Trucking Accidents: Causes & Liability

A semi tractor and trailer has crashed on a highway and workers are cleaning up the scene.

Defining Trucking Accidents: An In-Depth Look

Trucking accidents, by legal definition, are vehicular accidents that involve commercial trucks, such as semi-trucks, big rigs, or 18-wheelers. These accidents are often more catastrophic than typical car accidents due to the massive size and weight of commercial trucks. They can result in severe injuries, extensive property damage, and even fatalities. There are various types of trucking accidents, including jackknife accidents, underride accidents, rollovers, and head-on collisions, each with their unique circumstances and potential for damage.

Common types of trucking accidents often result from a combination of factors. These can include driver error, mechanical failures, and environmental conditions. Understanding the specific type of trucking accident is crucial in determining liability and pursuing legal action. For example, a jackknife accident, where the trailer of the truck swings out to form a 90-degree angle with the cab, often indicates a sudden braking or steering error on the part of the driver. On the other hand, an underride accident, where a smaller vehicle slides under the trailer of a truck, may suggest a visibility issue or inadequate safety equipment.

Determining Liability in Trucking Accidents

Liability in trucking accidents can be complex and often involves multiple parties. The driver may be held liable for errors or negligence, such as speeding, distracted driving, or driving under the influence. The trucking company may also be held liable for factors such as inadequate training, poor maintenance, or unsafe policies. In some cases, third parties may also be liable. For example, a manufacturer may be held responsible for a mechanical failure due to a defective part, or a maintenance provider may be liable for failing to identify or fix a mechanical issue.

Insurance plays a critical role in trucking accidents. Trucking companies are required to carry liability insurance to cover damages and injuries caused by their trucks. Understanding trucking insurance policies can be complex, but it's crucial in the event of an accident. The claims process involves investigating the accident, determining liability, and negotiating a settlement. This process can be challenging, especially when multiple parties are involved. It's often beneficial to seek legal assistance from a law firm experienced in trucking accidents, like Gunn Law Group P.A. in Tampa, FL.

Laws and Regulations Governing the Trucking Industry

Both federal and state laws heavily regulate the trucking industry. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) set standards for commercial truck operations, including driver qualifications, hours of service, vehicle maintenance, and cargo securement. Violations of these regulations can lead to severe penalties and can be used as evidence of negligence in a trucking accident lawsuit. State laws and local ordinances in Tampa, FL, also regulate aspects of trucking, such as route restrictions, weight limits, and safety inspections. Compliance with these laws is crucial in preventing accidents and limiting liability.

Legal actions following a trucking accident can include personal injury claims and lawsuits. These seek compensation for damages and injuries caused by the accident. The process involves gathering evidence, proving negligence, and negotiating a settlement. In the unfortunate event of a fatality, a wrongful death claim or lawsuit may be filed by the deceased's family. These legal actions seek compensation for losses such as funeral expenses, loss of income, and emotional distress. Navigating these legal processes can be challenging and often requires the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced law firm like Gunn Law Group P.A..

If you or a loved one has been involved in a trucking accident in Tampa, FL, it's crucial to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. Gunn Law Group P.A. has extensive experience in handling trucking accident cases and can help you navigate the complex legal process. Contact Gunn Law Group P.A. today for a consultation.