Large commercial vehicles are an important part of society in the United States. Not only do certain commercial vehicles provide transportation but most commercial trucks play an integral role in commerce–transporting goods across the country for delivery or sale. These trucks are a common sight on highways and roads in and around Tampa and with the benefits of commercial vehicles also comes the risk of collisions and serious injuries.
Large commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds compared to an average passenger vehicle weight of around 3,000 pounds. Because of the large discrepancy in vehicle size and weight, devastating damage can occur if a large truck collides with a smaller vehicle. Occupants of cars can often sustain life-threatening if not fatal injuries in truck accidents and can incur substantial financial and non-economic losses.
Parties Commonly Liable In Truck Accidents
In order for a victim to recover for their serious injuries, they must identify who was at fault in the accident. Many different types of parties may act negligently and lead to a truck collision and the following are only a few examples.
Truck drivers — According to a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), most large truck accidents occur due to some type of error on the part of the truck driver. There are many different types of negligent acts that can lead truck drivers to cause collisions, including violating FMCSA regulations, aggressive driving, distracted driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving with serious known health issues, fatigued driving, and more.
Trucking companies — Many truck drivers are employed by large trucking companies that can also be held liable for a truck accident. Companies can negligently hire unqualified or potentially dangerous truck drivers, fail to perform the required drug and alcohol testing on drivers, fail to keep trucks inspected and maintained, fail to properly monitor and discipline drivers, or even encourage unsafe behavior in order to increase profits.
Cargo loading companies — Proper cargo loading in the truck trailer is important to prevent truck accidents. If cargo is not loaded and secured safely, a trailer can be thrown off balance and can cause the driver to lose control. In addition, overloaded trailers can violate weight limits and can make it increasingly difficult for a driver to slow down or stop for traffic or obstacles. Underloading liquid cargo in a tanker truck can cause the liquid to shift back and forth, causing the trailer to sway or even rollover and collide with anything in its path.
Truck manufacturers — Truck manufacturers have the legal duty to sell truck parts that are safe and properly manufactured. If a company sells components of a truck that malfunction due to a design or manufacturing defect, the company may be held liable for any collisions and injuries that resulted from the malfunction under products liability principles.
Legal claims arising from truck accidents can be very complicated as the damage and injuries are usually extensive and there are many parties that may potentially have contributed to the accident. Trucking companies also have legal counsel and insurance agents working to avoid liability in such claims. For all of these reasons, it is critical to have an experienced truck accident attorney helping with this type of case to maximize the chances of full financial recovery.