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The Real Culprits Behind Truck Accidents (And Why They're Rarely Held Accountable)

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The Real Culprits Behind Truck Accidents (And Why They're Rarely Held Accountable)

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Trucks are some of the deadliest vehicles on the road. When accidents occur, the results are almost always tragic. Despite safety advances, why do truck accidents keep happening? And who is responsible?

Trucks are some of the deadliest vehicles on the road. When accidents occur, the results are almost always tragic. Despite safety advances, why do truck accidents keep happening? And who is responsible?

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The Real Culprits Behind Truck Accidents (And Why They're Rarely Held Accountable)

  1. 1. PRESENTED BY THE REAL CULPRITS BEHIND TRUCK ACCIDENTS AND WHY THEY’RE RARELY HELD ACCOUNTABLE
  2. 2. NEARLY 5,000 PEOPLE DIE IN TRUCK ACCIDENTS ACROSS THE U.S. EVERY YEAR.* *Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “Fatality Facts 2018: Large Trucks” (Dec. 2019), https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality- statistics/detail/large-trucks
  3. 3. But this size differential isn’t the only reason why so many deaths occur. The fact is, thousands of fatalities result from truck accidents that were 100% preventable. SEMITRUCKS ARE 20-30X HEAVIER THAN MOST PASSENGER VEHICLES. CAR 4,000 LBS SEMI-TRUCK 80,000 LBS
  4. 4. ● Why these accidents occur ● Who is responsible for them ● How to hold the right parties accountable ● What difference it makes IN THIS PRESENTATION, WE’LL LOOK AT:
  5. 5. Zoom in, and all you see is: ● A single incident ● A single driver ● One critical mistake But the real answer lies in the bigger picture. Zoom out, and now you see… WHY DO PREVENTABLE TRUCK ACCIDENTS HAPPEN?
  6. 6. ● Large, powerful players ● Making conscious, repeated decisions ● Prioritizing profits over safety CULTURES OF CARELESSNESS:
  7. 7. Systemic disregard for safety Incentives for safety shortcuts Insufficient investment in safety training and equipment WHAT IS A CULTURE OF CARELESSNESS? PRIORITIZING PROFITS OVER SAFETY = ● ● ●
  8. 8. ● Pressuring drivers to push their limits ● Falsifying logbooks to get in more hours ● Skimping on safety training ● Hiring drivers with poor records ● Fudging maintenance and repair records ● Failing to vet trucking companies and subcontractors EXAMPLES:
  9. 9. Understanding the many layers of culpability: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
  10. 10. TRUCK DRIVERS ● Fatigue, inattention, even substance abuse ● Paid by load = incentive to rush ● Run jobs “on the side,” against regulations TRUCKING COMPANIES ● Incentives that undercut safety ● Low-budget operations ● Lack of safety resources CULTURES OF CARELESSNESS PERSIST AT EVERY LEVEL. TRANSPORTATION BROKERS ● Fail to vet trucking companies ● Pay by the load rather than mile ● Incentive to pay less and make more SHIPPERS ● High-volume distribution = huge influence on industry ● Conscious choices to cut costs ● Value bottom line over cost to innocent lives
  11. 11. What Typically Happens After An Accident: HOW CAN YOU HOLD THESE PARTIES ACCOUNTABLE? SWIFT ACTION IS CRITICAL. TRUCKING AND INSURANCE COMPANIES: ● “Rapid response” team at scene ● Insurance adjusters, lawyers, crash reconstructionists, engineers ● Interview witnesses and distract law enforcement ● Remove dashcams, electronic logbooks and other evidence ● One goal: Protect bottom line VICTIMS: ● Chaos ● Shock ● Horror
  12. 12. VICTIMS NEED A RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ON THEIR SIDE TO: ● Preserve evidence ● Issue legal notices ● Enlist the right experts ● Scour electronic data ● Find undisclosed insurance coverage ● Investigate every lead ● Put pressure on opponents ● Pursue legal action
  13. 13. WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? 3 major impacts:
  14. 14. Digging deeper can mean recovering millions or even hundreds of millions more dollars. 1. MONEY CASE EXAMPLE A woman rear-ended a logging truck on a dark road. At first glance, she was responsible. On closer investigation, however, it wasn’t her fault. The logging truck was improperly loaded. Logs blocked its taillights, and it didn’t have sufficient retro-reflective tape, making it virtually impossible to see. The result of digging deeper in a case that, at first glance, was worth $0? A $1.2 million recovery.
  15. 15. Without digging deeper after an accident, irresponsible trucking companies, transportation brokers and other powerful players in the industry get off scot-free. 2. JUSTICE
  16. 16. 3. LIVES SAVED Lawsuits incentivize the powerful players to make safety a priority. Settlements can be structured to require safety improvements. The risk of lawsuits improves safety practices in the industry as a whole. ● ● ●
  17. 17. © 2020 COKER LAW All rights reserved. Design and editorial services by Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters. SHARE THE WHITE PAPER THE NEXT STEP Get help from nationally recognized leaders in truck accident cases. Read our free e-booklet or contact us online today. C ED

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