Injuries sustained in a crash between an eighteen-wheeler and a passenger vehicle can be devastating. The occupants of the smaller vehicle are most at risk.
Truck-car crashes are more complex than collisions between two passenger vehicles. How do advocates for injured parties determine liability?
A little background
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association indicates there was a 4% increase in the number of large truck and bus crashes from 2016 to 2017. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association, fatalities from large truck crashes increased by 330% from 2015 to 2018.
Reasons for truck-related crashes
Distracted driving and drowsy driving are two common reasons for truck crashes. However, precrash events accounted for 73% of the fatal crashes in 2017. The term refers to a vehicle, person, object or animal that was either in the lane occupied by the truck or was encroaching into it.
Overloaded cargo is another major cause of truck-related crashes. This can cause a vehicle to be off-balance, which affects the driver’s control. With a heavier load, tires run hotter and brakes and other vehicle components wear out faster. Shifting cargo increases the chance for a catastrophic rollover.
A prompt and thorough site investigation provides evidence useful in determining the cause of a truck-related crash. In addition, the truck’s event data recorder, or “black box” can provide valuable pre-crash information. The case becomes complex because liability might belong to more than one party. For example, if overloaded cargo is the cause, the driver, the trucking company and the company responsible for loading the cargo might share liability for the accident. In turn, an injured victim might receive compensation from each party to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering and more.