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Assessing Truck Accident Liability – Part Two

Posted on Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Blog, Truck Accident Injuries

There are many possible reasons for accidents that involve commercial trucks. Here are other areas that experienced investigators explore when determining where the responsibility lies for a truck accident:

Company Misconduct

Trucking companies are responsible for timely inspections and proper maintenance. Occasionally, company personnel may demand that a driver meet an unreasonable delivery deadline. In some such cases, it is possible to assert that the pressure the driver felt contributed to an accident.

Improper Loading

Trucking companies are also responsible for the proper loading of semi tractor-trailers. In the aftermath of some truck accidents, it is possible to claim that negligent overloading or unbalanced loading caused a crash, in whole or in part.

Faulty Service or Parts

Finally, third parties may incur liability in truck accidents. For example, the manufacturer of a failed truck part that leads to a crash may incur liability. In other cases, it is possible to hold maintenance providers liable for crashes. For example, a company that performs defective brake service is sometimes found guilty of negligent conduct. In certain cases, defective computer systems are to blame, so those that developed and/or installed such systems may incur liability as well.

Sometimes, investigators employed by one company attempt to shift the blame for the accident to another business involved in the ownership or operation of the rig. Strong representation helps injured victims to deal with such tactics.

If you or a loved one suffers an injury in a commercial truck accident, it is possible to review the matter with an attorney. Our firm offers such a consultation without charge or obligation. To ask your questions, or to learn more, please contact us.

Assessing Truck Accident Liability – Part One

Posted on Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Blog, Truck Accident Injuries

When a person suffers an injury in a truck accident, it is often possible to seek compensation when it’s reasonable to claim that negligent conduct contributed to the accident. However, establishing the source of the negligence may require a complex investigation. There are different ways that a truck driver, a trucking company or a third-party incurs responsibility in an accident.

Violations of Regulations

Any failure to heed all relevant state and federal regulations may constitute evidence of negligent conduct on the part of a driver or trucking company. For example, regulations limit how long drivers can operate rigs without a break.

Driver Error and/or Misconduct

In the aftermath of an accident, investigators may discover evidence that driver error, fatigue, aggressive behavior, or excessive speed contributed to the accident. Impaired driving due to drugs or alcohol or distracted driving may also constitute evidence of negligence.

Various Owners and Lessees

In addition to the driver, one or more businesses may share responsibility in a truck crash. It is possible that a detailed investigation will yield information that one company owns the tractor and another owns the trailer. In certain cases, one business leases a rig that another company owns. Both owners and lessees find themselves named as defendants in certain truck accidents.

Needless to say, truck accidents involving commercial vehicles often involve a high degree of complexity. Therefore, it is possible that an attorney focused on relevant areas of the law may offer useful assistance in some cases.

If you or a loved one is a victim in a truck accident, it is possible to review the matter from a legal perspective at no cost to you. Our firm offers a no-obligation consultation with an attorney focused on pertinent aspects of the law.

4 Common Causes of Truck Rollover Accidents

Posted on Thursday, June 18, 2015
Blog, Truck Accident Injuries

One of the worst kinds of truck accident is known as a rollover. These occur because something has caused the truck’s wheels to lose contact with the road and the truck ends up on its side or even upside-down. Trucks are particularly prone to this kind of accident because they have such a high center of gravity. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), centrifugal forces cause a truck to lean away from the curve it’s taking. Combine this with a top-heavy and potentially unstable load and it’s a wonder more accidents don’t happen.

There are many causes of rollover accidents involving trucks, but we’re going to focus on the four most common causes of rollover accidents according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other experts:

Driving Too Fast to Safely Negotiate a Curve

In order to safely negotiate a curve, the driver needs to consider the height and load of his truck as well as the configuration of the curve and the road conditions. Speed is often the biggest contributing factor in rollover crashes; according to one study, it contributed to 45% of such crashes. It’s also a big contributor to those rollovers that occur on highway exit and entrance ramps.

Sudden Changes in Steering or Oversteering

If a driver makes an abrupt change in steering to avoid another vehicle, or an obstacle in the road, the high center of gravity of his truck may cause it to roll over. Another common cause of rollover accidents is oversteering; if the truck has left the road for any reason, the driver will have to use larger steering movements to achieve the same effect on dirt or sand as when the truck was still on the pavement. When the commercial vehicle suddenly regains traction on pavement, these broad steering actions can lead to a sharp and large increase in lateral force causing the vehicle to rollover.

Improperly Loaded or Secured Cargo

A fully loaded truck has a high center of gravity, so it’s very important that the load be centered and kept from shifting. Cargo that shifts as the truck is rounding a corner will upset the balance of the truck and increase its chances of tipping over. A partially full tanker truck is also at risk because of the thousands of gallons of liquid sloshing around inside as it attempts to negotiate a curve.

Driver  Error

According to this article by the FMSCA, “over 78% of (tank truck) rollovers involve driver error.” These errors can include driving too fast for road and weather conditions, taking a ramp or curve too fast, driving while ill or tired, using mobile devices, or even just reaching for a drink or the radio controls.

The FMCSA recommends that truckers follow these guidelines:

  • Avoid sudden movements that may lead to rollovers
  • Control your load in turns and on straight roadways
  • Identify high risk areas on roads
  • Remain alert and attentive behind the wheel
  • Control speed and maintain proper “speed cushions”

A rollover accident is a very scary situation, especially since it has so much potential for harm. A 40 ton truck sliding down the highway on its side is a sight which isn’t soon forgotten; the sight of containers spewing their contents into the path of other vehicles or a torrent of possibly hazardous liquids pouring out of that overturned tanker truck are equally frightening. If you’ve been unfortunate enough to experience one of these accidents, please get in touch with DDB Law today. Our knowledge and experience will allow us to help you through this difficult time. 

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