Articles Posted in Trucking Accidents

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The Kentucky Supreme Court recently considered whether a state government has a responsibility to enforce vehicle weight restrictions on portions of its highway. The question arose in a case that resulted in the death of a school bus driver whose bus collided with a tractor-trailer on a narrow non-designated portion of the highway.trucking

The most recent data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reveals the number large truck and buses involved in fatal crashes increased by 8 percent between 2014 and 2015. The 4,311 large vehicles involved in collisions in that latter year represents a 20 percent increase since 2009. During that same time frame (2009 to 2015), the number of injury crashes involving large trucks and buses spiked by 62 percent.

Of the approximately 415,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks in 2015, there were nearly 3,600 (or 1 percent) that proved fatal and another 83,000 (or 20 percent) that resulted in injury. About 60 percent of all fatal crashes involving large trucks happened on rural roads (like the one that is the center of the Kentucky case) and 25 percent occurred on interstate highways.  Continue reading →

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Large truck accidents in Florida are on the rise, mirroring a national trend. The impact is out-sized here, though, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports the Sunshine State has one of the highest number of truck crashes in the country.trucking

The latest report from the federal agency covers 2015 data. What researchers found was that 4,067 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks that year, marking a 4 percent increase from 2014. Additionally, there were 116,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks, which was also an uptick of 4 percent.

The vast majority of those killed in large truck crashes were occupants of other vehicles. That didn’t include the number of pedestrians and bicyclists struck.  Continue reading →

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The commercial trucking industry in America is facing a severe shortage of drivers. By one figure, we need approximately 48,000 drivers just to move 70 percent of U.S. goods in a timely manner. But it’s not a gig many younger people are fighting over. The hours are grueling. The work is tiring. And time away from family is tough. WINK News and CBS report this has led to companies providing incentives for drivers to stay on-the-job longer than they might otherwise. It also means they are aggressively recruiting retirees. old

CBS looked into the issue, and how the presence of much older drivers in very large trucks poses a risk to all of us on the highways.

The trend first emerged during the economic decline that first hit about 10 years ago. That meant a lot of people were working well past retirement age. However, the rules of the road have become more stringent, with greater safety in mind. But there are still no additional requirements for older drivers, as there is for those with standard licenses. Yet we are seeing a growing number of trucking accidents across the country that involve elderly truckers.  Continue reading →

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Last year, the number of vehicle recalls in the U.S. hit another record, with 51.2 million vehicles involved in 868 separate recalls, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The year before, there were 63 million vehicles named in 803 recalls. Many of those are passenger vehicles driven by the public, and those are certainly of great concern – not just to the vehicle owners and passengers, but to all of us who share the road. truck

However, one aspect of these recalls that gets less attention – but is now less alarming – is that of commercial truck recalls. A typical commercial truck can weigh 80,000 pounds. In many cases, when tractor-trailers or other large vehicles crash, there are injuries to multiple parties. These are more likely to be serious accidents that result in death. Even so, not all commercial vehicle owners respond to manufacturer recall notices.

Recently, a recall of 16,000 large trucks made by Volvo Trucks North America reached 100 percent completion rate within 18 months of being announced – a feat writers at Trucks.com declared as “rare” and “atypical.” The average commercial vehicle recall, the publication reports, results in only 70 percent of covered vehicles being repaired. Anthony Foxx, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary, called the Volvo response one of “extraordinary effort,” following the manufacturer’s discovery that there were four separate instances of sudden steering failure.  Continue reading →

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As we embark on another school year, transportation safety is at the forefront of parents’ minds as they send their kids off to school each day. The good news is, school buses are one of the safest modes of travel for young people. However, that does not mean there is no risk of an accident. The 2014 school bus accident in Nassau County is proof. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Today, the man driving the logging truck that slammed into that packed school bus is now serving a 20-year prison sentence. Although he pleaded no contest to the charges of reckless driving and serious bodily injury, he blamed his former employer, Mo’s Trucking, for failure to properly maintain the truck. The tractor-trailer rig rammed into the school bus as it stopped to drop off students on a rainy afternoon. Seven of the students were seriously hurt, though authorities say it could have been much worse if the 37-year-old bus driver hadn’t suddenly stepped on the gas as she realized what was about to happen as the truck barreled toward the rear of the bus.

