Truck companies remain the main sector used for freight transportation throughout the United States. According to some estimates, there are more than 15 million trucks carrying almost 70% of all US cargo each year.
With such a high number of trucks on the roads, accidents are inevitable. Unfortunately, while agencies such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have the task of promoting safety by placing rules and regulations of the transportation industry, there has been an annual increase of 20% in the number of truck accidents over the last decade.
Due to the size and weight of commercial trucks, most of these accidents result in serious injury or death to the victims in the affected car.
The FMCSA conducted a study of the most common causes of truck accidents. The most common causes listed in the report are:
- The fatigue of the driver
- Aggressive driving
- Driving distracted
- Drug or alcohol use
- Incorrectly loaded cargo
- Faulty Equipment Trucks
- Inexperienced and poorly trained drivers
- Unsafe lane change
- Not keeping the proper distance
Submitting a claim
Submitting a claim as soon as time allows needs to be a priority, but the settlement calculation varies and depends on the severity of the victim’s injuries.
After a truck accident, compensation and damages are highly likely against the truck driver, or the company that hired the driver. However, in certain situations, ignorance, sadness caused by the loss of a relative or the lack of desire to start the process, which may be seen as arduous and painful, sometimes causes delay or a neglectfulness of the process.
When this happens, the settlement for serious damages, such as the necessity of medical care and expenses, loss of life or disability, and even the loss of personal property, end up in the coffers of the insurance companies. To avoid this situation, it is essential to know what types of injuries are compensable, how the amount is calculated, and the steps of the process.
Main Points of The Claim Process
After a truck accident, one of the points that create confusion is knowing if one is entitled to claim compensation.
Most importantly, even if the truck driver lacks personal vehicle insurance, the trucking company will more likely than not have a commercial insurance policy, specifically to cover accidents, for their own employees.
The passengers also have the right to claim compensation, even if they were traveling in the vehicle that caused the accident.
In the event of an accident with fatalities, the compensatory action extends to certain relatives of the deceased person. Whether an individual is eligible for compensation is related to the degree of kinship between them, the absence of proximity of certain relatives, and the level of economic dependence on the victim, among other factors.
Insurance companies and/or the trucking companies are responsible for paying the damages of the vehicle responsible for causing the accident.
Common causes of truck accidents by percentage (by FMCSA).
13% of accidents were caused, at least in part, by driver fatigue. Federal regulators have suspended recent regulations restricting the number of hours a truck driver can work in a week. The regulations were originally designed to help reduce driver fatigue.
Nearly a quarter of all accidents involved a speeding truck. As truck drivers rush to meet tight deadlines, it comes as no surprise that many of them drive at speeds above the set limit.
Prescription and over-the-counter medications were involved in 18% of accidents.
While distracted driving was only found to cause 8% of accidents at the time of the FMCSA study, that number has been growing in recent years as smartphones and other technology devices provide unnecessary distractions inside the truck.
Driving recklessly, such as not keeping a proper distance between other cars on the road, was responsible for 7% of truck accidents.
More than a quarter of truck drivers involved in an accident was found to have traces of drugs or alcohol in their system. While federal regulations require truck drivers to be randomized tested for drugs, the test is not administered with enough frequency and the current drug testing system can be fairly easily gamed.
Affected in a truck accident in the Houston Metro Area?
If you were injured in an accident with a large truck or another commercial vehicle, it is important that you understand your legal rights. Even if you were partially at fault, you may still be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
An attorney who has experience with truck accident claims will be able to consult with you about your legal rights and open an investigation into the cause of the accident to help determine the true liability. Contact Us so we can evaluate your case for free.