Skilled Alexandria Trucking Accident Attorneys Serving Clients Throughout Virginia
The legal counsel you need after a crash involving an 18-wheeler
Pursuing claims for injuries or death caused by truck accidents are more complicated and challenging than are claims involving car crashes owned by individuals. As such, if you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a truck accident, it is important that you consult lawyers like us at Curcio Law, who have handled such cases and are familiar with the issues which must be addressed.
A critical first step in handling such a claim is knowing who the responsible parties are, as there may be several potentially liable parties. For example,
- the truck driver can be held accountable for his or her negligence
- the trucking company employing the driver is liable for the actions of its employee driver
- the trucking company and truck owner are also potentially liable if the accident was caused by poorly maintained equipment
- the broker selecting the trucking company is potentially liable for negligent hiring if the trucking company has a poor safety record
- also, the truck or equipment manufacturer can be held accountable if a defective part contributed to the crash
Determining the amounts and priority of the insurance available among the potential parties is another challenge, knowing what must be proved to prevail, and understanding how to obtain all necessary information through the discovery phase of litigation is critical.
The following are some of the common reasons why trucking accidents take place:
- Driver error: This is by far the most common cause of trucking accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has found that 88 percent of all truck accidents were caused by the action or inaction of the driver. Common reasons for this include over-the-counter drug use, speeding, and unfamiliarity with the road. However, most semi-truck accidents are due to fatigue and sleep deprivation.
- Distracted Driving: while there are laws specifically directed to commercial truck drivers, not all drivers obey these safety rules, and truck crashes caused by drivers distracted by cell phones and other devices are increasing.
- Truck equipment failure: Defective design and manufacturing, as well as improper maintenance, may cause trucking equipment to fail. The FMSCA has strict requirements for every truck driver and trucking company to perform inspections and maintenance on their vehicles throughout the year, the goal being to ensure the proper working condition and safety of their equipment.
- Weather conditions: Inclement weather may affect both small and large vehicles on the road. However, because large trucks cannot stop as quickly, poor weather conditions and slippery road surfaces lead to many 18-wheeler crashes.
- Improper loading: Since heavy loads weigh down trucks, it is important that cargo is loaded correctly. An unbalanced or improperly secured load can cause the truck to be unstable and more difficult for the driver to control, causing the truck to lose cargo onto the road or topple over, both of which are common causes of crashes involving trucks.
- Improper selection of trucking company: Many shippers who need products transported via truck do not perform due diligence in finding a trucking company that complies with FMCSA regulations to safely ship their cargo. This results in improper vehicles hauling loads beyond their proper safety levels. One of the reasons why truck accident claims are more complicated than other auto accident cases is because of the numerous potential liable parties. The truck driver can be held accountable for his or her negligence. The trucking company employing the driver is liable for the actions of its employee driver. The trucking company and truck owner are also potentially liable if the accident was caused by poorly maintained equipment. Even the truck’s manufacturer can be held accountable for a personal injury if a defective truck part contributed to the crash.
Get experienced representation for your truck accident in Alexandria, VA
If you have been involved in a crash with a truck and have questions or need help, contact a lawyer with experience in this field. A capable accident attorney at Curcio Law is ready to help. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 703-836-3366 or contact our Alexandria office online.