People tend to think of car crashes as black-and-white issues. Someone makes a certain mistake, and that leads to a particular outcome. While that is often true, it is not a universal truth. Sometimes, the worst crashes are the result of situations that the drivers involved could never have prevented.
Commercial truck crashes can be catastrophic for the people in the smaller vehicle. According to federal collision data, the commercial vehicle is to blame in just over half of these collisions, and the driver is almost always at fault for those wrecks.
When could a truck cause a crash but the driver not be at fault?
When they experience a medical emergency
Of the crashes caused by commercial vehicles, 87% are the fault of the driver. However, non-performance is the third-most-common reason why truck drivers cause crashes. Non-performance involves a driver who is unable to do their work, and it is to blame for 12% of the wrecks caused by big rigs. Although sometimes the driver causes non-performance through exhaustion when they fall asleep at the wheel, often the driver has no control over what renders them unable to do their jobs.
Heart attacks, strokes and other emergency medical events all are forms of non-performance. When a driver has a medical emergency while on the job, they will potentially lose consciousness or at least their ability to continue driving safely. Although the crashes that result may ultimately be their fault, these medical issues are not mistakes but unexpected and tragic occurrences.
When there are maintenance issues with the vehicle
A truck driver likely does an inspection every time they get in their vehicle, but they could overlook certain issues because they are hard to spot. It is crucial for transportation companies to proactively maintain their fleets.
Making the necessary repairs and performing routine maintenance can be the difference between the truck’s brakes failing and a driver getting to where they need to go safely. Vehicle issues are the cause in 10% of the crashes caused by commercial vehicles, and the losses that result will be the responsibility of the fleet owner or employer, not the individual driver.
Determining where liability for a commercial trucking crash really falls can help you secure compensation and hold the right party responsible for the losses you suffered.