Within the last two decades, the number of truck crashes has increased by 20 percent. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 4,897 individuals died, and 130,000 people were injured in crashes that involved a large truck in 2002. While the majority of trucking companies follow the rules of the road some of which are set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, several trucking companies do not, which have led to the high number of truck-involved crashes. We sat down with Tony O’Dell to have him answer frequently asked questions about truck crashes:
What falls under the ‘large truck’ category?
Tony: Tractor-trailers, big rigs, and 18-wheelers or any commercial trucks that may weigh up to 80,000 lbs fully loaded is what we are referring to when speaking of big trucks.
What are the common reasons behind a truck-involved crash?
Tony: There are several reasons that could cause a crash – from an overworked, tired driver to overload cargo, tire failure, distraction, and speeding. There are various culprits that could cause an unfortunate crash.
Who is responsible for the crash?
Tony: The blame of a crash could really go to any party, from the trucking companies to the driver. However, our experience shows that the root cause for the crash usually starts with the trucking company taking a safety shortcut; for example by hiring an unqualified driver. Many times, the root cause of the crash takes place long before the crash itself happens. It is important to have lawyers that know how to look for the root cause of the crash in big truck cases to make sure a full recovery is made and to help prevent others from being hurt or killed.
How do these cases differ from normal automobile crash cases?
Trucking companies are sophisticated businesses with experienced teams of lawyers and professionals who are sent to the scene of crashes when the crash happens. Why do the trucking companies do this? The trucking companies are looking for ways to avoid accountability. In trucking crash cases, it is important to hire an experienced lawyer as early as possible so the case can start being put together and major evidence does not disappear. It is also important to have an experienced lawyer in trucking cases because there are many rules and regulations that apply to truck companies and their drivers that do not apply to other types of drivers.