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How to Determine What Caused a Truck Accident

truck accidentIn the past two decades, the occurrence of truck-related accidents has increased by 20% with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reporting 4,897 individuals died and 130,000 individuals were injured in 2002 alone. In general, large trucks only account for 3% of injury-causing motor vehicle accidents. However, unlike other crashes, the effects can cause greater harm.

Also unlike other crashes, the driver may not be responsible for injuries even if they are clearly at fault. Instead, there is a “web of players” such as:

  • The truck driver.
  • The owner of the truck/trailer.
  • Either the person or the company that is leasing the truck or trailer from the owner.
  • The manufacturer of the vehicle, the tires, or the other parts if they may have led to or contributed to the crash or accident.
  • Either the shipper or the person who loaded the cargo if improper loading of the cargo contributed to the accident.

With so many hands on the wheel, so to speak, there are often internal arguments over whose insurance will cover the injuries and damages. Due to this, it’s imperative to know the cause of the accident, as it can help quicken the process for compensation.

Common Causes

While there are plenty of things that can go wrong on the road, especially given the lengths most truck drivers will travel during a trip, there are more common causes that most accidents will fall under. These include driver error both leading up to and during the trip, mechanical failures, traffic signal failures, inclement weather and road design or construction. The top two most common are driver error and equipment issues.

Driver Error

Drivers of large trucks are ten times more likely to be the cause of a truck accident compared to other factors, making it the most common cause of truck accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found both action and inaction by drivers was the critical cause for 88 percent of all truck accidents. With long hours on the road and other factors such as speeding, fatigue, inattention, work environment, unfamiliarity with roads and distractions, it is no surprise that this is the most common cause for crashes.

Equipment Problems and Failure

The second most common cause of truck accidents is when the equipment or parts of a large truck fail. This can include anything from defective tires to design errors. In other cases, mechanical errors are due to failure to maintain the equipment, such as removing or depowering brakes, leading a truck to jackknife, or tire blowouts from wear.

If you have been the victim of a larger truck accident, contact us today. At Jonathan Perkins Personal Injury Lawyers, we have worked with truck accident cases and understand the nuances and small details that come from these big cases.


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