Truck Driver Negligence
No driver is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes while driving occasionally. But when the driver who makes a mistake is behind the wheel of an 80,000 pound tractor-trailer, the consequences can be tragic. Truck drivers who fail to follow the law, drink or use drugs while driving, or drive while fatigued are all acting negligently and can be liable for any damage their actions cause.Truck Driver Negligence Takes Many Forms
All drivers, including truckers, have a duty of care to everyone else on the road. This duty requires drivers to act in a reasonably careful and prudent manner given the circumstances. Many courts and states have found that big rig drivers have a higher than normal standard of care, meaning that they have to be even more careful than the average person, because of the extreme size and weight of their vehicles. Additionally, when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration puts a higher burden on truckers than state or federal laws, then the higher standard will apply.
It is clear then that truck drivers and trucking companies must be as careful as possible when maneuvering their vehicles through traffic across the country. When a driver or trucking company fails to meet this burden, the negligent person or entity can be sued. Negligence takes many forms, and a person can be negligent in an unlimited number of ways. Some of the most common reasons a truck driver could be negligent include:
- Failing to inspect, maintain, or repair the vehicle,
- Failing to secure loads according to state and federal regulations,
- Speeding or traveling too fast for conditions,
- Distracted driving,
- Exceeding weight limits,
- Driving through dangerous weather conditions,
- Tailgating or following too closely,
- Driving while fatigued or in excess of hours-of-service rules, and/or
- Driving while intoxicated or impaired.
In general, truck drivers are some of the most skilled motorists on the road. Their jobs require them to manage vehicles that most people could not begin to drive safely. However, when a trucker fails to exercise sufficient caution while driving, or acts in a manner that is dangerous to other people on the road, he or she can be held responsible for any injuries caused by those actions.Negligent Truckers and Trucking Companies Can Be Held Liable
Truck drivers are compensated based on the total number of miles that they drive, as well as whether or not their deliveries are made on time. When a truck driver’s family income depends on the trucker driving as many miles as possible, there is an incentive for truckers to cut corners, drive while fatigued, or engage in other risky or illegal activities to maximize their profits.
Regardless of how they are paid, truck drivers and trucking companies are required to be familiar with applicable state and federal laws. People working in the trucking industry must learn which laws apply to them and their vehicles, and must make every effort to follow the rules. It’s no excuse for a driver or trucking company to say that they were unaware of a certain rule or law.
Just as a truck driver can be sued for being negligent, trucking companies can also be held liable for their drivers’ actions if they failed to adequately train their drivers or pushed their drivers to break the law by driving extra hours or falsifying log books.Fight Back Against Truck Driver Negligence
If you were the victim of a trucking accident injury, or if your loved one was killed by a truck driver’s negligent actions, you need professional legal help. Trucking accidents are complicated, and require skillful analyzation by experienced attorneys.
At Gerson & Schwartz, P.A., we have decades of experience working with people injured in trucking accidents. Depending on the circumstances of your case, our attorneys will search for and preserve evidence like a truck driver’s logbook or the engine’s “black box,” work with accident reconstruction experts, and use the evidence to create a scientific explanation of how the accident occurred and why. Using this information, the attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz can find every person or entity who may be responsible for your accident and will help you hold them liable in court.
To schedule a free consultation, contact our office today by calling (877) 475-2905 and learn more about how we can help you get justice after a trucking accident.