Truck Accident Attorneys

Defining causes and fault in commercial truck crashes

Commercial truck accidents happen every day. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and the Virginia Highway Safety Office, there were 2,306 large commercial vehicle accidents and 4,570 small commercial vehicle accidents in 2017 alone.

The differences between a commercial vehicle and passenger vehicle accident are significant. Truck accidents are often more complex and involve multiple injured and liable parties. They often have more severe financial ramifications for those deemed to be at fault and more legal processes. There may be unique causes for commercial accidents stemming from issues related to employee negligence or operational malfunctions. 

Common Causes of Trucking Accidents

Truck accident cases can be complex and rely heavily on forensic evidence. The team at Breit Cantor Grana Buckner knows how to navigate the case, its evidence, and the parties involved to maximize our clients’ chance for a successful outcome.

  • Defective Brakes A well-functioning semi-truck requires an average length of two football fields to come to a complete stop. These large, load-bearing vehicles must be equipped with an elite braking system to ensure that stop. Unfortunately, brake failure and brake malfunctions still account for a majority of commercial vehicle accidents. Multiple Federal Regulations require truck drivers to conduct brake inspections each day of their transit and keep records in a daily log. Even with this log, negligence on behalf of the driver, brake manufacturers, or company’s themselves result in ineffective maintenance. 
  • Overloaded Commercial Trucks. Commercial trucks are built to carry large loads to and from their destinations but each vehicle type is subject to restrictions and loading regulations. The amount a truck can carry is determined by its Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)–a weight limit determined from the vehicle’s brakes, axles, power train, suspension, and frame capabilities. The GVWR is visible on the license plate and each truck driver must adhere to this limit and follow all applicable regulations when loading the vehicle. Overloaded trucks are dangerous and create instability for the vehicle while in operation. When a driver, company unknowingly or knowingly violates these conditions, they put other drivers on the road at serious risk.
  • Truck Driver Fatigue & Negligence. Truck driver fatigue is a leading cause of tractor-trailer accidents in the United States. Federal regulations require drivers to limit their time on the road in order to preserve attention and alertness. A failure to practice this results in negligence on the part of the driver (and the company they work for if applicable). Distracted driving, certain medications, undocumented overtime, texting while driving, speeding, and general carelessness all fall under negligence. 
  • Trucking Company Negligence. Similar to truck driver negligence, the trucking company itself may be liable for your injuries. For example, a truck company that doesn’t conduct proper background checks on drivers could hire individuals who are not qualified to operate the vehicle. Or, they may do less than thorough checks and routine maintenance that keep the truck from functioning properly. This lack of due diligence could make them liable even if the commercial truck driver caused the accident. Other examples of truck company negligence include encouraging truck drivers to meet unrealistic quotas/schedules and failing to adequately check hours of service logs.

Determining Fault for a Commercial Truck Accident

Semi-trailer truck accidents tend to result in severe, catastrophic injuries and fatalities due to the size and weight of these vehicles. But, even if a truck driver causes an accident, he may not be the liable party. Depending on the specific circumstances of your accident, any of the following parties (apart from the driver themselves) may be liable:

  • The truck driver’s supervisor
  • The truck driver’s employer
  • The company that owns or leases the truck
  • The company responsible for truck maintenance
  • The manufacturer of the truck
  • The manufacturer of the malfunctioning truck part

Building a Truck Accident Case

Whether or not you have a trucking or semi-truck accident case depends on the circumstances of the accident. You likely have a case if you were seriously injured in a tucking or semi-truck accident that was not your fault. If the truck itself, the truck driver, or the driver’s company policies contributed to the accident, then they could be held liable.

In order to successfully pursue a truck accident claim, you must show that the negligence of another person, company, manufacturer, or entity led to your injuries. As stated, truck accident cases can be complex. Forensic evidence, inspections, logging details, and intense correspondence are all part of the process in identifying negligence and receiving appropriate compensation. Working with an experienced truck accident lawyer that investigates each factor that may have contributed to the accident, is the best plan of action. 

Choosing an Experienced Truck Accident Law Firm

When it comes to large vehicle accidents, having an experienced truck accident attorney is essential. At Breit Cantor, our Virginia Beach and Richmond truck accident lawyers can help you evaluate your situation to determine if you have a case. We have the experience and resources to navigate the legal process and achieve the best outcome. Since 1979, we have successfully recovered millions on behalf of our clients. 

We follow a three-pronged, “no stone left unturned” approach with every injury case we accept. Our team conducts in-depth investigations, often working with experts in the field, to determine how the collision occurred. These experts may include:

  • Forensic engineers
  • Truck accident investigators
  • Accident reconstructionists

Our Virginia Beach and Richmond truck accident attorneys then look at the full extent of your damages, including the anticipated lifetime cost of medical care for your injuries, as well as non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and reduced quality of life. From there, we are able to build a case aimed at securing the maximum compensation you are owed.

We Offer Free Consultations

If you have questions about a commercial accident in which you or a loved one were involved, contact Breit Cantor for a free consultation. One of our experienced truck accident lawyers can help you determine if you have a case.

Truck accidents aren’t like your average motor vehicle accidents—they usually result in severe, catastrophic injuries.

Virginia Truck Accident Lawsuits: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the leading cause of truck accidents?

The leading cause of truck accidents is fatigue. Truck drivers are often overworked and do not get enough sleep to safely operate a large motor vehicle like a truck or tractor-trailer. If a fatigued driver causes a truck accident in Virginia, the driver or their company may be held liable in a court case, depending on the circumstances.

Do I have a trucking or semi-truck accident case?

Whether or not you have a trucking or semi-truck accident case depends on the circumstances of the accident. You likely have a case if you were seriously injured in a tucking or semi-truck accident that was not your fault. If the truck itself, the truck driver, or the driver’s company policies contributed to the accident, then they could be held liable. If you have questions about your accident, get in touch with a Virginia truck accident lawyer. At Breit Cantor, our Virginia Beach and Richmond truck accident lawyers can help you evaluate your situation to determine if you have a case.

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