Trucking Accident

Motor vehicle accidents involving large trucks can result in catastrophic injury, property damage, and substantial costs. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMSCA”), of the 494,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks in 2021, 5,149 were fatal and 110,000 caused injuries. The National Safety Council reported that in 2022, 5,936 people died in large-truck crashes. While some of these deaths included truck occupants (19%), a striking 70% of these deaths were occupants of other vehicles. The remaining 11% included non-occupants such as bicyclists and pedestrians.

How Do Trucking Accidents Happen?

The most common cause of cause of trucking accidents is driver error. Driver errors include:

  • Texting and driving or other forms of distracted driving;
  • Speeding or Reckless driving; and
  • Driving under the influence.

Other causes of trucking accidents may include:

  • Environmental factors – Harsh weather conditions such as snow, thick fog, or slippery roads can increase the chance of accidents.
  • Driver fatigue – Many truck drivers are on the road for long distances and for numerous hours at a time. This may lead to lack of sleep and fatigue.
  • Truck malfunction – Lack of proper maintenance or overloading/improperly loading cargo can make it hazardous to drive the vehicle.

Types of Trucking Accidents

While every situation is different, the following are some common types of trucking accidents:

  • Rear-end collisions – Rear-end collisions can be much more severe when a truck is involved. Due to the size and weight difference between a standard car and a truck, cars can be crushed upon impact. For comparison, the average, small passenger car weighs 2,600 pounds, while a semi-truck weighs approximately 80,000 pounds.
  • Rollovers – If a truck driver turns too sharply or is driving too fast, there is a risk that the trailer may flip and roll the truck onto its side. A rollover can also be caused by tire blowouts.
  • Head-on collisions – This may be caused by tire blowouts or trucks drifting into other lanes of traffic.
  • Jackknife accidents – This happens when the trailer of a truck swings out at an angle. It can be caused by improper breaking or turning, or when a truck loses control and skids.
  • Cargo-related accidents – If cargo is improperly secured, either within a trailer or overhead, it may shift and cause the truck to become unstable. The FMSCA has Cargo Securement Rules, which state that “[c]argo must be firmly immobilized or secured with a vehicle by structure of adequate strength, dunnage…dunnage bags…shoring bars, tiedowns, or a combination of these.” You may have noticed that there are “weigh stations” at various points of interstate highways. These are meant to ensure that trucks are complying with cargo regulations. Even if the truck driver was not the one who loaded the cargo, they still have a duty to inspect it before driving the vehicle.

Who is Responsible for My Injuries?

In addition to holding an individual truck driver responsible for an accident you are involved in, there may be other people and/or entities that are liable for your injuries, including:

  • Trucking companies if they violated industry standards;
  • Truck manufacturers for creating defective trucks or truck parts;
  • Employers of truck drivers if the truck driver was driving during the course of their employment when the accident occurred (with the exception of drivers who are independent contractors);
  • Individuals or companies responsible for loading the trailer if the crash was related to issues with or unbalanced cargo; and/or
  • Government entities responsible for setting up construction zones, poor signage, or poorly maintained road conditions.

If any of the above are found to be negligent in causing injury to you or a loved one, you or your loved one may be entitled to recover for your damages. Damages can include compensation for any medical bills incurred as a result of your injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

The attorneys at SUGARMAN have decades of experience handling motor vehicle accident claims involving large trucks and tractor-trailers. If you or a loved one has been injured in a large trucking accident and would like to speak to a SUGARMAN attorney, please fill out a Contact Form, call us at (617) 542-1000, or email us at info@sugarman.com.