or a governmental unit may be liable for faulty road design or road repair. Vendors that serve alcohol may be liable for injuries to the truck driver if the truck driver was visibly intoxicated when the truck driver was served another drink.
Truck drivers are susceptible to on-the-job injuries
Truck driving is a hard job. Vehicle accidents are common, but so are repetitive stress injuries, lifting injuries, and overexertion injuries. The popular app Trucker Path claims that “work-related strains and sprains make up 50% of injuries and are the most costly and most frequent injuries in the trucking industry. Sprains, strains and overexertion make up for the most trucking-related injuries.”
A truck driver can also be injured in a fall, from cargo falling on him or her, and crushing injuries. Sometimes, a truck accident will exacerbate an already-existing condition, making it difficult for the driver to keep working. In cases like these, workers’ compensation should cover the costs of medical treatment and some wage replacement, but you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit as well, in order to tackle the medical bills. We can help with his, too.
Truck drivers face dangers every day. At Martin & Helms, P.C., we represent injured drivers no matter what kind of vehicles they drive. Call us at 256-539-1990, or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation with an experienced truck accident lawyer in Huntsville or Decatur. We represent truck drivers and families in Athens, Madison, and across North Alabama.