If you have been injured as a result of a collision or some other mechanism involving a large truck there are special circumstances and laws involved. It is important to remember that a truck is usually much larger and much heavier than an average automobile. It takes a certain higher level of skill and anticipation to drive a truck safely. Failure to do so is negligence.
The driver of the truck may be primarily at fault for negligent driving. In addition, if the truck is an interstate commercial truck, there are numerous federal rules and regulations regarding how many hours the driver may drive, hours of required sleep and other regulations. Driver fatigue, excessive speed, unfamiliarity with the road, changing lanes unsafely, inexperience driving a heavy truck, illegal maneuvers and a host of other factors may be related directly to the driver of the truck. It takes a lot longer to stop a heavy truck that it does an automobile.
Maintenance of heavy duty trucks is also an important consideration. Trucks are workhorses utilize for hours on end hauling heavy loads under varying road and weather conditions. Proper maintenance of the brakes, tires, lights, steering and other mechanical aspects are extremely high priority for not only the safety of the truck but also those who share the road with it. Part of the mechanical aspect also may involve the loading of the truck itself causing an unsafe and unstable condition.
The design and maintenance of the highway or road including traffic signals and other conditions may also have contributed to the crash. Heavily traveled roads utilized by trucks tend to deteriorate rapidly and cause unsafe and unstable road conditions. Trucks, just like automobiles, are subject to mechanical failure if they hit obstructions, potholes or other deteriorating aspects of the road causing out-of-control reactions by the vehicle. Governmental entities who are responsible for the design and maintenance of the roads are well aware of the truck utilization and their responsibility to maintain the roads in a safe condition. Failure to do so is negligence.
The laws of product liability and negligent design also apply to trucks. While the designs of trucks have been repeated over and over, designs very and manufacturing competency have caused serious crashes and injuries. For instance, an unsafe placement of a trucks gas tank may increase the danger to the driver and other motorist from a breach of that tank in a crash. The resulting fire, which might not ordinarily have occurred, can engulf the driver as well as the other participants in the crash causing serious injuries and even death. Likewise, defects and negligence of the manufacturer of the truck may cause parts of it to fail while on the road resulting in a serious injury crash. Careful investigation is required to determine what the actual cause was and to hold those at fault responsible.
It is very important to talk with an attorney who is familiar with and has experience in handling large truck accidents and crashes. Each case is different, but the understanding of the various federal and state laws applicable to truck drivers, there trucks and the roads is extremely important in the analysis of whether or not your case may proceed successfully. Investigation and analysis to determine who was actually at fault and to hold those responsible is the key element of any lawsuit.