There are countless kinds of mistakes and combinations of circumstances that might lead to a collision between a semitruck and a smaller passenger vehicle. Either driver can make a mistake. Issues with the weather or the roads can lead to people losing control of their vehicles. The risks are virtually endless and impossible to predict. Still, there are clear trends when it comes to the underlying causes of commercial truck collisions.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) tracks such collisions and ascribes fault and causes to them as frequently as possible. Slightly more often than not, the commercial vehicle is the one that is to blame for the collision occurring.
When looking at the causes of those wrecks, mistakes by the driver or their non-performance because of a medical issue are the underlying cause of 87% of the crashes caused by big trucks. Another 3% are the result of environmental factors. What causes the remaining 10% of collisions not caused by the driver or elements outside their control?
Issues with the vehicle can also cause crashes
Problems with the commercial truck are to blame for roughly 10% of the wrecks caused by semi-trucks. Maintenance issues can result in a driver losing control of the truck or being unable to stop in time when the situation demands it.
If the driver is an owner-operator, then they may have liability for these vehicle-caused collisions because they are responsible for maintenance. However, many commercial drivers are employees or sometimes contractors operating vehicles maintained by a company. In such scenarios, the drivers are not the ones responsible for ensuring their trucks are safe for the next trip.
The business responsible for fleet maintenance may ultimately be to blame for a crash that results from bad brakes or aged tires. Sometimes, the vehicle issue has to do with the distribution of weight in the trailer. Clients may also have partial liability for collisions if they improperly loaded a trailer and then that causes a crash.
There may be a business insurance policy that covers your situation, or you may have grounds to file a civil lawsuit. Understanding who is liable for your losses after a trucking crash will help you seek compensation from the appropriate party.