Collisions between large semi-trailer trucks and cars are a principal cause of highway fatalities. New York ranks among the top ten states in the number of fatal truck accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently completed a study of the causes of truck accidents.
The three principal causes of truck accidents
According to the FMCSA, the vast majority of truck accidents are caused by one of these three events:
- Running off the road or into another lane
- Loss of control due to shifting cargo, speeding or poor road conditions
- Rear-ending another vehicle
A critic of this report noted that none of these events contained an explanation of why the mishap occurred. For example, rear-ending another vehicle could be the result of a tired driver falling asleep or loss of control due to carelessness. The same explanation could also apply to running off the road or into another lane.
Sorting out liability
For anyone injured in a collision with a large truck, the explanation for the accident is essential to recovering damages. If the accident was caused by driver fatigue, and if an employer of the entity that owns the truck is responsible for the driver being behind the wheel in a fatigued condition, the owner is liable for damages suffered by anyone injured in the accident. If the accident was caused by shifting cargo, the firm that owns the cargo or the entity that loaded the truck may be held liable. If the accident was the result of poor road conditions, the driver’s employer may be liable if the driver is proved to have been inattentive to the road conditions and was traveling too fast for the road conditions.
The role of an attorney
Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one in a serious collision with a large truck may wish to consult a lawyer who is experienced in representing people injured in similar collisions. An experienced lawyer can provide a helpful evaluation of the evidence, an opinion on the likelihood of recovering damages for medical expenses, lost present and future income, future disability and pain and suffering.