A motor vehicle accident involving a truck or other commercial vehicle is often handled differently than a standard car crash. Trucks and other commercial vehicles often cause significantly greater injuries to automobile drivers and passengers due to the size of the vehicle. There are many times that a trucking company or other commercial vehicle carrier may be additionally negligent by hiring and using tired, overworked or non-licensed drivers. If the company was negligent in hiring or knew of their drivers being impaired, the recovery for the injured party may include punitive damages in addition to standard claims of past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages.
When a large truck crashes, the damages are often significant.
Common causes of truck accidents
The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) investigated the causes of large-truck accidents over a 5-year period and found that they could generally be broken down as follows (in order of most to least common):
- Decision Making: The driver was driving too fast for conditions, misjudged the speed of other vehicles, or followed other vehicles too closely.
- Recognition: The driver was inattentive, was distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle or failed to observe the situation adequately for some other reason.
- Non-performance: The driver fell asleep, was disabled by a heart attack or seizure, or was physically impaired for another reason.
- Vehicle: Vehicle failures, such as brake problems or inadequate tires.
- Performance: The driver panicked, overcompensated, or exercised poor directional control.
- Environment: Fog, heavy rain, bad weather or roadway problems.
Who’s at fault in a Kentucky truck accident?
In truck accident cases, determining who’s at fault usually means determining who was negligent (i.e., who failed to exercise reasonable care). Often the truck driver is negligent, but not always. Others who could be at fault for a truck accident include:
- The trucking company. The trucking company may be found at fault (or partially at fault) if they violated one of the federal or state laws (such as requiring the truck operator to drive for a longer period than permitted).
- The cargo company. One common cause of truck accidents is overloaded or improperly loaded cargo. In these situations, the cargo company may be at fault.
- The manufacturer. Truck accidents may be caused by a defective part or vehicle (such as an improperly designed trailer hitch that causes the trailer to come loose). In these situations, the manufacturer of the defective product might be at fault.