According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, large trucks -- also known as “big-rigs” -- are involved in 11 percent of fatal vehicle crashes in the United States. Because of their size and weight, large trucks usually cause much more damage in vehicle crashes than ordinary traffic accidents.
Discovering exactly who is liable for damages in big-rig accidents can be a challenge because trucking companies have been able to distance themselves from liability by leasing the equipment they use to haul loads and hiring drivers as independent contractors, not employees.
Fortunately, there are now federal laws that enable injured parties to bypass the confusion and attach liability directly to the trucking company that owns the permit, no matter what name is on the vehicle or whether or not the driver is a direct employee of the trucking company.
If you have been involved in a truck accident, it is important to determine the cause of the accident in order to assign liability. Beyond police reports and witness accounts, valuable data can be obtained via a truck’s “black box”, which records speed, length of time the driver has been on the road, and more.
Federal and state laws also require that a certified inspector examine any commercial truck or trailer that has been involved in an accident before it is removed from the accident scene. The inspector’s report is not part of the official police report, but can be obtained from the appropriate government agency.
The attorneys of Roberts & Roberts have the skill, experience and resources to fully investigate any serious accident or death involving a big-rig. If you have a question about a truck accident involving a serious injury or fatality, please call 800-248-6000 or contact us for a free consultation.