Although thankfully all survived, the crash was described by those who saw it, “horrific.” The truck driver was reportedly operating erratically just prior to the crash. His wife, who was seated next to him, was naked. Neither were wearing seat belts and both were seriously injured. The driver’s wife would later say she was hot in the cabin, so she took off her clothing. Continue reading →

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A 44-year-old man lost his life one day in 2011 when the driver of a semi-truck failed to yield as she entered a busy highway from a truck stop. Nothing would ever bring back the beloved husband, but who should be the one to pay damages? trucksontheroad

As in any truck accident case, there were many different entities – and two defendant insurance companies – involved. Commercial trucking companies are required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to carry a certain amount of liability insurance. Those minimum levels are often far in excess of what you might encounter with a passenger vehicle, and the reason is because these massive vehicles have the potential to cause devastating levels of damage. That’s why a lot of these companies carry policies that are even in excess of the minimum.

But as the recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit case of Great West Cas. Co. v. Robbins shows, holding each of these firms accountable isn’t always easy.  Continue reading →

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One of the greatest dangers in a Fort Myers trucking accident is the risk of a smaller vehicle ending up underneath a large commercial trailer. So serious was this problem that in 1998, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented a requirement that vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or more and manufactured after 1998 must be equipped with underride guards. These steel features are supposed to prevent other vehicles from ending up underneath a large truck, which is associated with catastrophic injuries. truck

The underride guard requirement only pertains to certain trucks and even then, only to the rear. The issue still affects a significant number of cases. For example, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that all the advances in modern vehicle technology are not effective if a vehicle ends up under a truck. The way most underride guards are designed, a passenger vehicle that rear-ends a semi-truck at an angle can still end up under the truck.

In 2011, of the more than 2,200 passenger vehicle occupant deaths in large truck accidents nationally, 260 died when the front of their vehicle struck the rear of a truck. It’s not clear exactly how many of those instances involved underride, but a 2011 study by IIHS found that of 115 fatal truck crashes, about half indicated severe or catastrophic underride damage.  Continue reading →

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You may have wondered why in injury litigation, we refrain from naming the insurer in the initial action. This is why, for example, you will see spouses suing each other for crash-related injuries, rather than suing the insurance company – even if that’s ultimately the goal.

The reason has to do with the fact that courts have found that the presence or lack of an insurance policy can be prejudicial in a civil case. The thinking is that if a jury is aware that a defendant has ample insurance, they may be more likely to award much higher damages to the victim than they would if they knew the defendant has no insurance and would be personally liable to pay damages.

The courts take this matter extremely serious, which is why the Court of of Appeals of Maryland (the highest court in that state) recently affirmed a reversal of a truck injury verdict and remanded the case for a new trial for a violation of this standard. The court noted that lack of insurance coverage is irrelevant and inadmissible in a lawsuit alleging negligent hiring where the evidence doesn’t establish the proximate cause of plaintiff’s injuries.  Continue reading →

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Eyewitness testimony – whether in a criminal or civil trial – must be weighed carefully by all involved. On one hand, the word of someone who witnesses an event firsthand is powerful in a courtroom. On the other hand, it can be notoriously inaccurate.truck12

Last year, researchers published an article in the journal Memory that analyzed the capability of adult and child witnesses to accurately recollect events from the past and provide reliable testimony.  They concluded there were gaps in what the science of memory says about reliability and how such testimony is used in trial. It’s not that firsthand accounts aren’t valuable, but they need to be properly weighed and, if necessary, challenged.

It was the fallibility of an eyewitness account that resulted in summary judgment in favor of the defense in a trucking accident case before the Mississippi Supreme Court recently. In Moreno v. TLSL, Inc., the only one independent witness who saw the trucking accident that killed two people and seriously injured a third. Unfortunately, key elements of her recollection proved unreliable, and ultimately sunk the case.  Continue reading →

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Insurance companies have a responsibility to their insureds and those harmed by their insureds to timely pay fair sums for legitimate claims. When they fail to do this, they may be sued for acting in bad faith. truck4

F.S. 624.155 allows direct legal action against insurers who violate this tenant, and a finding in favor of the plaintiff may result in compensation for triple the amount of original damages.

Usually in auto accident cases, we represent injured parties who are either seeking UM/UIM (uninsred/underinsured motorist) benefits against their own insurance companies, or have been granted rights to pursue the insurer directly after securing a judgment against a defendant insured.  Continue reading →