Catastrophic Accident Highlights Dangers of Big Trucks
Trucking is the lifeblood that keeps industry moving in America. Nearly 70% of all freight moved in the country is done so by truck. With so much being moved by so many large commercial vehicles, the risk of truck accidents on America’s roadways is high. For this reason, the federal government has adopted and enforced important regulations to ensure that commercial vehicles and their drivers operate safely on our highways.
Unfortunately, federal regulations cannot prevent devastating truck accidents, such as the one that rocked the Denver, Colorado area just last week. A semi truck carrying lumber plowed into standstill traffic on the highway just outside of the city, reportedly due to brake failure. The resulting damage was extreme, involving a fiery pileup of 24 vehicles — both cars and large commercial trucks. Multiple people were taken to the hospital with severe injuries and four people were killed in the crash. The official cause of the accident is still under investigation, though there are likely to be multiple parties found at-fault.
When trucking companies fail to comply with federal safety laws, innocent people can suffer catastrophic injuries or even death in the resulting accidents. Often times, trucking companies push drivers to the brink when they force employees to drive long hours for several days in a row without the mandated rest periods required by the law. Sometimes trucking companies also fail to properly maintain their equipment, leading to mechanical failure.
America’s commercial trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and some of its most important provisions are those dealing with commercial vehicle maintenance. Just as states require our passenger vehicles to pass basic safety standards, so too does the federal government require all 18-wheelers traveling across the country to be maintained properly.
At its core, the laws for commercial vehicle maintenance cover operating an out-of-service vehicle or operating a vehicle with inoperative brakes, lights, and/or other mechanical defects, and failure to make required repairs. Improper load securement and cargo retention violations are also examples of roadside violations which can put travelers on the highway at risk of serious injury.
The Department of Transportation advises trucking companies to educate drivers about how to properly conduct pre- and post-trip inspections, record vehicle defects, and ensure that any defects that would hinder safe operation of the vehicle are repaired prior to operating the vehicle. Furthermore, motor carriers should train drivers on how to properly load trucks to prevent shifting loads, spilled or dropped cargo, and overloading.
When accidents with big trucs do happen, it might be due to the driver or employer’s negligence in adhering to the FMCSA standards. In these situations, victims have the right to file trucking accident lawsuits against the companies and investigate how and why the accident occurred and why the defendants allowed the negligence to occur.
Although no amount of money can undo the harm caused in a truck accident, the law allows victims to recover compensation for any past and future medical bills, lost wages while recovering, or loss of future earning potential, as well as the pain and suffering associated with undergoing and living with the injury. While our society would expect negligent parties to take responsibility for their carelessness and compensate victims accordingly, the truth is that many trucking companies would rather deny and delay such claims to the detriment of the injured party.
Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one were seriously hurt in an accident involving a large truck, please contact an attorney that is experienced in these types of claims. Litigation against trucking companies and their insurers are complicated and require a unique skill set to ensure justice for accident victims and their families.