Commercial Truck Driver Error
When a commercial truck is involved in a serious accident, the driver is usually the first one in the spotlight when determining the cause of the wreck — and rightly so. The size and weight of trucks require that drivers be both highly skilled and focused on controlling these multi-ton behemoths. The injuries caused by an 18-wheeled semi tend to be catastrophic. Because of the severity of the injuries and property damage, commercial truck accidents often produce very large claim amounts. So the employers of these drivers (and their insurance companies) use everything they can think of – whether it’s right or not – to limit their exposure to damage claims. Truck driver error tends to be to blame, however.
One of the most common examples is their failure to check blind spots – known in the trucking industry as “no-zones” — before turning or changing lanes. They are on all four sides of the semi, and many accidents happen when the trucker maneuvers into these spots without carefully checking for clearance first. Because they’re operating a dangerous vehicle, driving the rig defensively is part of truckers’ “expanded duty” to protect us.
Other truck driver errors are similar to those that anyone can make, such as not paying attention to surroundings (distracted driving), speeding, not knowing routes, exhaustion, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Getting to the Heart of the Accident
If you are injured by a negligent trucker, an experienced accident lawyer with Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault, can offer sound advice about your ability to file a damage claim and the prospects for its success when the accident was not your fault. That investigation should be exhaustive. Not only should physical evidence be examined, but also witnesses must be interviewed, and other documentation examined carefully, such as:
- Log books and other documented evidence that might prove the driver was fatigued or distracted or that the driver has a history of speeding;
- The truck operator’s accident record and any tickets he or she may have received (and why);
- All police and hospital reports to determine if the trucker was “driving under the influence,” as well as cell phone records to see if he or she was talking or texting at the time of the wreck;
- Citations for cargo overloads, weigh station or roadside inspection violations; and
- The truck’s repair history and other evidence that might suggest an equipment malfunction or negligent maintenance.
When the Driver is an Independent Contractor
Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits claiming truck driver error can become even more complicated when the trucker is an owner-operator rather than a company employee. Some owner-operators are also employed by a truck driving “contracting” agency, which can be found liable for an accident if they failed to check the driver’s background thoroughly or the full nature of the load the contractor was carrying. But the one constant is that everyone in the industry must have insurance to pay damage claims for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income, and additional wrongful death losses.
The seasoned attorneys with Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault protect the rights of all commercial truck accident victims and their families. If you or someone you love was injured in a truck accident because of driver negligence, contact us for a free consultation at 419-843-6663 or contact us online to protect your full compensation rights.