We represented a passenger in the photo below in Cumberland County, Kentucky who was on the highway when a semi truck made a turn, knocking the truck he was in on its side. He was fortunate to survive.
A car should never end up under a truck no matter whose fault it was that the car ended up there. Underride accidents frequently result in severe injuries and deaths. The fact that the car is under the truck may mean that the truck owner or truck driver has responsibility to the occupants of the car.
Underride is when a passenger vehicle crashes into a semi-tractor trailer or a straight truck from behind or from the side and jams underneath, flattening the passenger compartment and injuring or killing the vehicle’s occupants. The term also describes what happens when bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists slide under the body of a truck, usually from the side, and are in danger of being run over.
Large trucks require more space to make turns. All too often the wide turns result in a collision. Heavy trucks require more time to make turns. Frequently truck drivers underestimate the time necessary to cross traffic and/or turn in front of rapidly moving cars. Being rear-ended by a semi truck can cause serious injury. These are some of the most serious cases with catastrophic injury. Flora Templeton Stuart has over forty years representing families devastated in these truck crashes.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) lists these factors that cause semi-truck collisions:
Large commercial vehicles, including semi-truck/trailer combinations, account for a large percentage of the usage of the highways of the United States. Recent statistics show that large trucks account for approximately 4% of the registered vehicles on the roadway and 9% of the vehicle miles traveled. Statistics show that the percentage rate of fatal crashes per miles traveled is roughly the same as between large commercial vehicles and a regular passenger vehicles. Accord- ingly, because of the higher rate of miles traveled, it logically follows that large trucks will be involved in a higher percentage of injury related collisions.
According to the Institute for Highway safety, driver fatigue is indeed a contributing factor to a significant number of truck crashes. IIHS found that truck drivers who have driven for more than eight hours are twice as likely to become involved in a collision. IIHS’ research found that truck drivers who violate the hours of service requirements also are more likely to have fallen asleep behind the wheel recently. Another study also found that truck drivers who do not properly maintain their logbooks in which they record their hours of service are more likely to have been involved in a collision.
According to the statistics of the insurance Institute for Highway safety (IIHS), in 2014, 3,660 people died in crashes involving large trucks. 68% were occu- pants of passenger vehicles. 15% were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists. Only 16% were truck occupants.
Many studies have determined that semi-tractor trailers with defective equipment are twice as likely to have been involved in a collision in comparison with trucks that are properly maintained. Brake defects were most common, occurring in 56% of the semi tractor-trailer crashes. Steering equipment defects were found at 21% of the crash involved trucks.
This goes without saying, but if you or the semi-truck driver are injured in any way, call an ambulance. Your lives are much more important than figuring out whose fault the accident was.
Compensation you may be entitled to reflects this and includes:
You should understand that the trucking company and its insurance carrier typically will send investigators to the accident scene within hours of the crash. They will begin investigating and looking for ways to minimize the driver and company’s role in causing the accident.
Damages due to a semi-truck wreck can be extensive- you want experienced, responsive representation throughout the legal process. The Law Firm of Flora Templeton Stuart has the experience you need to fight the big truck insurance companies. Call our law firm at 888-782-9090 twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week so our team of experts can be on the scene to preserve the evidence. We take your case personally.
Cargo that is not loaded according to regulations and generally accepted safety protocol can cause a serious semi-truck accident in a number of ways. The car- go could add so much weight to an already oversized truck that it causes top-heaviness, thus increasing the risk of a jackknife or rollover. Improperly loaded cargo can also shift while in motion. In such cases, objects on the truck may be more likely to fall off, leaving dangerous debris on the roadway.
People can be seriously injured during loading and unloading errors. Loads come out of position, trucks tip over, people get caught between the truck and the loading facility.
Whenever there is a truck cargo loading or unloading accident (or a motor vehicle crash caused by improper loading of the trailer), where the accident occurs is crucial to determining what parties may be responsible for causing or contributing to the crash. When the accident occurs at the unloading dock due to the carelessness of the company unloading the materials, then identifying the party responsible for the accident may not be challenging. But when there is reason to believe negligence or carelessness during the loading process may have played a role in the crash, the task of identifying responsible parties becomes more challenging. The location at which the truck was loaded and the company and employees responsible for loading the particular truck involved in the crash will need to be identified. Depositions with workers and supervisors will reveal which employee or employees bears responsibility for improperly loading the truck. Where the memories of individuals are lacking, camera videos, and employee timesheets and logs may provide useful information as to who may be responsible for the accident.
Most would agree that one of the difficulties of truck driving is the backing up maneuver safely. Usually a truck driver will need to reverse the truck and trailer to a docking station for delivery or pick up. It could a station for the pick-up of refrigerated goods or heavy packages and boxes. In any case, the driver must be firmly aware of the dimensions of the area in which the backing up truck and trailer must fit. It is important to be able to see by way of the outer mirrors or a back-up truck camera to see the end of the trailer.
The easiest backing up maneuver is the straight line back up. Even if the backing up to the dock seems obvious, it can still be dangerous if the driver is not aware of the exact location of the dock. Too often truckers miscalculate a distance or size of the dock area and crash into the dock possibly injuring another worker or damaging the trailer and the trucker’s load.
Another backing up maneuver that is difficult is the one where the driver has to do a 90-degree alley docking. The truck and trailer are connected by a kind of hinge, the tandem that allows the trailer to swing to the side or to the necessary degree in order to load or unload the cargo for the trailer. Sometimes a driver will need to swing the trailer to the left or to the right depending on the dock location. Some docks have 45 degree alley docks which makes the maneuver even more difficult and often times dangerous. Semi-tractor and trailer drivers are called upon to back up their vehicles in all kinds of places. The convention- al trailer is 53 feet long with the added length of the tractor that would bring the total length of the truck and trailer to about 70 feet. A truck driver may be faced with a delivery or pick up at a place, like retail store where most deliveries are done by short truck or van. That maneuver into a tight space may put at risk pedestrians and other workers as the truck driver tries to swing the tractor and trailer into the tight space allowed for the delivery.
Because there may be many individuals and/or entities who played a role in a cargo loading or unloading accident, it is important to have legal counsel assist you in investigating your case and identifying the responsible parties as this can require considerable time and resources. Accidents with semi trucks caused by negligent loading/unloading are some of the cases injury lawyer Flora Templeton Stuart has handled for over forty years. Call our law firm at 888-782-9090 twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
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