Accidents with Commercial Vehicles: Common Causes & Liability
Accidents with commercial vehicles continue to take the lives of dozens of Alabama residents every year. In fact, in the year 2015 alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that there were 103 large commercial trucks involved in fatal crashes in the state, comprising 8.7 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal collisions.
When an accident involving a commercial vehicle occurs, the results can be catastrophic. Commercial vehicles are often up to 20 times the size of standard passenger vehicles – their sheer weight alone spells destruction.
At the law offices of Alsobrook & Agricola, LLC, our experienced commercial vehicle accident attorneys are ready to investigate your commercial vehicle accident to determine its cause, and who should be held liable. Contact us today for your free consultation.
Common Causes of Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Accidents involving commercial vehicles occur for a number of reasons. Some of the most common causes include:
- Driver inexperience. Big rigs are difficult to operate and require hours’ worth of training and experience. A newer driver may have a more difficult time controlling their vehicle, increasing the risk of an accident.
- Driver impairment. Drivers of commercial vehicles are often asked to work long hours, a task that can be extremely fatiguing. In addition to fatigue itself – which could be as dangerous as drunk driving – drivers may use supplements to help them stay awake, which could cause impairment. Of course, the use of illegal drugs and alcohol may also increase the risk of a crash, too.
- Overloading or improperly loading cargo. It is important that cargo is loaded and secured compliant to safety standards. If cargo is overloaded, improperly loaded, or improperly secured, it could shift or lead to an imbalance, which could, in turn, cause an accident.
- Vehicle defects and malfunctions. Even if drivers are operating their vehicle safely, a defect within the vehicle may lead to a malfunction and crash. For example, a commercial vehicle equipped with defective tires may experience a tire blowout while in operation, leading to a devastating accident type.
This list is not inclusive – weather conditions, road defects, the errors of other drivers on the road, and more may all cause or contribute to a commercial vehicle accident.
Who’s Liable for a Commercial Vehicle Accident?
Liability for a commercial vehicle accident is dependent upon fault, or negligence, which is the failure to exercise a reasonable amount of care. In a commercial vehicle accident, liable parties might include the vehicle company (trucking company), the negligent driver, a shipper or loader of cargo, or a manufacturer of a defective vehicle part. In most cases of damages resulting from accidents caused by a driver error, such as driver inexperience leading to the driver misjudging the grade of a descent or stopping distance, the trucking company will be responsible for these damages. This is because employers are liable for the actions of their employees, so long as these actions occur during the course of employment, under the theory of vicarious liability.
Our Law Firm is Here for You
It is clear to see that the number of potentially liable parties in an accident involving a commercial vehicle far exceeds the number of liable parties in a standard accident involving two passenger vehicles. This increase leads to more complexity and can make recovering damages after a commercial vehicle accident more challenging. At the law offices of Alsobrook & Agricola, LLC, our attorneys have the resources and relationships necessary to pursue a thorough investigation into the cause of your accident, hire experts to reconstruct the accident and analyze black box data, and more.
Contact Us Today
If you have been in an accident with a commercial vehicle, there is a very good chance that you are in the process of recovering from severe and disabling injury types. When you call our experienced Alabama commercial vehicle accident attorneys, we will immediately get to work on building your case. To learn more, please call us today at (334) 737-3718 or use our online form to tell us a little more about your case, and request your free consultation.