Who Is Liable in a Logging Truck Accident?

trucker liability logging truck accident trucking crash lawsuit

Are you a motorist involved in a logging truck accident? Perhaps you're a log truck driver who caused the accident. 

Liability falls on the person who was negligible in some manner. Negligence can be in the form of failing to maintain the vehicle properly, disobeying traffic rules, or driving while tired. 

If you're involved in an accident, you should see a doctor and collect physical evidence for your insurance or legal case. 

This article will highlight at-fault parties and what you should do after a log truck accident. Read further to know more about logging truck accident liability and trucker crash prevention. 

Truck Driver Liability 

Logging truck drivers don't have to abide by the same regulations as other commercial truck drivers. Therefore, some log drivers may not have enough training to prevent accidents. 

The accidents may stem from reckless driving or inexperience. When it comes to inexperience, drivers may have trouble in the following areas: 

• Navigating narrow roads effectively 
• Driving with an overloaded truck 
• Turning into lanes safely 

The negligence may also occur before the driver hits the road, as loading crews may fail to secure the logs properly. 

In other cases, the driver may drive while fatigued. Under federal law, log truck drivers cannot exceed 11 hours within a 14-hour window. Additionally, they must rest for at least 10 hours before driving again. Further, trucks cannot be on the road for longer than 60 to 77 hours a week. 

The problem is that many drivers ignore the rules. Perhaps they're under a tight deadline, or they're running late on a drop-off. 

Regardless, skipping breaks is an all-too-common practice in the trucking industry. As a result, fatigue and inattentiveness can cause major accidents. 

According to the National High Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatigue is the main cause of commercial trucking accidents. 

Plus, research shows that data accidents involving logging trucks increased by 41% from 2011 to 2015. There are two primary causes of the incidents, such as: 

• Poor driver training 
• Older logging trucks (13 years or older) 

Older trucks are more likely to malfunction on the road, especially if it's poorly maintained. Drivers who don't maintain their trucks properly can be held liable. Further, parts specialists who supply defective products are to blame if those parts caused the accident. 

Proper Blame 

If the truck driver was at fault, the driver and the company will take the blame. If the company has insurance, the carrier will pay compensation to the victims. If the company has no insurance, the owners must pay the settlements out of pocket. 

Whether log truck drivers were at fault or not, they need lumber coverage. Insurance for logging trucks will protect truck drivers and compensate victims of the accident. 

Car Driver Liability 

There are times when the motorist is at fault due to recklessness. The following scenarios are the main reasons why motorists are to blame for log truck accidents: 

Cutting off a Truck Driver 

One example of recklessness occurs when the driver cuts off the truck driver suddenly. This forces the driver to take evasive maneuvers and lose control of the vehicle. 

Cutting off a truck driver could cause the truck to jackknife. Further, logs can spill onto the road and hit other vehicles. 

Sudden Braking 

In another case, a motorist could brake suddenly in front of the truck driver. However, the driver would be unable to stop due to the massive weight of the logs pushing the truck forward. 

Staying in Blind Spots 

A motorist may not know about the log truck driver's blind spots that include the back end and both sides. If motorists stay in the blind spot for too long, they could cause a major accident. 

What To Do After a Logging Truck Accident 

Regardless of the at-fault party, each side must take the following steps: 

Seek Medical Care 

This is the most important step because log truck accidents can be devastating. You should see a doctor even for minor injuries, such as scrapes or bruises. 

A doctor can document all the injuries you sustained during the accident. Also, you should save all medical bills for insurance investigations and/or court proceedings. Medical bills are irrefutable evidence. 

Document the Damage 

After seeking medical care, you should take pictures of the property damage. If you're a motorist who was hit by a log truck, for example, take pictures of your wrecked car. Take as many photos of the damage as possible. 

Talk to the Witnesses 

If possible, find witnesses who saw the accident. However, finding witnesses may be difficult, especially if you went directly to the hospital after the accident. 

If you come across witnesses, talk to them about the accident. If you were the offending party, however, you may not want to talk to witnesses, as their statements will be damning evidence against you. 

Once you have witnesses and evidence, you're free to file a claim. Filing a claim with witnesses and evidence will make the process smoother. 

Never Admit Fault 

Whether you were the at-fault party or not, you should never concede any liability. In particular, don't admit fault to the other side. Admitting fault shifts liability to you automatically, forcing you and/or your insurance company to cover the damages. 

If anyone tries to pressure you into admitting fault, contact an attorney immediately. 

How Can I Prevent a Logging Truck Accident? 

You can prevent a logging truck accident by obeying the rules of the road and driving while alert. Motorists and truckers drive while fatigued all too often, and it's worse than driving drunk. 

Overall, log truck accident liability falls upon any person who failed to take the necessary steps to preserve public safety. Regardless of who was at fault, you should never admit fault regarding trucking crashes and make sure to lawyer up

Interested in reading more about logging truck accident liability and trucker safety? Read more articles on trucking and transportation safety right here on the Bootstrap Business Blog. Keep on trucking...safely!

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