In 2021, a total of 4,714 people died in large truck crashes in the United States. Statistics are clear that semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles are more likely to be involved in fatal accidents than other types of vehicles. Sometimes, the negligence of trucking companies results in accidents with irreversible consequences.
You may be entitled to compensation if you or a loved one has been injured in a collision because of trucking company negligence. The attorneys at Maples, Nix, and Diesselhorst in Oklahoma City have represented individuals and the families of individuals who have been the victims of trucking company negligence for many years.
With decades of collective experience, our team is ready to investigate the details of your collision and help you seek compensation for the damages and catastrophic injuries incurred.
In this article, we will look into the complexities of Trucking Company Negligence, but the best way to begin the process of seeking compensation is to contact us for a free consultation.
Defining Trucking Company Negligence
Trucking company negligence refers to the failure of a trucking company to exercise reasonable care in its operations, resulting in actions or oversights that may cause harm, injury, or damage.
Negligence in the context of a trucking company involves a breach of the duty to ensure the safe operation of their commercial vehicles, adherence to regulatory standards, and the well-being of their drivers and the general public.
This negligence can manifest in various forms, such as:
- inadequate maintenance of vehicles
- insufficient driver training
- violations of hours-of-service regulations
- negligence in the hiring and supervision of drivers.
When a trucking company falls short of these responsibilities, and their negligence leads to accidents or other adverse outcomes, legal consequences may follow, holding the company liable for the resulting damages.
It is important to note that not every accident involving a semi-truck or large commercial vehicle in Oklahoma is due to negligence by the trucking company or driver. If you or a loved one has been involved in a semi-truck accident with catastrophic injuries and damages, and you suspect negligence on the part of a trucking company, contact our team. Our Oklahoma City truck accident attorneys are ready to look into providing you with a free consultation.
How Are Trucking Companies Regulated?
Trucking companies are responsible for following the regulations outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is a part of the Federal Department of Transportation. The regulations include wide-ranging guidelines about driver testing and training, hours of operation limitations, and vehicle rules. Below is an overview of many of the rules and regulations.
FMCSA Trucking Regulations Overview
- Weight, Size, and Route Limitations: Define weight restrictions for trucks, varying based on the number of axles and their spacing.
- Maintenance and Inspection Regulations: Call for regular checks on commercial vehicles.
- Cargo Securement Regulations: Specify criteria for appropriate tie-downs and securement methods for various types of cargo.
- Training Obligations: Mandate that new drivers undergo specific training before operating a commercial vehicle.
- Record-Keeping Requirements: Dictate that trucking companies must preserve records of driver hours, vehicle maintenance, and essential data using Electronic Logging Devices (ELD).
- Drug and Alcohol Screening: Enforce drug and alcohol testing for drivers in pre-employment, post-accident, random, and reasonable suspicion scenarios.
- Hours of Service (HOS) Guidelines: Govern the maximum driving hours for truck drivers, ensuring breaks are taken.
When a trucking company does not comply with these regulations, its actions may be determined as negligent. Not only do they break federal law when they are negligent, they are endangering drivers and others on the road. Negligence by trucking companies can result in fines and other legal actions.
What Are Examples of Trucking Company Negligence?
In late 2023, it was reported that the United States is experiencing a severe truck driver shortage – more than 80,000 drivers are needed to fill the shortage. The shortage means increased pressure on trucking companies and drivers because of the lack of commercially trained drivers available. As in many professions, this can mean longer hours for trucking company employees, higher expectations for truck drivers, and sometimes negligence regarding safety protocols, hours of service, or other regulations.
In our experience as trucking accident lawyers in Oklahoma, we’ve seen several different types of trucking company negligence result in catastrophic injury and even death. Here are a few examples of negligence by a trucking company.
Improper Cargo Securement
Negligence in cargo securement occurs when a trucking company fails to adhere to regulations governing the proper tie-down and securing cargo. This negligence can involve inadequate training for loading personnel, insufficient use of securing devices, or the failure to inspect and adjust cargo during transit.
If a trucking company neglects to secure its cargo correctly, it heightens the risk of cargo shifting or falling during transport, potentially causing accidents, damage to other vehicles, or posing hazards to road users. Properly securing cargo is essential to maintaining the stability and integrity of the truck and ensuring the safety of everyone sharing the road.
Inadequate Maintenance Practices
Negligence can occur when a trucking company does not perform regular and thorough maintenance on its fleet of vehicles. Skipping routine inspections, neglecting necessary repairs, or knowingly allowing trucks with mechanical issues to remain in operation can lead to accidents caused by malfunctioning equipment.
Driver Fatigue and Violations of Hours-of-Service (HOS)
Driver fatigue is another common cause of accidents involving semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles. Negligence may occur if a trucking company disregards or pressures drivers to ignore the legally mandated hours-of-service regulations. Pushing drivers to exceed allowable driving hours, resulting in fatigue and drowsiness, significantly increases the risk of accidents due to impaired reaction times and diminished concentration.
Negligent Hiring and Supervision
Another common type of negligence involves disregarding hiring regulations. If a trucking company fails to conduct thorough background checks and assessments during the hiring process, they may be acting negligently. Additionally, employing drivers with a history of traffic violations, substance abuse problems, inadequate qualifications, and neglecting ongoing supervision, can lead to accidents for which the company may be held responsible.
Find Help From OKC’s Truck Accident Law Team
There are many, many more ways trucking companies act negligently every day. The Maples, Nix, and Diesselhorst team of attorneys are prepared to help Oklahomans who have been victims of trucking companies’ negligence. Trucking company negligence cases are complex and may involve the liability of multiple parties. As you navigate the road to justice after an accident, you’ll want the Maples, Nix, and Diesselhorst team on your side.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation.