Not all truck accident settlement cases are due to driver negligence or error. Many times it’s a careless or inexperience automobile driver who causes a truck collision. However, truck crashes due to truck driver negligence are increasing due to several reasons: there are many more trucks on the road, distracted driving due to smart phones and texting, less experienced truck drivers and tired truck drivers. A collision between a car and truck is a built-in mismatch with the semi tractor-trailer weighing up to 80,000 pounds and the average car weighing in at 4,000 pounds. In addition to the rules of the road, an automobile driver should avoid keeping pace next to truck. The truck driver may not see the car before changing lanes or turning and there is always a risk of tire blowout or wheel disengagement.
Trucking insurance companies are taking losses due to truck accident settlements and as result are forcing truckers to install cameras in their cabs and install apps on their phones to detects a vehicle’s motion and then prevent drivers from any calling, app use, texting and emailing until the truck stops. The largest trucking insurance companies include Berkshire Hathaway Homestate, Western National, Liberty Mutual Group, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., Progressive Corp., Travelers Co s., and Zurich Insurance Group according to Fitch Ratings.
There is a shortage of truck drivers and some trucking companies are hiring inexperienced drivers to fill jobs. This has resulted in larger trucking accident settlements and verdicts for an injured person’s losses including medical bills, loss of wages or earning capacity, pain, suffering and disability. Some companies hire what they call independent contractor drivers so as to avoid not only payroll taxes and Social Security obligations, but possibly liability as well if the driver causes an accident. There are concerns that some independent drivers may use several drivers in a tag team format so as to avoid DOT rest requirements and keep a rig moving 24/7.
Onboard video cameras are typically triggered by hard breaking, swerving or an impact. The video of events immediately before or after a truck accident can prove negligence or due care by the truck driver.
McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee represents persons injured in trucking accidents, obtaining the best truck accident settlement results when the motor vehicle accident report and corroborating evidence supports the plaintiff’s case of negligence or liability. In many cases it is necessary for us to use an expert accident reconstruction engineer who can recreate the circumstances of the accident in a truthful and accurate manner. As part of the case we routinely request truck company maintenance records and truck driver logs to help determine negligence.