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What are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Salem, OR?

— March 23, 2022

You may have a case against those responsible for loading the truck if there the cargo shifted suddenly and the driver lost control of the vehicle.

Salem, OR – Truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries for the occupants of the passenger car involved in the collision. Your chances of recovering damages depend on finding the true cause of the accident and determining who might be held accountable. If you were recently involved in such a crash, you will need competent Salem truck accident lawyers with good knowledge of Oregon and federal traffic laws. You cannot rely on the police report solely as state authorities have little interest in going beyond the obvious. You cannot rely on the insurance adjusters either as they will have their company’s best interests in mind, not yours.

What is the main cause of truck accidents in Salem?

Driver error is the main cause of truck accidents nationwide. For instance, the police report might record that the trucker abruptly changed lanes or failed to brake in time to avoid a collision. At first look, the trucker is solely responsible for what happened and you will have to file a personal injury claim against his insurance. This might be bad news for you if you have sustained severe injuries and you’re facing huge medical bills. For the most part, truckers only carry minimum insurance liability and this may not be enough to cover your damages.

If you reach out to experienced Oregon truck accident lawyers they will dig deeper to find out whether the trucking company or another party could be held accountable. Large companies operating over state lines are required by law to carry a minimum of $750,000 in insurance liability or $5 million if they transport hazardous materials.

When is a trucking company liable for damages?

Even if the accident was caused by a driver error, your truck accident lawyers may be able to build a case against the employer if, for instance, they can prove that driver fatigue played a part in the crash.

Let’s say that the trucker changed lanes unexpectedly. What if this was not an error or an example of aggressive driving? What if the trucker was simply exhausted and closed his eyes for a few short seconds. Commercial drivers are required to respect the federal Hours of Service regulations, according to which they cannot drive for more than 11 hours in one shift, followed by 10 hours of rest.

Clock face; image by Age Barros, via
Clock face; image by Age Barros, via

Any skilled lawyer will immediately request access to the data on the driver’s log and GPS vehicle tracking data to establish how many hours the driver had been on the road. If he did not abide by regulations, it may be the company’s fault for failure to monitor its employee or for directly or indirectly encouraging him to keep driving to his destination.

On the other hand, the trucking company may be held accountable if there was any mechanical failure that contributed to the crash. As an example, it may be that the trucker tried to slow down but the brakes system malfunctioned. Your lawyers might call for an independent examination of the truck to determine if there was such a malfunction. As the trucking company is responsible for vehicle maintenance they are the ones who should pay damages if a vital part of the truck was not repaired or replaced on time. 

Or you may have a case against those responsible for loading the truck if there the cargo shifted suddenly and the driver lost control of the vehicle. The same applies if the load is not properly secured and starts falling off the truck. 

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