Lawsuits Against Trucking Companies

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Lawsuits Against Trucking Companies

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

In the last ten years, truck crashes have increased by 49%. In 2021, there were 5,700 fatal truck crashes nationwide. With trucking companies facing lawsuits on a regular basis, companies will make all attempts to avoid liability and protect incriminating evidence.

Luckily, when you hire Malman Law, you are hiring truck accident attorneys with a winning track record. By retaining our counsel, you are letting the trucking companies know that you are willing to fight for the compensation that you deserve.

Top Causes of Truck Accidents

Commercial trucks are a hazard on the road. In 2021, 3,217 passenger car occupants died, compared to 756 large truck occupants. Even more glaring, 97% of deaths in two-vehicle crashes were occupants in passenger vehicles.

Many truck accidents can be attributed to the following causes:


Truck drivers are under constant pressure to make deliveries on time. “Long-haul” truckers are notorious for speeding since they spend more time on the road and are traveling longer distances than other drivers.

Speeding in rural settings is an ongoing problem. Since there are fewer cars on the road and more space, truckers have a false sense of security.

Other road users should be aware that there are more truck drivers in rural areas, so it is important to remain vigilant while driving.

Driver Fatigue

Approximately 8,000 truck accidents are caused by an exhausted truck driver annually, with 65% of truck drivers admitting to being chronically fatigued while driving.

In accordance with the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial drivers are restricted on how many hours they can drive in a given day.

Drivers carrying cargo are allowed to drive for 11 hours after being off-duty for 10 hours, while drivers carrying passengers are allowed to drive 10 hours after being off-duty for 8 hours.

While these hour regulations are designed to keep fatigued drivers off the road, truckers who drive these hours are more likely to make mistakes.

Improperly Loaded or Improperly Secured Cargo

Improperly loaded cargo can lead to disaster. A truck that is carrying cargo that is off balance can cause it to roll over or jackknife.

A truck that tips over could spill all of its cargo on the road, causing quite a mess and jeopardizing the safety of others. Alternatively, cargo that is not properly secured could spill out and likely cause a serious accident.

Cargo issues are rarely the fault of the driver. A dock worker or a shipper could be responsible for improperly loaded cargo. Even the trucking company could share liability since they must inspect cargo as it is being loaded and make sure that pallets are secured.

Distracted or Reckless Driving

In a recent year, an estimated 250 truck drivers were distracted while operating their trucks. These distractions may be from inside the cab or within the trucker’s visual field.

Distracted driving encompasses anything that keeps a truck driver’s attention off the road. Common distractions include texting, talking on a cell phone, eating, drinking, changing the radio station, or using a dispatch device.

Truckers often use dispatching devices to communicate with a dispatcher, helping with navigation. Although helpful, dispatching devices have been proven to distract truck drivers from staying attentive while driving.

Trucking companies have the option of installing driver assistance technologies to combat distracted driving.

Intoxication or Drug Use

Impairment among truck drivers is high. All commercial drivers are not allowed to operate their vehicles if they have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) higher than 0.04%.

Impairment does not stop with alcohol. With such extensive driving, truckers are known to take “uppers” to stay awake behind the wheel.

Whether it be drugs or alcohol, substance abuse puts truckers at an increased risk of crashing. Besides license suspension, drivers may also face criminal charges.

Lack of Adequate Training

Driving a commercial truck involves fast reflexes, quick thinking, and the ability to stay calm in less-than-ideal circumstances. Regrettably, truck drivers are not required to spend a certain number of hours behind the wheel before getting their commercial driver’s license. (CDL).

With a national shortage, inexperienced truck drivers are getting hired to operate large vehicles with little to no experience. These drivers often have no idea how to handle snow, rain, or rough terrain.

Identifying the root cause of a truck accident is the first step in proving a truck driver’s negligence and building your defense against the trucking company.

Can I Sue the Trucking Company for an Accident Caused by Their Driver?

A truck driver usually works for a trucking company. If the truck driver was acting under the scope of his or her employment, then you will most likely be able to bring action against the trucking company as well.

Given a semi-truck’s weight (a cargo-loaded truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds), a truck has a longer stopping distance than a passenger vehicle. A commercial truck is unable to stop at a moment’s notice, especially when traveling at highway speeds.

Trucking companies have a duty to protect other road users. A truck accident lawyer will be able to gather all relevant information to determine if the trucking company was negligent.

Negligence and Liability

In proving negligence, you must demonstrate that the opposing party owed you a duty of care and breached that duty. A truck driver has a duty of care to all road users, including yourself.

Once you can establish that the truck driver owed you a duty of care and violated that duty, you must show that the trucker’s actions caused the crash.

As a result, you sustained injuries and have suffered measurable losses. These losses may be in the form of lost income, medical bills, and pain and suffering.

Parties to a Truck Accident Lawsuit

Some causes of a truck accident may be traced to the trucking company itself, such as failure to perform safety inspections, negligent hiring, lack of driver training, or forcing drivers to work schedules that violate HOS regulations. Others may be attributed to the driver.

Truck accident cases can have multiple liable parties. If the truck driver was not responsible for your injuries, like in failing to keep up with regular maintenance, then you may be litigating your accident case against the trucking company and perhaps the maintenance company.

If improperly secured cargo was the culprit, then you may have grounds to sue any party that was privy to loading the pallets.

An experienced truck accident lawyer will be able to review your case and advise you appropriately.

What Types of Injuries Could I Have in a Truck Accident?

A run-in with a commercial truck frequently leads to catastrophic injuries, including:

It is important to seek medical help immediately following an accident. Keep receipts of all your medical bills to submit to the insurance company.

The severity of these injuries and long-term complications will be calculated to determine your settlement amount.

Contact a Devoted Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer

Even if you take all precautions while driving, a truck driver who loses focus for one moment can turn your world upside down. At Malman Law, we believe that an accident should not compromise your financial well-being.

With over $400 million recovered for our clients and their families, our results speak volumes. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Justia Profile: Steve Malman
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by President and Founder, Steven J. Malman who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney.

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