The law firm of Isaacs & Isaacs reports that in the United States “36,750 people were killed in traffic crashes in 2018 (while pedestrian and bicycle fatalities increased by 4% and 10%, respectively)“. These large vehicles are responsible for a considerable amount of damage to public and personal properties. Although it is not fair to place a huge burden of the blame on truckers or the companies they work for, but they do cause crashes that can require taking them to court. The responsibility of the accident can fall on either the driver or the company depending on the case.
Here we take a look at some of the common causes of truck accidents and the procedures to follow when initiating legal proceedings against them.
Causes of truck accidents
There are a variety of reasons for truck accidents. The most common are listed below:
- Drug use: Surprisingly, statistics reveal that the use of drugs is the leading cause of truck accidents in the United States. An estimated 26% of all crashes are caused by use of prescription or illegal substances while driving,
- Speeding: The next most common cause of crashes is speeding. 23% of all truck accidents were attributed to driving above the determined speed limit. Trucks are large vehicles and it therefore takes them a lot of time and effort to slow down. This is usually not enough to prevent a crash especially when the vehicle is travelling at excessive speeds,
- Fatigue: What might be assumed as the most common cause is only responsible for 13% truck accidents around the country. Truck drivers tend to become tired and drowsy from driving long routes causing them to lose control of their vehicles.
There are several other reasons for crashes like over-the-counter medicines and distracted driving among others.
Ascertaining responsibility in a crash
The liability from a truck accident might rest on the driver or the company that operates the vehicle depending on the cause and nature of the accident. ‘Respondeat Superior’ is a theory which states that a company is responsible for wrongful acts committed by its employees given that the actions are unintentional and committed within the scope of employment. The company however, is absolved of any responsibility of the accident with the driver’s actions were intentional. These acts can include assault or kidnapping.
Another consideration for the company to be held liable is that the accident occurs within the ‘scope of employment’. This is a difficult task because it includes a number of complex considerations like the time and place of the accident, the intention of the driver, type of work that the employee has been hired to do and the amount of freedom that he has to perform these tasks.
The first step to taking legal action is being aware of whether you can or not. A trucking accident attorney is the appropriate person to discuss your specific case with. They can analyze the facts and provide you with an effective course of action to take the case forward.