Truck accidents have become more common nationwide. In 2019, there were 5,005 truck accidents across the country. This represents a 43% increase since 2010. The number of injuries also increased by 7%. Most of those injured in large truck accidents were occupants in other vehicles.
Truck accidents are different from car accidents because several factors are at play. These include the truck’s size, the severity of your injuries, and the possibility of multiple responsible parties.
Federal and state regulations can be complex for victims, so you need the assistance of a skilled and experienced truck accident lawyer to help you win maximum compensation.
Our Detroit truck accident lawyers can help you obtain fair compensation from the liable parties if you suffer injuries in a truck accident. Learn why you need a Fieger Law truck accident attorney on your side.
Multiple Federal and State Laws Oversee Trucks
Car accidents fall under local and state regulations, whereas truck accidents have various federal and state laws governing them.
● Who regulates trucking in the United States?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversees commercial trucking regulations, including the hours-of-service for truck drivers, drug and alcohol testing, and inspections and maintenance.
The FMCSA also regulates cargo loading. Every cargo load must adhere to a specific weight, size, length, width, and height limits. Otherwise, the person or company loading the vehicle may be liable for accident injuries.
Some truck companies violate federal and state regulations on cargo limits to transport as much cargo as possible. An estimated 5% of all truck accidents in the U.S. involve trucks carrying loads over capacity.
● Laws regarding work hours for truckers
Under federal law, truck drivers can work for 14 consecutive hours, of which 11 can be driving. The 14-hour window applies only if they have a 10-hour break before starting a shift. These federal laws can put drivers’ health and safety at risk. Having unrealistic deadlines may also lead to risky road behaviors like speeding and driving beyond the permitted driving hours.
● State laws and truck accidents
State trucking regulations apply to trucks and drivers that operate within Michigan’s borders. Michigan state employees regularly inspect trucks and their drivers to enforce federal rules regarding equipment, hours of operation, and vehicle maintenance and inspection.
Trucks Are Heavier Than Cars
Commercial trucks pose a significant threat on interstate highways and roads. A truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. In comparison, the average passenger vehicle weighs 4,156 pounds.
Driving a large truck requires special training in looking at large mirrors, reversing, and crossing intersections. Truck drivers must also compensate for the large blind spots on their vehicles. Because large trucks are heavier and bigger than passenger cars, collisions with them often result in catastrophic, life-changing injuries.
Injuries Are More Severe
In 2020 in Michigan, 81.9% of collisions involving a truck and another motor vehicle resulted in an injury, and 70.5% of collisions involving a heavy truck resulted in a fatality. 68% of truck fatalities are occupants of passenger vehicles.
Back and neck injuries such as whiplash are the most common truck accident injuries. A spinal injury can result in temporary, permanent, or partial paralysis in your lower body and torso.
Passengers or drivers in other vehicles that collide with semi-trucks may suffer burns, permanent disfigurement, or injuries resulting in the amputation of limbs. Following an accident, daily activities may require adaptive devices like prosthetics and wheelchairs, in addition to rehabilitation and attendant care.
There May Be Multiple Parties in a Truck Accident
When the truck driver is an employee of the company that owns the truck, both parties may be liable for your injuries. You may have to go through federal court to file a lawsuit against the trucking company if they are based in another state.
If a manufacturing or maintenance flaw in the truck was responsible for the accident that caused your injuries, additional parties like cargo loaders and mechanics may be at fault.
If more than one of these groups is responsible for your injuries, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against multiple parties. Since trucking companies and their drivers have legal teams to assist them, it’s best to hire an attorney who has experience handling these claims to build your case as soon as possible.
Liability of Drivers Hired by the Trucking Company
Companies may hire unlicensed and inexperienced drivers to save money and time, but their drivers may cause injuries to other motorists.
The FMCSA announced the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program (SDAP) in January 2022. This program lets anyone ages 18 to 20 train with truck drivers in response to the shortage of truck drivers across the country. The program has caused concern among safety experts about allowing teenage drivers to drive large trucks.
Turn to Trusted Truck Accident Lawyers for Legal Advice
The complexity of a lawsuit can make truck accident victims feel overwhelmed. At Fieger Law, our experienced truck accident attorneys help accident victims from around the U.S. while letting them focus on their physical and psychological recovery.
Contact us to arrange your free consultation to find out if you have a truck accident case and learn your next steps.