Big Truck Accidents: Who’s At Fault?

Date: April 14, 2014

The commercial trucking industry is a necessity and a mainstay of the U.S. economy. After all, it would be far too expensive to attempt to send all large shipments by plane or train. Unfortunately, the demand for these large trucks means that there are often lots of them barreling down the roads of America. When these drivers act negligently, it can be quite easy for passengers in an automobile to end up seriously injured. When this happens it is imperative for everyone involved to recognize who is liable for the incident.

Trucking Accident Statistics

The statistics related to trucking accidents are disheartening. While accidents involving these large trucks only account for about three percent of all motor vehicle collisions on America’s roads every year, truck accidents cause about 12 percent of all auto accident related deaths every year. Considering the size differential between big rigs and passenger vehicles though, this isn’t very surprising.

It should be noted that not every personal injury resulting from a trucking accident is the truck driver’s fault. In fact, a study in one state found that passenger vehicle drivers were at fault in about 40 percent of all trucking accidents. This, of course, still means that most of these accidents resulted from negligence on the part of the commercial vehicle.

Leading Causes of Trucking Accidents

There are many instances when negligent truck drivers are to blame for an accident, but any experienced auto accident attorney can attest to the fact that this isn’t always the case. Dangerous road conditions, such as potholes or poor lighting can lead to serious accidents. Additionally, faulty maintenance on the truck can lead to mechanical failure which can result in a collision. Even improperly loaded trailers can cause a truck to jackknife unexpectedly. Because of these complex issues, it is important to hire an experienced truck accident attorney if you have been injured in a truck accident.

Liability Issues with Commercial Trucks

As evidenced by some of the leading causes of big rig accidents, liability cannot always be laid squarely upon the truck driver. Obviously, if the trucker was fatigued, intoxicated, or even distracted while driving, he can be held accountable. It’s important to note that due to the doctrine of vicarious liability, the trucking company that employs the driver is often the party held liable.

In cases where an accident results from shifting cargo, the company that loaded the trailer could face legal responsibility. Even a maintenance crew or the vehicle’s manufacturer may be at fault if there was some form of mechanical failure that caused the accident. In most instances, it’s simply essential to hire a truck accident attorney after such a collision. This is likely the only way that all responsible parties will be held accountable.

It can be scary driving down the road when a commercial truck comes charging by, but fortunately, most of us will never experience a collision with one of these large vehicles. For those that do, however, the outcome can be disastrous. Fortunately, the help of a good auto accident attorney can go a long way in recovering financial compensation from those who are responsible for the accident.

Paul Oven
Paul started as a Law Clerk with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, L.L.P. while attending the University of Scranton in 1990. After completing law school in 1995, he started as an Associate in the Scranton/Moosic office immediately and became a Partner in 2000.