Truck accidents are often caused by careless or reckless actions made by the truck driver or commercial trucking company. If one or more parties reasonably could have prevented your truck accident in Texas, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Working with a truck accident lawyer in Dallas about the most common causes of truck accidents can help you determine if you have grounds to bring a claim in Dallas.
Driver error is the most frequent cause of commercial truck accidents in the U.S. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 4,862 fatal traffic accidents involved large trucks in 2018 alone. Driver-related factors are the leading cause of these wrecks. Some of the most common mistakes that truck drivers make are:
Trucking companies are responsible for the errors and mistakes of their drivers through a legal theory known as vicarious liability, in most cases. Under federal law, this rule applies even when the truck driver is an independent contractor and not an employee of the company. Trucking companies have greater insurance coverage than individual drivers, in most cases. Holding the company responsible, therefore, can help you recover fair and full compensation.
Truck driver fatigue is a serious issue in this industry. Driving alone on overnight shifts, strange sleeping schedules and health problems such as sleep apnea increase the risk of driver fatigue in trucking compared to typical motor vehicle drivers. If a trucker is too tired to pay attention to the road or properly control the big rig, this can result in preventable collisions, such as rear-end accidents.
A trucking company has a responsibility to ensure the reasonable safety of its drivers. The company must conduct background checks on job applicants and properly train its drivers before sending them out on the road. Cutting corners in driver hiring and training to save time or money can lead to dangerously incompetent or inexperienced truckers.
It is also a trucking company’s responsibility to obey all applicable federal and state safety laws. The FMCSA has rules in place to increase the safety of the commercial trucking industry, such as hours-of-service maximums, truck inspection and repair requirements, and cargo securement laws. Carelessly or knowingly violating any of these rules can increase the risk of a collision.
Lack of appropriate truck maintenance can lead to part breakdowns while on the road, including tire blowouts and brake failure. Equipment malfunctions can lead to a loss of vehicle control and related truck accidents. It is a trucking company’s responsibility to properly inspect, repair and maintain its fleet vehicles, as well as a truck driver’s duty to inspect the vehicle daily before driving.
Cargo securement is a major part of commercial trucking. Whether the truck is towing a closed trailer or an open flatbed, the trucking company, cargo company, cargo loaders and others responsible for the cargo must follow certain procedures to make sure nothing falls off of the truck. In addition, cargo loaders must ensure the proper distribution of weight in the bed of a truck to prevent shifting in transit that could cause a rollover accident. The transport of hazardous materials also comes with special rules and procedures.
If you suspect a truck driver, trucking company or another party of causing your truck accident in Texas through a preventable mistake, consult with a truck accident attorney right away. You may have the right to file a lawsuit against one or more parties in pursuit of justice in the form of financial compensation for your losses. An attorney can investigate your crash to determine fault, collect evidence against the defendant(s) and help you negotiate for the compensation that you need to move forward.