Commercial trucking crashes are frightening for the average driver. They know that their vehicle could be demolished and they could die in such collisions. Conversely, the people in the big trucks are less likely to suffer major injuries in a collision involving smaller passenger vehicles.
Sometimes, drivers in passenger vehicles cause commercial truck collisions by performing unsafe maneuvers, like merging directly in front of a semitruck. Other times, the commercial driver causes the crash, maybe by texting at the wheel or falling asleep due to extreme fatigue.
In a minority of cases, there may be a business that is ultimately to blame for the crash rather than the commercial driver. What scenarios make a business liable for a trucking crash rather than the driver at the wheel?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, roughly 10% of commercial trucking collisions caused by semitrucks are the result of issues with the vehicle itself. Often that issue with the vehicle is a maintenance issue. Bad brakes and older tires are among the most common maintenance issues that cause semitruck crashes.
The driver often does not have any responsibility for such maintenance and is instead at the mercy of their employer’s vehicle maintenance practices. When you can show that poor maintenance directly caused a collision, the company may be liable for the crash that resulted.
Poorly-loaded trailers or undisclosed liquids
It takes a lot of skill and practice to manage a massive commercial vehicle at high speeds. Truckers do so even in the worst traffic and weather conditions with relatively high rates of success, all things considered. Unfortunately, sometimes truckers don’t have all the information they need to be safe.
A client or their employer may have failed to tell them that the load they carry has large amounts of liquid. Liquid contents can shift in a way that solid-state cargo would not, which can affect how drivers maneuver on the road. If a driver doesn’t know about liquid contents, they might perform a maneuver that would otherwise be safe but instead causes a crash.
Sometimes, the transportation company that employs the driver or one of its clients will improperly load a trailer that the driver transports. Uneven weight distribution is one of many loading errors that could increase the risk of a preventable trucking crash.
When a business is to blame instead of a truck driver, there may be larger insurance policies available and even the option of civil litigation. Learning more about the common causes of commercial truck crashes can help you explore options for compensation after experiencing one.