How Common Are Auto Wrecks Involving Large Semi-Trucks or Other Commercial Vehicles Occurring on South Central Indiana Roadways?
Passenger cars and trucks make up the vast majority of vehicles on our roadways. Most accidents occur at and near intersections, but the most serious striking accidents occur on the interstate, rather than on local roads and streets. With modern farming, however, we have seen an influx of more and more large trucks on narrower and hillier county roads, and this situation poses an increasing risk of crashes on our local roads, and also an increase in the impact of those crashes. But for the most part, the majority of auto accidents involves passenger vehicles and not commercial trucks.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Trucking Accidents in South Central Indiana?
Accidents where the truck driver or trucking company is liable usually involve the driver’s inattention, the driver’s failure to follow their safety rules in heavy traffic situations or failure to maintain a safe stopping distance, vehicle failure, shifting loads in the back of the cargo holds, or spills on the road. All rules and regulations have to be looked into, as the driver’s inattention can arise from any number of other issues. Entry and exit of traffic onto an interstate or at exchanges also presents a common danger around semi-trucks that can result in crashes.
What Are Some of the Severe Injuries You See as a Result of These Accidents That Involve Large Trucks or Semi-Trucks?
Unfortunately, heavy trucks generally cause more serious injuries, and those more serious injuries are generally more likely to have more serious and permanent debilitating effects. For accidents involving commercial trucks on the interstate, it’s very common to see wrongful deaths, head traumas with permanent cognitive deficits, serious spinal injuries (including paralysis), and a lot of serious fractures and internal injuries that require surgery. Overall, the force of the impact is greater, and the resulting injuries are going to be greater.
What Is Involved in the Investigation of an Accident with a Large Commercial Vehicle or Semi-Truck? What Does Your Firm Do That’s Different from Passenger-Only Vehicle Accidents?
Trucking companies carry much higher limits on their insurance than typical automobile drivers, and their trucks and drivers are subject to many more regulations than typical passenger vehicles. The reason for both of these differences is obvious – commercial trucks pose a much more significant threat of serious harm to others around them when they are on the road.
Normal passenger car and truck operators just have to get an operator’s license, but drivers of semi- tractor-trailers have to have special training and get a special license, and there are multiple levels of licensing. In addition to their special training, there are a slew of federal motor carrier rules and regulations and laws they have to follow, on top of the state rules of the road that normal passenger drivers follow. There are also some industry standards and guidelines that can be relevant in determining how a driver may have failed in operating the vehicle and causing a crash. Our investigation must look into those federal laws and industry standards.
In light of all the additional requirements put on those commercial carriers, there are heavier training requirements for the driver that we check into and make sure they’ve kept up and have all the required licensing. We check into the regulations concerning driver wellness and sleep/rest in between driving. We get their driver logs to see what kind of hours they’ve driven. We also check their vehicle maintenance and inspection requirements, which should be logged, during our investigation, as well as routine substance testing of the drivers. We look into whether there was a load that the truck was carrying, who owned the load, who loaded the truck, and how it was secured. We check any recording devices onboard.
In many cases, checking the industry-specific guidelines for traffic situations that may apply to truckers to help avoid risk of crash is important because the driver may have neglected to follow them. Proving this helps established that they violated the standard of care.
Who Are Possible Liable Parties for an Accident Involving a Semi-Truck in Indiana?
There are a lot of relationships that have to be investigated in trucking cases that impact which parties are potentially liable: the relationship between the truck owner and truck driver, the owner of the load, the employer of the driver, and the truck owner—all of those people are important. If the truck was carrying a load, there is a potential responsibility lying on the cargo shipper, the cargo loader, and the parties related to them. That doesn’t exist in a typical automobile crash. There could be five or six defendants in a truck crash who all may share some portion of liability.