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truck accident attorneyTrucking accidents can change lives in an instant. Anyone involved in an accident with a large truck may find searching for a cause to be confusing and exhausting. As with car accidents, drivers and equipment play huge roles in each situation. However, with large trucks even more complications may arise. Parties involved can include truck drivers, owners, manufacturers, and shippers. With all these players on the field, an understanding of common causes of truck accidents and the legal ramifications are essential. Though weather and road design may play a role, the most common causes of trucking accidents involve driver error and mechanical failure.

Driver Problems

Road conditions and vehicle safety contribute to the likelihood of truck accidents. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) offers statistics that show truck drivers are ten times more likely to be at fault than any other factor. By far, the most common reason is driver fatigue. Laws called “hours of service rules” provide strict guidelines for legal driving time and necessary rest prior to trucking shifts. For example, drivers can legally drive 11 hours per day, with an additional three non-driving hours on the clock. There must be at least 10 consecutive hours of time off to rest between shifts. In cases where driver fatigue is suspected, possible violations can be tracked. Law requires drivers to log hours. Time stamped records of deliveries can also provide documentation of hours. In some cases, trucking companies have been found misrepresenting driving logs. These forms of documentation are important in tracking liability.

Drug use is another cause of trucking accidents. Trucking companies must follow anti-drug regulations by testing employees as a condition of employment. Random drug testing of on-duty drivers is also required. However, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has investigated cases in which drivers use tricks like synthetic urine to ensure a false negative. Since such findings, the DOT has required companies to obtain copies of drug tests from previous employment. Use of any controlled substance not prescribed by a physician is illegal and can be used to prove liability.

Other causes of accidents related to driver error include blind spots and rollovers. A large truck’s blind spot is known as a ‘no-zone.’ When a car passes in this zone, chances of accidents statistically increase by 60 percent. Rollovers occur when a driver misjudges curves. Misjudging weight distribution and speeding are rollover causes as well. Unfortunately, rollovers are quite common and many times fatal.

Defective Brakes

Truck brakes require a certain level of maintenance to remain safe. Brake issues cause 29.4 percent of trucking accidents according to the DOT. Brake manufacturers must follow strict safety regulations to legally offer their product. They may be liable if:

  • Safety regulations are side-stepped
  • Mistakes during manufacturing caused defects
  • Manufacture recalls occurred

Owner, driver, and company negligence may also affect brake safety. Blame may lie with more than one party involved. The following are examples of driver and company negligence:

  • Front brakes were depowered to avoid wear and tear costs
  • Improper maintenance and necessary logs (including air leaks, brake shoe and component checks)
  • Failure to conduct pre-trip inspection of tractor/trailer equipment

Contact Malman Law – Truck Accident Lawyer

Illinois and federal trucking and manufacturing laws involve many different players. Relationships between owners, drivers, hauling companies, and manufacturers can be complicated. The personal injury attorneys at Malman Law have helped countless clients obtain the compensation they deserve. If you’ve been injured, call today for a free consultation.

Firm Awards & Recognitions

Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the American Institute of Legal Counsel. A description of the selection methodology can be found at http://www.aiopia.org/selection/.

  • Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys. A description of the selection methodology can be found at http://www.naopia.com/selection-process.

  • Steven Malman was selected to the list for 2018-2019.

  • Only the top 100 trial lawyers from each state or highly-populated regions of certain states who are actively practicing in civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense law are eligible for invitation. Invitees must demonstrate superior qualifications, leadership skills, and trial results as a legal professional. The selection process for this elite honor is based on a multi-phase process based upon objective and uniformly applied criteria which includes peer nominations combined with third party research.

    Prospective members of The NTL are carefully screened prior to receiving an invitation for membership.

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