New York Personal Injury Attorneys
Truck Accidents: How Violating Federal Regulations Can Result in a Lawsuit
Accidents involving tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, dump trucks or other commercial vehicles are often fatal. According to Injury Facts, 71% of all deaths resulting from large truck accidents are occupants in other vehicles involved in the accident, not those operating the trucks. Left in the aftermath are grieving families and financial devastation.
When a truck accident occurs, It is important to determine the cause of the truck accident, who may be held liable, and which (if any) state or national regulations were violated. This process can be made easier with the assistance of a lawyer well versed in handling these types of cases.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can occur for a variety of reasons. Driver error, vehicle failure and environmental conditions are the biggest factors in trucking accidents.
In a case study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), driver error accounted for 87% of all trucking accidents.
Examples of Driver Error
- Falling asleep or operating a vehicle while fatigued,
- Operating a vehicle while physically impaired due to medical issues or emergencies,
- Distracted driving,
- Making poor or reckless driving decisions such as speeding, following other vehicles too closely or misjudging the speed of other vehicles, and
- Driving while under the influence.
Examples of Outside Factors that can Cause Truck Accidents
- Faulty brakes or other vehicle defects,
- Traffic flow interruption such as congestion,
- Unfamiliarity with the roadway,
- Roadway problems,
- Traffic control devices or a crosswalk that halts traffic flow,
- Inadequate surveillance or obstructed driver view, and
- Improperly loaded cargo.
Determining Liability in a Truck Accident
In order for a case to be a successful one, you and your motor vehicle accident attorney must prove that either the truck driver or related parties were negligent in causing the accident, that is that they were careless in the operation of the truck.
Large trucking companies can be held liable for their employees’ negligence. In the case of the independent truck driver, he or she can be held personally responsible for a crash.
It is also important to determine if there were outside factors that caused the collision to occur, such as a defective part of the truck which contributed to the crash. Also, there could be other parties who could be named as defendants in such a lawsuit such as the manufacturer of the vehicle or the cargo loader if the load being carried was improperly secured.
It is crucial that your lawyer get as much information about the accident as possible. Speaking to key witnesses, investigating the scene of the accident and determining whether or not outside factors were present are all important steps for a lawyer to help build your case. A lawyer needs to move quickly to secure evidence such as the truck’s event data recorder which has information regarding speed and braking. An experienced lawyer, such as the lawyers at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo P.C., knows which experts to retain to properly investigate an accident involving a truck.
Federal Regulations and Truck Accidents
The FMCSA drafts and enforces rules that truckers and trucking companies must follow in their everyday operations. FMCSA regulations are created to keep all drivers on the road safe, including truck drivers.
It will be important for a lawyer to utilize your state’s laws as well as FMCSA regulations to establish the degree of culpability of the truck driver. If a driver or the trucking company broke a state law or FMCSA regulation, it may make your case stronger.
Seeking Assistance from SPBMCC After a Truck Accident
An accident involving a large truck can leave injury and financial devastation in its wake. If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a truck accident, it is vital that you seek legal help immediately. After an accident, a trucking company and its insurance company will immediately consult lawyers to try to build a defense to a claim. You should have competent legal counsel on your side to build your case and prove the accident was caused by the truck operator’s negligence. You should not delay in hiring a lawyer. With over 80 years of experience representing individuals who have fallen victim to truck accidents, the attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas and Cannavo P.C. are in your corner. Call us today at (212)-732-9000 for a free consultation or contact us here.