When it comes to deciphering who is at fault in a truck-related accident, things can get complicated. Fast. There are often multiple considerations that contribute to identifying who is at fault—and the responsibility may fall on not just the driver of an 18-wheeler, but the company they work for.
If you've been injured in a North Carolina trucking accident, whether you're the semi operator or another driver on the road, Wilson Williams Law can help.
Trucking accidents: Who is responsible for your injury
Semi-truck drivers must go through careful training and regular testing to be licensed and hired by trucking companies. And, once hired, they’re required to maintain aggressive schedules that include driving hundreds and even thousands of miles every week. Maintaining these deadlines ensures they keep their jobs, but the price can sometimes be short, restless nights and pressure to engage in behaviors that may keep them awake longer or engage in reckless behaviors.
Truck driver challenges
As any driving adult knows, fighting fatigue on the road is a challenge. Long hours, late nights, and stretches that are just plain boring can all make a driver feel tired. In a normal driving situation, a sleepy driver may pull over to a rest stop for a quick stretch or grab a cup of coffee from a gas station.
However, many truckers don’t have the luxury of time and are more likely to be fatigued or in a hurry. Some may drive when they should instead pull over. Others may resort to controlled and/or illegal substances to help them feel more alert. The results can lead to serious accidents, injuries, and even death. Consequently, big rig drivers racing to make a deadline may be more likely to contribute to an accident by:
- Not recognizing (or choosing to ignore) traffic lights or road signs
- Using illegal substances to help them stay awake or feel alert
- Driving while distracted
- Driving too quickly or recklessly
- Ignoring medical issues that could negatively impact their driving abilities
Trucking company infractions
In the push for increased productivity and timelines, trucking companies may illegally push drivers to lie about their hours (putting them on the road longer than legally allowed), look the other way when drugs and alcohol are involved, and onboard drivers with insufficient experience or a history of driving infractions.
Additionally, a trucking company may willfully cut corners to save money maintaining their fleet. Mechanical issues can quickly pop up over time, and when drivers are instructed to keep going—accidents can and will happen, that may hurt not only others but the truck driver, as well.
Cargo and loading company causes
Trucking companies may decide to outsource their cargo and loading responsibilities to third-party companies. These hired businesses are then in charge of verifying the trucking company’s cargo and loading it safely onto the trucks for distribution.
This can be incredibly helpful for busy companies and suppliers. But, just as trucking companies and drivers may cut corners to try and increase their bottom line, so do some cargo and loading companies. This can result in trailers being packed improperly or product not being balanced appropriately when loaded. This can contribute to roll-over accidents and the inability to drive correctly in poor weather.
Defective parts, including tires, brake systems, engines, transmissions, and so much more can all take place during the manufacturing process. Just like you see with cars you buy from the dealer, recalls can and do happen. But with trucking, diagnosing pervasive problems is more difficult. And when issues pop up, they happen at a larger scale—and often at high speed. This may cause truck drivers to lose control of their big rigs and put everyone else on the road at risk. No matter how good the driver is, major manufacturing issues can be next to impossible to overcome.
Getting the help you need, if you've been injured in a truck accident
If you’ve experienced an injury from a trucking accident, whether you’re the truck driver or an auto driver, we can help. As an experienced truck accident lawyer, we’ll work with you to ensure the responsible party is appropriately held responsible and you get the compensation you deserve. Give us a call at (888) 253-4071 today to learn more about how our Wilson Williams Law can support you and your personal injury case.
Note: This blog is intended to be informational only and shall not be construed as legal advice.