Flatbed trucks are used to carry large items to stores and construction sites. These trucks often look terrifying when you are driving with them on the road, since it seems that their cargo is held on by only a few straps. The size, length, and unstable nature of the cargo is unsettling, but it really is quite dangerous.
Dangers of Flatbed Truck
Flatbed trucks carry cargo that would not fit inside a normal truck or dump truck. While there needs to be some way to transport this cargo, the solution of using flatbed trucks may not be the safest option for other drivers on the road. Things like large pipes, logs, or lumber are often carried on these trucks, fastened by only a few straps. The straps used to tie-down the cargo are not necessarily strong enough to completely fasten the materials. Straps only hold items on the top and sides; there is often nothing fastening the items to prevent them from falling from the rear of the truck.
These trucks are also used to transport construction materials and vehicles that would not fit in other vehicles. This means cranes, bulldozers, backhoes, and other vehicles could be transported on the highway on large flatbeds. These vehicles are often tall, heavy machines. When they are used for construction, they are often braced firmly so they do not tip over, but trucks do not offer this same support. That means that the truck could tip under the weight of the machinery.
Since these trucks are open, they often carry more cargo and heavier cargo than regular, enclosed truck trailers. The vehicles are still limited by federal regulations that restrict trucks from weighing more than 80,000 pounds. This places these trucks at over 20-times the weight of a typical passenger vehicle. It also means that they require around 20-times the stopping distance of a typical passenger vehicle.
In addition, the ability of these trucks to maneuver in emergency situations is often limited by heavy cargo. Trucks can easily tip, rollover, or jackknife during quick or sudden movements, risking serious accidents.
Compensation for Flatbed Truck Injuries
Many times, large trucking companies will ignore federal regulations in order to make more shipments – and more money. These regulations, instituted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), are there to increase safety and reduce the risk of accidents. Violations of these rules can make trucking companies liable to their victims for substantial compensation.
Trucking companies and their drivers are required to follow FMCSA regulations for driving hours, maintenance, weight, and more. Failing to follow the driving hour rules means truck drivers lack adequate rest. This can reduce their ability to make good judgments and reduce their reaction time – in addition to the risk of falling asleep at the wheel. Failing to properly maintain trucks can lead to catastrophic injuries if the truck breaks down or fails on the highway. Driving overweight trucks can further increase stopping distance, increase rollover risk, and reduce the driver’s ability to maneuver in an emergency.
Truck drivers can be sued for injuries they cause, with their employer trucking company joined in the lawsuit. In most states, when an employee causes injuries while on-duty, their employer can be sued as well.
Trucking companies can also be sued in their own right for their independent mistakes. Hiring unsafe drivers with a history of DUI or serious accidents might be negligent hiring on the part of the trucking company. If the drivers want to follow the rules but are pressured into disobeying FMCSA regulations, their bosses could be held liable for the injuries those infractions cause.
It is vital that you speak to an attorney if you have been injured in a truck accident. Trucking companies hire large, powerful legal teams to try to shut down injury lawsuits early. These companies may reach out to you for information, or to make settlement offers. Do not talk to them before you speak to an attorney, and do not accept any settlements until you know what your case is worth.
Get in Contact with National Truck Accident Attorneys
The personal injury lawyers at the Reiff Law Firm may be able to take your truck accident case and get you the compensation you need for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call our attorneys today for a free consultation at (215) 709-6940 or fill out our online contact form.