Causes of Truck Accidents

Motor Vehicle Collision Lawyers Based in the Syracuse Area

Truck crashes are significantly more dangerous than most passenger car crashes because of the enormous weight and size of commercial trucks. An 18-wheeler may weigh up to 80,000 pounds, whereas a passenger car usually weighs around 4,000 pounds. Often, a truck crash results in catastrophic injuries or even death to people inside the passenger car. The causes of truck accidents can indicate who should be sued for damages. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our Syracuse truck accident lawyers can investigate your crash and represent you in a lawsuit.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Often, truck drivers make mistakes that cause truck accidents. Truck drivers are required to follow stringent federal and state regulations when operating commercial vehicles. However, they may speed, fail to yield, tailgate, take a turn too fast, make a wide turn that results in a squeeze play accident, or drive drunk or while fatigued. Truck drivers should drive defensively, keeping a safe distance from smaller vehicles, whose drivers may not understand the specific hazards of operating a commercial vehicle.

If truck driver mistakes are the reason for an accident, you will likely need to establish negligence. Your attorney would need to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the truck driver owed you a duty of care but caused the accident by failing to drive safely.

Under other circumstances, a truck accident can be caused by a trucking company's negligence. A trucking company can be held liable for its negligent hiring, training, or supervision of a truck driver. There are numerous federal and state regulations that a trucking company must follow. For example, a trucking company is supposed to conduct a background check and drug and alcohol testing of its drivers. If it fails to conduct testing or a background check that would have uncovered a truck driver's alcohol abuse problem and DUIs, and the truck driver winds up in a drunk driving accident, it may be possible to hold the trucking company liable for its negligent hiring.

Under other circumstances, a maintenance problem causes a truck accident. Generally, there is a lot of wear and tear on commercial trucks. Trucking companies often maintain a fleet of trucks. Truck crashes can occur as a result of worn brake pads or tires or any other part of the truck that requires service but does not receive it. Trucking companies, as well as truck drivers and maintenance crews, are supposed to maintain trucks. Truck drivers should inspect rigs prior to their shifts. A truck driver's failure to conduct the inspection or a trucking company's failure to maintain a commercial truck may be actionable as negligence.

However, sometimes a truck component has a failure that existed from the time that it was manufactured. A truck manufacturer or parts manufacturer can be held liable through a product liability lawsuit if the truck has an actionable defect — usually either a design or a manufacturing defect. In other cases, a mechanic may have responsibility for negligent repairs.

Sometimes cargo is loaded inappropriately. A truck can crash due to carrying too much weight or because of improperly stacked cargo. There are specific Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations about how to secure cargo and what the size and weight of loads should be for interstate trucking companies and drivers. Unfortunately, whoever loads the cargo may make mistakes. If the cargo falls from the rig, it can cause other drivers to swerve and crash or directly strike other vehicles. Improperly loaded cargo may be the fault of a driver or trucking company, but it may also be the fault of a third-party loader.

Hire a Trucking Accident Attorney in Syracuse or Surrounding Communities

The causes of truck accidents may be complex. It is important to retain a firm that understands the aggressive tactics that a trucking company and its insurer may deploy in order to fight liability. Our lawyers can sue to recover damages from all of the parties that were potentially responsible. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents injured people in Syracuse, Rochester, Binghamton, Auburn, Elmira, Norwich, Cortland, Delhi, Herkimer, Watertown, Lowville, Oneida, Wampsville, Utica, Canandaigua, Oswego, Cooperstown, Ithaca, and Lyons. Call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.

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