Truck accidents frequently result in catastrophic injuries or death to drivers and occupants of smaller vehicles. Semis, tractor-trailers, and other large trucks, many of which may weigh upwards of 10,000 pounds, require a great deal more time and distance in which to slow down or stop than do cars and other lighter vehicles. In addition, the consequences of being hit by one of these machines are significantly more devastating than those suffered in collisions with smaller vehicles. Paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, limb loss, and severe internal injuries are among the many serious injuries that may be sustained in these often horrific accidents.
A great many of these crashes are caused by the negligence of truck drivers and the companies that employ or dispatch them or by defects in trucks or other motor vehicles. If you were injured or one of your loved ones was killed in a truck accident caused by someone’s negligence or a defect in the truck or another vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation through legal action. The Killino Firm’s San Francisco trucking-accident personal-injury and wrongful-death attorneys have extensive experience with truck-accident cases, including those arising out of accidents caused by driver and trucking-company negligence or defective trucks and other motor vehicles. Contact The Killino Firm’s San Francisco trucking-injury lawyers at 415-278-9278 for a cost-free evaluation of your case and additional information about your legal rights and options.
Liability for Trucking Accident Injuries and Deaths Caused by Driver or Trucking Company Negligence
Truckers and trucking companies that operate in interstate commerce, which includes most 18-wheelers, big-rigs, semi-trailers, and other commercial motor vehicles (CMV), are subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). These regulations cover the number of hours a truck driver may drive or work within certain periods of time, pre-trip safety inspections, alcohol and controlled substance use, and many other things that may have an impact on the safety of truck drivers and others with whom they share our nation’s highways. When a truck driver or trucking company violates one or more FMCSR and the violation or violations are found to have caused or contributed to a trucking accident, the driver and/or the trucking company may be found liable in a negligence personal-injury or wrongful-death action for the damages suffered by the injured driver or the deceased driver’s survivors as a result. Thus, a trucking company that instructs a driver to work for more successive hours than allowed by Hours of Service (HOS) regulations may be found liable, along with the driver, for a truck accident and resulting injuries or deaths determined to have been caused by driver fatigue resulting from the HOS violation.
Truck drivers and trucking companies may be found to have negligently caused trucking accidents and resulting injuries and deaths even without having violated any FMCSR. A driver who is fatigued despite compliance with HOS regulations may be found legally responsible for an accident caused by the driver’s fatigue. A trucking company that provides h2 financial incentives to drivers to violate HOS regulations and speed limits by compensating them by the mile rather than by the hour may be argued to have negligently caused or contributed to an accident determined to have resulted from driver fatigue and/or excessive speed.
Trucking companies may also be found liable for truck-accident injuries and deaths caused by negligent or incompetent drivers who were employed or dispatched by such companies through the companies’ own negligence. Trucking companies are frequently found to have hired or dispatched drivers in violation of FMCSR and/or to have negligently screened, hired, trained, retained, and/or dispatched truck drivers. In such cases, these companies may be found to have negligently entrusted incompetent drivers with trucks and/or with the activity of commercial trucking and may be held directly liable for accidents and resulting injuries and deaths caused by such negligent entrustment.
Liability for Accidents Caused by Defective Trucks and Other Vehicles
In some cases, trucking accidents are caused by defects in trucks or other vehicles. When a truck or other motor vehicle is found to have had a design, manufacturing, or warnings defect at the time it was released to the marketplace as well as when an injury-causing accident occurred, the manufacturer and others involved in the production and distribution of the truck or other vehicle may be held strictly liable for accident injuries and deaths determined to have been caused by the vehicle defect. Truck defects that may result in liability of such defendants in products-liability personal-injury or wrongful-death cases may be caused by specific violations of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) or by any other design, manufacturing, or warnings defects determined to have rendered trucks unreasonably dangerous for their intended and expected uses. Defective electronic stability control systems (ESC), for example, may cause truck drivers to lose control and collide with other vehicles, while defective air-brake systems may prevent truck drivers from being able to stop when they need to. In such cases, the designers, manufacturers, suppliers, assemblers, wholesalers, and in some states, the retailers of these trucks may be held liable for accidents and resulting injuries and deaths determined to have been caused by these defects.
If you have been injured or one of your family members has died in a truck accident due to someone’s negligence or a defective truck or other vehicle, The Killino Firm’s San Francisco truck-accident lawyers are ready to fight for the justice you deserve from those who have caused your injury or loved one’s death. Contact The Killino Firm at 415-278-9278 for aggressive and dedicated assistance with your trucking-injury case.