The roadways in Texas are flooded with commercial vehicles of every shape and size. You likely see many on your daily commute. You expect drivers of commercial vehicles to be professional, responsible drivers. You expect them to be properly trained to handle large vehicles, and be experts in avoiding accidents and keeping themselves and their fellow motorists safe. However, you expectations can be quickly destroyed when you are involved in a crash with a commercial vehicle.
If you or someone you love has been a victim of a commercial vehicle accident you need an experienced attorney on your side. You can be sure the commercial vehicle company involved in the accident is going to have legal representation working hard for them. We will fight to ensure these trucking companies are held liable for their actions. Call the expert attorneys at Fielding Law today to set up a free consultation.
A commercial vehicle is owned by a business, or used for business purposes. They are used to transport passengers or goods, and are typically heavier than an average vehicle. Commercial vehicles may include but are not limited to:
Driver Fatigue. In an effort to prevent commercial drivers to drive fatigued, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires truck drivers to take breaks and rest. They are only allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours in a row after taking 10 consecutive hours off. They are prohibited from driving a truck over 60 hours in a week or over 70 hours in 8 days.
Unfortunately, many drivers don’t follow these regulations. They are often under pressure to meet deadlines to deliver goods. This may require them to drive long hours and go for long stretches of time without sleep. The loss of even a few hours of sleep a day can lead to truck driver fatigue. The National Transportation Safety Board estimates that truck driver fatigue could be the cause of 30-40% of commercial truck accidents.
Driving while fatigued can have similar effects on your body as drinking alcohol. A fatigued commercial driver experiences decreased reaction times, difficulty paying attention to the road, and a greater likelihood of making unsafe decisions.
Driver Inexperience. All to often commercial truck drivers begin working for a company with little or no experience. They may be licensed, but they have been hastily or improperly trained because trucking company employers are in a hurry to get them on the road. The more trucks on the road the more goods can be transported, and the greater the profits for the company.
Accidents that result in injury or death are often caused by drivers who have not complied with state and federal laws pertaining to training, testing and experience. An inexperienced trucker, may be unsure of who to contact or what to log if their load is overweight. Or they might not know how to properly assess road conditions and handle a commercial vehicle in bad weather conditions such as rain, snow, sleet or fog. In these situations, wrong decision due to inexperience can be catastrophic.
Poor Maintenance and Equipment Failure. At times an accident is the result not of driver error, but of a mechanical malfunction. The following are examples of equipment failures that can lead to severe accidents:
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has direct and specific rules regarding the maintenance and inspection of commercial vehicles. Sadly, many companies ignore these rules and put vehicles with unsafe parts and components on the road. Mechanical failure can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle, leading to devastating accidents.
Speeding. It is illegal and dangerous for any vehicle on the road to speed. However, company and commercial vehicles take an even greater risk when speeding, since they are often larger than standard vehicles, and at times are carrying hazardous materials. Overweight vehicles require 20-40% greater stopping distance than a passenger vehicle.
Drivers of commercial and company vehicles are often working on a deadline. They might speed because they are required to deliver goods within a certain amount of time. When drivers of commercial vehicles speed they are putting the rest of the motorists at risk. In addition, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that drivers who speed are more likely to engage in other risky driving behaviors such as texting and driving or drinking and driving.
The following are some things the attorneys at Fielding Law will look for when determining liability after a commercial truck accident.
The driver. It is the driver of a company or commercial vehicles responsibility to operate their vehicle in a safe manner. Before operating a commercial vehicle they should be properly trained and experienced. If they were distracted, fatigued, under the influence of drugs or alcohol or negligent in any other way they could be held liable for the accident.
The trucking company. It is the truck companies responsibility to hire trained, experienced drivers who are able to fulfill the demands of the position. The trucking company may be held liable, if there is an accident due to a drivers inexperience or lack of training. It is also the companies duty to ensure that the drivers adhere to federal and state rules and have a schedule that will allow them adequate rest.
The responsibility lies with the trucking company to ensure that their fleet is safe and well maintained. They should follow a regular vehicle checklist and hire a vehicle maintenance crew to ensure that their vehicles are well maintained and roadworthy. The trucking company typically bears a large responsibility in commercial vehicle accidents.
The truck manufacturer. The truck manufacturer should have provided the company with a safe well manufactured vehicle. If a design flaw, poor construction, or faulty vehicle part played a role in the accident, the manufacturer could be held liable.
Due to the large size of a commercial and company vehicle, they injuries you sustain in an accident are likely going to be more severe than if you were hit by a regular passenger vehicle. If you loved one have been injured in a commercial vehicle accident you might be due the following compensation:
Determining who is at fault after a commercial or company vehicle accident occurs can be a complicated and confusing process. Immediately after the insurance company for the commercial vehicle hears about the accident they will send out an investigator to gather evidence and interview witnesses. They will do everything they can to defend themselves if a personal injury or wrongful death suit is brought against them.
The insurance companies investigation team will be relentless in working to point the blame and liability away from the trucking company and onto any other person or vehicle that was involved in the accident. If you were a victim in the accident they may try to ask you questions and try to obtain a recorded statement from you. Don’t speak to anyone other than the police and medical professionals.
It is recommended that you contact a commercial vehicle accident lawyer immediately after your accident. The other side is going to have insurance investigators and perhaps legal representation aggressively working to deny or reduce your claim. The experienced lawyers at Fielding Law will work hard to make sure these companies don’t take advantage of you. We will tirelessly seek to you get the justice and compensation you are due. Fill out a free online case evaluation form or call us today to schedule a free consultation.