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Wrongful Death due to a Truck Accident

On the morning of August 1, 2006, a minivan that had four occupants (a woman driver, her mother, and her two sons – one was 15 months old while the other was 3 years old) was caught in a traffic congestion on Interstate 80. It slowed down and stopped behind a flat-bed truck as a three-axle Intercontinental 9400 semi-trailer approached behind it at more than 50mph. Failing to slow down in time, the semi-trailer rear-ended the minivan crushed and slammed it into the flat-bed truck, causing it to be engulfed in a horrific fire. No one survived the accident: not the semi-trailer driver and, definitely, not the occupants of the minivan.

As explained by the law firm Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC, just like everyone else on the road, the individuals who drive 18-wheelers and other large cargo trucks have an immense responsibility to drive carefully. However, truckers and their employers need to shoulder the responsibility of safety on a much higher scale because the vehicles they drive are so much more massive than the average person’s car. When they are involved in an accident, especially at highway speeds, trucks can create devastation on the streets and seriously injure anyone involved.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says that fatal truck accidents happen almost 11 times a day, resulting to more than 4,000 deaths and more than 100,000 injuries each year. This number of fatalities caused by trucks is only a tenth of the number of deaths due to car accidents; however, truck accidents are always much more tragic- often the cause of disabling injuries or wrongful death.

Despite the threats presented by trucks, there is no way that these huge vehicles will be removed from U.S. roads and highways due to their major contribution to the country’s economy. Thus, dispel the fear of so many other motorists from sharing the road with these vehicles, the government makes sure that only qualified, licensed and well trained drivers would be allowed to operate them. Laws have also been passed to ensure the safe operation of trucks; laws like the allowed maximum number of driving hours and the required number of hours of rest, lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit, which is 0.04%, strict prohibition of the use of cell phone, use of standard tires and brakes, regular maintenance of the vehicle, and a mandate on employers to keep bad drivers off the road.

Upon digging deeper into the accident mentioned above, a private investigator hired by the lawyer of the victim’s family found out that driver of the semi-truck had 3 past cases of rear-end accidents, 7 warnings from his safety manager, and drove at an unsafe speed prior to the accident: the warnings and the past cases of rear-end accidents, according to traffic authorities, should have been seen by the driver’s employer as red flags for unsafe driving, more than enough reason to keep the driver off the road.

Losing a loved one in an accident caused by the poor judgment or negligence is unbearably tragic; you may not be thinking about legal action at first, and that is normal. However, as time goes on and the wound begins to heal, seeking justice against the party responsible for the loss of your loved one might become more important to you.

Truck accidents can have life-altering consequences. The injuries sustained in such accidents and their resulting medical bills can leave a person unfairly dealing with the mistakes made by a negligent truck driver, company, or manufacturer on a permanent basis. However, it is possible to hold the person or persons accountable for your injuries and receive damages for all your sufferings and losses.

 

What Role Does Negligence Play in Truck Accidents?

According the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or IIHS, about 1 in every 10 traffic fatality is caused by an accident involving a large truck. The frequency of truck accident fatalities is tragic, but not surprising considering the huge discrepancy between the sizes of vehicles like big rigs and 18-wheelers and regular passenger cars and SUVs. As the IIHS points out in their website, these trucks are usually weigh 20 to 30 times as cars. These vehicles are also much larger and can take up so much more space on the road.

An accident involving a large truck and any smaller vehicle is sure to result in tragic consequences. Still, the discrepancy between sizes isn’t the only reason that truck accidents occur with alarming frequency all over the United States. In some cases, truck accidents can also be caused by a reckless or inexperienced driver, as well as a negligent trucking company. Truck accidents that fall under the first scenario typically happen when drivers fail to watch the blind spots or no-zone areas of their vehicles. Meanwhile, trucking companies can also be responsible for trucking accidents due to their failure to make timely repairs. Pushing drivers to work for an unreasonable number of hours also falls under this scenario.

Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC offer helpful advice to truck accident victims in their website. According to their short legal guide, personal injury cases against trucking companies can easily become a long and uphill battle. Because these companies are mostly engaged in commerce, they usually come into negotiations and court cases focusing only on what would be most financially advantageous for their organization. In these scenarios, victims and their families need a dedicated advocate willing to fight for their right to just compensation. If you or someone you love have been seriously injured in a truck accident, do not hesitate to seek out legal counsel to learn more about your options.

The Difference between Car Accident Laws and Truck Accident Laws

Unfortunately, accidents while on the road are more than common enough in this day and age. Several of them occur on a daily basis. Every single time, they cause damage – either almost inconsequential (just a bit of a scratch on the paint, nothing too major) to devastating rollovers or collisions that cost can cost a lot of money but also lives. The thing about regular motor vehicles accidents is that sometimes, they can be relatively tame. That is why truck accidents are on an altogether different class.

Trucks, either semi-trucks or full on eighteen-wheelers, weight significantly more than your ordinary sports utility vehicle (SUV). According to the website of lawyers Habush Habush & Rottier S.C., truck accidents cause devastating effects on the victims due to the sheer size that something of that magnitude could inflict. Can you imagine something weighing at least 80,000 pound rolling at a few miles per hour at a Los Angeles freeway during rush hour? The damages and lives cost would be colossal.

It is the sizable difference between trucks and regular motor vehicles that allows for trucks to actually have universal federal laws for every manufacturer and driver to abide by when operating a truck. For example, as is stated in The Ausband & Dumont Law Firm’s website, a driver of an eighteen-wheeler truck is only allowed to drive for a certain number of hours without rest. A truck is also only allowed a maximum capacity for how much weight it can carry and transport from state to state. Some states allow for trucks to carry over 100,000 pounds without a permit.

Understanding the laws and regulations concerning truck accidents allows for you to know your rights to pursue legal action, should you have been injured due to circumstances of this nature.

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