Today we are sitting down with attorney Mark Schneid to discuss auto accidents involving commercial trucks. Due to the sheer size of these trucks, accident injuries can be very serious, and often result in the wrongful death of the other driver. These cases can be difficult to pursue, but the legal team at the Law Offices of Mathys & Schneid, believe in seeking justice when a truck accident causes immense harm to you or a loved one.
Question 1: Accidents involving trucks are particularly frightening. Can you explain how you determine who is liable?
Mark: We can determine who is liable for a trucking crash based on the police report and investigation, witness interviews, video analysis, truck electronic control module (ECM) analysis, the drivers’ statements, and expert crash reconstruction analysis. Sometimes, it is quite clear who is at fault, but other times it is incredibly complex and the sooner we get access to the information listed above, the easier it will be to make a determination about who is liable for the crash.
Question 2: What time of year do you see the most commercial truck accidents? What factors typically cause these accidents?
Mark: Like all other motor vehicle crashes, commercial truck crashes occur more frequently in winter weather conditions. This is true because trucks can lose traction due to snow or ice on the roadway in Winter conditions and a much higher degree of driver skill and driver attentiveness is required to safely navigate Winter road conditions. The most common factor that causes commercial truck crashes is sleep deprivation caused by driving for too many hours without sufficient sleep or rest breaks. There are Federal laws that mandate how many hours a truck driver can drive and how much they must rest, and these Hours or Service regulations are designed to prevent crashes caused by sleepy truck drivers. Unfortunately, some trucking companies and their drivers put profits over the safety of people, and they will drive much longer than they are allowed to despite the much higher risk of causing a serious crash while sleep deprived.
Question 3: What are some of the most common types of injuries you see?
Mark: Many commercial trucking crashes lead to the wrongful death of people in other vehicles. A commercial truck can weigh over 60,000 pounds, and when there is an impact with another vehicle on the road, the damage is usually catastrophic. Many times, multiple people in the other vehicle, including children, will be grievously injured or killed in crash with a commercial truck. Other common injuries from commercial truck crashes include brain damage, spinal cord injury, limb amputation, and burns.
Question 4: Is there any advice you’d like to give?
Mark: On the roads, avoid driving near commercial trucks whenever possible. Never drive near a truck where you cannot see the driver in their mirror, because if you cannot see the driver, the driver cannot see you. Do not drive in front of a truck if possible, because commercial trucks simply cannot slow down as fast as other vehicles and they could easily crash into you if you have to slow down for some reason. If you are involved in a crash with a commercial truck, ask the responding police officer to do a full investigation of the crash including doing a download of the trucks’ electronic control module (ECM). The ECM will likely be able to tell how fast the truck was going before the crash, the truck driver’s actions prior to the crash, and how long the driver was driving the truck in the days leading up to the crash. It is imperative to contact an attorney immediately after a crash with a commercial truck so that the attorney can secure all of the evidence needed to show who was at fault and why.