Recognizing Negligence in a Semi-Truck Accident

July 12, 2016

According to statistics published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an estimated 110,000 people sustained injuries in commercial truck accidents in 2014 alone in the United States. In addition, just over 3,900 people tragically died in accidents involving large trucks or buses that same year. Notably, the large majority of victims in truck accidents are not the truck drivers but instead occupants of other vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists, or pedestrians.

Injured victims have the right to seek compensation for their injuries if the accident occurred because another person or party acted in a negligent manner. Not every truck accident occurs because of negligence–some may simply happen because of an unavoidable circumstance that was no one’s fault. However, in most cases, the behavior of one or more parties caused the accident to occur. The difficult part for victims is often recognizing when negligence led to a semi-truck accident.

Common Types of Negligence in Truck Accidents

One of the primary ways to recognize negligence is to be aware of the specific negligent acts that commonly lead to semi-truck accidents. These can include the following:

  • Operating a truck under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
  • Fatigued driving that violates the FMCSA Hours of Service regulations and causes a truck driver to lose focus or even fall asleep at the wheel;
  • Distracted driving behaviors, including messaging or texting, using a handheld phone, interacting with passengers, reading, among others;
  • Aggressive driving, such as tailgating, intimidating or threatening other drivers, dangerous or unnecessary lane changes, and excessive speeding;
  • Driving too fast for weather, traffic, or road conditions;
  • Violations of any other regulations enforced by the FMCSA;
  • Violations of any local or state traffic laws;
  • Allowing an unlicensed, untrained, or unqualified driver to operate a semi-truck;
  • A company’s failure to conduct random drug and alcohol testing for drivers as required by the FMCSA or failure to discipline drivers who test positive;
  • Improper loading of the cargo in trailer;
  • Inadequate inspection or maintenance of a semi-truck.

The above are only some of the almost countless ways that negligence can contribute to a truck accident. As you can see, many different parties can be negligent, including the trucking company, the truck driver, a maintenance or cargo-loading crew, and more. This can make it even more challenging to identify who and what caused the accident.

An Investigation may be Necessary

In some cases, negligence may be obvious, such as if a truck driver exits his truck and is clearly intoxicated. Many other cases are more difficult to decipher and investigation may be necessary. An investigation can include witness accounts, inspections of record or data recorders on the truck, video surveillance footage, or even consulting with an accident reconstruction expert. You need an attorney who has the resources to conduct a thorough investigation in order to identify the negligence that occurred and caused your truck accident injuries.

Contact an Experienced New Jersey Truck Accident Lawyer for Help

At the Wilton Law Firm, our team understands just how devastating the effects of a large commercial truck accident can be. While identifying negligent acts that led to an accident may be complicated at times, our truck accident attorneys have the knowledge and resources to recognize negligence on the part of a truck driver, trucking company, or another responsible party. If you or someone in your family has been seriously injured in a truck accident, please do not hesitate to call us at 732-275-9555 today.

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