Truck & Trucking Accident Statistics & Determining Cause

When an 18-wheeler truck collides with a passenger car, victims will likely experience catastrophic injury or wrongful death.  Truck accidents can result in much more devastating injuries than the average car accident.  One reason is that large trucks can weigh in excess of 40 tons, while a car or SUV might weigh two or three tons.

Truck Accident Statistics in United States and South Carolina

[ul style=”3″]
[li] In 2009, 296,000 large trucks (gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds) were involved in traffic crashes in the United States; 3,380 were involved in fatal crashes and an additional 74,000 were injured in those crashes. [/li]
[li]Of the fatalities in crashes involving large trucks during 2009, 75 percent were occupants of another vehicle, 10 percent were nonoccupants, and 15 percent were occupants of a large truck. [/li]
[li]Of the people injured in crashes involving large trucks during 2009, 76 percent were occupants of another vehicle, 2 percent were nonoccupants, and 22 percent were occupants of a large truck. [/li]
[li] In 2009, large trucks accounted for 7 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes and 3 percent of all vehicles involved in injury and property-damage-only crashes. [/li]
[li] In 2009, in South Carolina, 10% of the total vehicles involved in fatal crashes were large trucks. [/li]

(Source: US Department of Transportation, National Highway Safety Administration, 2010 Traffic Safety Facts, December 2011)

Legally, truck accidents are more complex than an average car accident.  There are more sources of potential liability.  The driver, the owner of the tractor, the owner of the trailer, the warehouse that loaded the truck and the shop that maintained it may all share responsibility for the accident.

Negligence and Determining Cause of Truck Accidents

In the case of truck accidents, fault is usually determined by the law of negligence.  If a driver negligently operates a truck and damage is caused to another person or property, that person or the owner of the truck may be required to pay any incurred damages.  Our experienced truck accident lawyers can help in determining the cause.

Some of the causes of negligence include:

[ul style=”3″]
[li]Unlicensed drivers [/li]
[li]Drivers distracted by cell phones or on-board computers [/li]
[li]Speeding [/li]
[li]Improper lane changes [/li]
[li]Failure to inspect [/li]
[li]Failure to maintain safety systems [/li]
[li]Failure to yield the right of way [/li]
[li]Alcohol or drug use — DWI/DUI [/li]
[li]Brake failure[/li]
[li]Violations of the rules of the road [/li]
[li]Failure to signal turns [/li]
[li]Aggressive and reckless driving[/li]
[li]Defective parts [/li]
[li]Shifting loads[/li]
[li]Driver fatigue [/li]
[li]Negligent hiring[/li]
Equipment failures[/li]
[li]Backing carelessly [/li]
[li]Aggressive and reckless driving[/li]
[li]Driver error[/li]
[li]Defective parts [/li]
[li]Overturning trucks[/li]
[li]Inadequate training of drivers [/li]
[li]Unsecured truck loads of construction equipment and supplies[/li]
[li]Poor design of the truck or its parts[/li]
[li]Lack of crashworthiness[/li]
[li]Sudden stops[/li]
[li]Spilled loads[/li]


Employers may be liable if they hired and employed an untrained or incompetent driver, or if they aware of a change in the driver status, training, suspensions, violations, and qualifications.  Under federal regulation, some lessees may be liable for injuries caused by trucking accidents.  Employers and lessees may include grocery store chains, shipping companies, department stores, distribution companies, manufacturers, construction companies and other businesses.

Sometimes the truck is loaded by a third party, who may be liable for negligent loading, which can cause a load to shift or fall from the truck.  If the truck was defectively or not properly designed, the manufacturer of the truck or trailer, or the manufacturer of the component parts, may be liable for negligence and for product liability.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a truck accident, we encourage you to contact a truck accident lawyer at the Smith & Haskell Law Firm, LLP today at 864.582.6727 to schedule an appointment today to discuss the legal options.  We investigate every detail and the possible contributing causes of a truck accident so that you receive full compensation for any pain and suffering you or someone you know have endured.   We are ready to put our experienced trial attorneys to work for you.