There are nearly 500,000 truck accidents each year in the United States, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Many of these accidents result in significant property damage, serious injuries, and death. Individuals fortunate enough to survive a major truck crash may face devastating physical, emotional, and financial consequences.
While it's true that victims injured in accidents caused by another motorist's negligence can seek compensation from the at-fault party, pervasive myths about truck accident cases dissuades some from taking legal action.
If you were injured in a truck accident caused by a negligent commercial driver or trucking company, don't let lies and misinformation stop you from fighting for the compensation and justice you deserve.
Be on the lookout for these common truck accident myths.
Myth: Trucking Companies Aren't Liable for Accidents Caused by Their Drivers
While trucking companies might prefer that people believe this, the truth is it's not at all uncommon for trucking companies to be held liable when their negligence causes or contributes to an accident. Examples of potential trucking company liability include:
- Hiring negligence. This may include failure to complete a background check, verify a commercial driver's license or test a new driver for drugs; or knowingly hiring drivers that are unsafe or unqualified.
- Supervisory negligence. This can include failing to test drivers for drugs or alcohol after an accident, randomly, or when impairment is suspected.
- Inadequate training. This includes neglecting to provide inexperienced and newly-hired drivers with the necessary training to do their jobs safely.
- Insufficient truck maintenance. When trucking companies fail to regularly inspect their vehicles, or repair issues discovered during such inspections, they may be liable for damages if crashes occur as a result.
- Failure to comply with regulations. This form of negligence includes not verifying that drivers are in compliance with state and federal trucking regulations; setting demanding schedules that encourage drivers to violate regulations; or providing incentives that indirectly reward drivers for skirting the rules.
Myth: FMCSA Hours of Service Regulations Prevent Fatigue-Related Truck Crashes
Fatigued driving among commercial drivers remains a serious problem, even though FMCSA-implemented hours of service rules in 2013 limit the number of hours a truck operator can work per shift and week, and mandate breaks and rest periods.
Instead of complying with FMCSA regulations, many truckers and commercial bus operators choose to drive beyond the specified number of hours and simply falsify their logbooks. When operators are exhausted behind the wheel, they're more likely to make mistakes that can lead to accidents.
Myth: Insurance Companies Look Out for Accident Victims' Best Interests
After being involved in a serious truck accident, many victims trust the insurance company to handle their claim and offer them a fair settlement.
Unfortunately, insurance adjusters are often too busy maintaining the insurance company's bottom line to look out for accident victims. To that end, they may use a number of tactics to try to reduce their companies' financial responsibility to victims.
Myth: Filing a Car Accident Personal Injury Lawsuit Is Expensive and Means Spending Years in Court
Some accident victims decide not to take legal action after truck accidents because they're worried they won't be able to afford quality legal representation—or that they'll spend years in court waiting for the case to resolve.
Fortunately, financial concerns don't have to prevent victims from seeking justice after a truck accident. Many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means they don't receive a fee unless they win the case. If they do, they receive a percentage of the settlement agree upon prior to case development.
As for spending years in court, it usually isn't necessary. Most personal injury truck accident cases are settled out of court during negotiations between both parties' attorneys.
Consult an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
Don't fall for truck accident myths that could sacrifice compensation you need and deserve. If you were injured in a truck accident caused by commercial driver or trucking company negligence, McGartland Law Firm can help you explore your legal options. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free analysis of your truck accident case.