Just like any vehicular accident, there are a broad range of factors that can contribute to a crash involving a big truck. Unfortunately, trucking accidents are still on the rise all across the country and they tend to be far more devastating than accidents involving two cars. When you do get hurt in a truck accident, it can turn your world upside down.
You know you deserve compensation, but who do you hold responsible? Everyone seems to be blaming someone else, and you’re being pressured from all sides. Where can you turn for help? Explore some of the common causes and liability in trucking accidents, how and why they happen, and how you can have the best shot at compensation.
Statistics Regarding Truck Accidents
Even as safety technology and education gets better, truck accidents are still on the rise. In fact, the number of truck accidents across the nation has gone up by 20% over the past 20 years. The FMCSA, or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, reported that, in 2002 alone, there were nearly 5,000 deaths and around 130,000 serious injuries in big rig accidents.
Trucking Industry Regulations
There are many federal laws and statutes overseeing and regulating the trucking industry. These establish standards that truck drivers, owners, and companies are required to meet. They also often are cited to determine who is responsible for accidents. This is important because the parties involved often go to great lengths to avoid responsibility.
Liability in Trucking Accidents
Liability in trucking accidents can get complicated. When a truck is involved in a crash, there’s a broad range of parties that can be held responsible, depending on the exact nature and circumstances of the crash.
Parties that are potentially responsible can include the driver of the truck, the truck’s owner (if a different person), the company for whom the driver works, the truck’s manufacturer or the manufacturer of the parts on the truck that failed, and even the shipping and loading company.
When Parties Try to Avoid Responsibility
In the past, trucking companies have tried to avoid paying out settlements by claiming that the driver was outside of their control, like being an independent contractor working as a freelancer. Current federal laws have put a stop to this claim. The trucking company can be held liable for any truck that is associated with it in any way.
Further, insurance companies will often go to extremes to avoid paying settlements, even resorting to blaming the victim for the crash. That’s why it’s important to never try and represent yourself when seeking settlement for a trucking accident case.
Calling a Trucking Accident Attorney
If you’re in a truck accident, never sign off on a settlement without first talking to an experienced truck accident attorney. You can be eligible to receive significant compensation for your injuries, but you need someone who is able to stand up against non-payment tactics and defend your rights as the victim.
If you’re in the Charleston, WV area, Stewart Bell, PLLC’s experienced attorneys are here to help. Give us a call for a free consultation regarding your case today!