Pennsylvania has the fourth highest tractor-trailer crash rate in the whole country, resulting in more than 200 deaths annually. Furthermore, each year, large trucks drive approximately 280 billion miles on U.S. roads. Another staggering number is that more than 15 million trucks transport goods across the United States. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA), responsible for regulating the trucking industry, estimates that over 400,000 traffic crashes each year involve heavy trucks. Tractor trailer crashes are complex and require an experienced attorney.
Tractor trailer crash lawsuits are complicated
Lawsuits involving tractor trailer crashes have become much more sophisticated and complicated in recent years. It is critical to stay up-to-date on regulations and vehicle technology to represent victims of tractor trailer crashes properly and effectively. First and foremost, preserving the evidence after a crash is critical and both the tractor and trailer must be preserved. Tractor units now include various computer systems and communication devices that record and transmit data to fleet owners. As a result, these systems and devices contain important data that must be preserved, downloaded, and analyzed. This includes video recording devices and cell phones, as they provide clues about what may have happened in the moments leading up to a crash. In addition, the crash scene must be documented, photographed, and witnesses interviewed.
Preserving the tractor trailer and documenting the scene of the crash are just the first steps. Next, trucking company documentation must be preserved and obtained for review. This includes vehicle maintenance records, service records;,and the driver’s qualification file.
The trucking industry is highly regulated
Driving a tractor trailer across the country requires a professional qualification. As such, it is a highly regulated industry. Therefore, truck drivers, and the companies that employ them, have a greater duty to ensure they are adequately trained and qualified to drive these big rigs. Because tractor trailers can weigh up to 100,000 pounds when fully loaded, then share our highways with other vehicles, they must be properly regulated for the public’s safety. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations govern the qualification, training, and supervision of tractor trailer companies and their drivers.
There is a huge difference in size and weight between tractor trailers and passenger vehicles. This means that crashes involving tractor trailers are catastrophic and, usually fatal. Often, the trucking company does not have adequate insurance to make up for and compensate the injured victims for all the damages caused. It is also critical to analyze the conduct of all potentially responsible parties. For example, did the broker or shipper investigate the trucking company and its track record to make sure their drivers were safe and qualified? Should the truck have been equipped with crash avoidance technologies? For example, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot detection, or lane keep assist? These potential theories and recoveries for injured victims can easily be missed without extensive analysis. It takes an experienced attorney to know what to look for.
Accountability and deterrence promotes safer roads
Trucking companies and truck drivers who violate the rules of the road causing damages to innocent victims must be held accountable for the consequences of their actions. This is the only way to prevent such catastrophic injuries or tragedies from happening again. Accountability and deterrence ensures that all of us who share the road with theses heavy trucks are protected.
Jaime Jackson Law is a leading tractor trailer crash lawyer based in Lancaster, PA. Jaime Jackson has more than 20 years of experience with truck wrecks and stays up-to-date on cutting-edge issues in tractor trailer crash cases.