According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 116,000 people were injured in large truck accidents during 2017. During that same year, 4,067 people lost their lives in large truck accidents. Both figures represented a four percent increase in injuries and fatalities from the previous year.
Large trucks are defined as a medium or heavy truck weighing 10,000 pounds or more. Most commercial trucks, including semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, tractor trailers, and other transport trucks, fall into this category. When you share the road with these large vehicles, it can be a little scary. Your passenger vehicle cannot stand up to the size and weight of a large commercial truck.
For example, 84 percent of the deaths in large truck accidents in 2015 were individuals who were not inside the truck. Likewise, 77 percent of the injuries in large truck accidents that year were sustained by occupants of other vehicles or non-occupants (i.e. pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.).
Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents
Many factors contribute to the cause of truck accidents. Driver error is one of the more common reasons for large truck accidents. Causes of commercial vehicle accidents include:
- Driver Error — Examples of driver error include impaired driving, speeding, distracted driving, drowsing driving, and traffic infractions.
- Inexperienced Drivers — Driving a large truck is much different from driving passenger vehicles. A truck driver needs sufficient training before he or she operates the truck alone. If a driver does not have sufficient experience, the driver can make mistakes that cause accidents.
- Faulty Maintenance — These vehicles require routine maintenance to ensure all components and systems are operating correctly. Failure to maintain the truck can result in a tragedy on the road.
- Defective Parts —In some cases, a defective part, such as the brakes or the steering system, can cause a truck crash.
- Road Conditions and Weather Conditions — Dangerous road conditions and poor weather conditions can be contributing factors to a commercial truck accident. However, in most cases, the truck driver also contributes to the cause of the crash such as driving too fast for conditions.
- Improperly Loaded Cargo — If the loader does not secure the load, balance the load, or places too much weight in the trailer, the load can cause the trailer to turn over or the driver to lose control of the truck.
In a truck accident claim, you can have more than one liable party. For example, the truck driver and the trucking company could be liable if the driver was instructed to drive more hours than permitted by law without a break. On the other hand, a repair shop and a parts manufacturer could be liable for defective parts used on the truck. A government entity could be a party if hazardous road conditions contributed to the crash.
Filing a Truck Accident Claim
It is extremely important to hire an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Commercial truck accident claims are much more complex than most people assume. You have multiple parties involved in the claim. You also have insurance companies and trucking companies who aggressively fight these claims. An experienced truck accident lawyer understands how to investigate the accident, identify liable parties, and move quickly to protect and secure vital evidence.
Call an Erie Truck Accident Attorney
Call The Travis Law Firm at (800) 401-2066 to request a free legal consultation with an Erie truck accident attorney. Our Erie personal injury law firm represents clients throughout Erie, Edinboro, Warren, and the surrounding areas in Pennsylvania.