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Negligence on the Part of Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies

Negligence on the Part of Truck Drivers and Trucking CompaniesThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that a typical big rig truck has a weight 20 to 30 times greater than the typical passenger vehicle. A truck of this size and weight, fully loaded, and traveling at a typical, safe highway speed in normal weather conditions requires nearly two football fields to come to a stop. The sheer size and mass of large commercial trucks, such as 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers and semi-trucks, generally make any accidents involving these vehicles more severe, in terms of injuries and death.

Truck crash stats

In 2016, crashes involving large trucks resulted in 4,317 deaths across the nation. Crashes that involve large trucks tend to be fatal for the vehicle occupants far more frequently than for the truck driver. For instance, in the same year in Georgia, 72% of truck accident fatalities involved the occupants of a non-truck vehicle.

Truck driver and trucking company negligence

How is a claim of negligence proven in a truck accident lawsuit? The plaintiff must demonstrate that the responsible party (the defendant):

  • Possessed a duty of care
  • Breached this duty
  • The breach of duty resulted in the accident
  • The accident resulted in damages

The duty of a truck driver is to adhere to the rules of the road, including federal and state regulations covering all aspects of trucking. The company for which the truck driver works also has a duty to properly hire, train and manage/monitor its drivers. The company must also ensure its vehicles are adequately maintained. Personnel who load cargo onto trucks and big rigs have a duty to do so safely and within specified cargo weight limits. Any breach of these and other required duties can lead to a serious or even catastrophic accident.

A trucking company may violate its duty by forcing drivers to work excessive hours beyond those prescribed by the law, or, by sending out trucks with cargo exceeding permissible weight limits.

Major causes of truck accidents

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study lists some of the major factors precipitating truck accidents. They include:

  • Fatigue
  • Speeding
  • Distraction
  • Drug use
  • Cargo problems
  • Mechanical issues
  • Violating safety rules

A number of other factors can lead to truck collisions. Determining the specific cause of an accident can be challenging. A highly skilled truck accident lawyer can sift through the evidence, investigate thoroughly and decide which party or parties are at fault. Potential liability may rest with the truck driver, the trucking company, a manufacturer or multiple persons and/or entities.

If you are recovering from injuries due to a collision with a commercial truck or tractor-trailer, our Georgia truck accident attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP can help you recover the compensation you deserve for your losses. To arrange a free case evaluation, complete our contact form or call our Atlanta office at 404-961-7650 or our Savannah office at 912-651-9967.



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