Last updated on August 7th, 2023
Have you been injured in a flatbed truck accident? If so, you are not alone. The nation’s roads see more than 450,000 large truck accidents per year according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is responsible for federal trucking regulation. Flatbed trucks account for far more than their fair share of these accidents.
A flatbed truck is a special kind of large truck that includes a flat trailer bed with no sides and no roof. Although most flatbed trucks weigh about 30,000 pounds empty, they can weigh up to 80,000 pounds fully loaded. Flatbed trucks are used to carry certain types of dangerous cargo that cannot be carried easily or cannot be carried at all, by ordinary big rig (18-wheeler) trucks. Cargo is the main reason that flatbed trucks are so dangerous.
Flatbed trucks typically carry oversized or bulky cargo. Their cargo limits the roads they can travel on because of weight-restricted bridges, low underpasses, and narrow lanes. Flatbed trucks are typically limited to traveling on multilane highways such as interstate highways. These roads, of course, feature congested high-speed traffic and plenty of other large trucks in the vicinity.
Following are some of the special types of cargo commonly carried by flatbed trucks:
Any of these types of cargo can cause multi-vehicle accidents, even if no vehicle actually collides with the truck.
Depending on the type and weight of cargo, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) may require some or all of the following special safety measures:
Additional requirements may also be imposed by the Ohio Department of Transportation, which issues special hauling permits for oversize loads, and the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, which regulates intrastate trucking in Ohio.
Since all of these safety measures are expensive, there is a temptation to cut corners. Trucking companies that cut corners, however, cause a disproportionate number of accidents. A good truck accident lawyer will investigate to determine which safety precautions were required and whether the trucking company observed all of them. If any were ignored, and if the ignored safety precautions were a major cause of the accident, you are likely to win your claim.
Unsecured cargo is perhaps the most important cause of flatbed truck accidents. Loose cargo, for example, can:
Other ways in which a flatbed truck is particularly likely to cause an accident include:
In addition to accidents to which flatbed trucks are particularly prone, many flatbed truck accidents can be traced to causes that are common among all motorists—distracted driving, intoxicated driving, tailgating, driver fatigue, and driver inexperience. With a fully loaded flatbed truck, however, the stakes are a lot higher than they are with passenger automobiles.
Commercial truckers must observe numerous safety regulations at both the state and the federal level. This gives your lawyer many chances to prove that the driver of the flatbed truck was negligent. Violation of these regulations may cause accidents in unpredictable ways. The FMSCA, for example, reports that drivers who go without sleep for 18 straight hours (in violation of trucking regulations) are as impaired as someone who is legally intoxicated.
In many cases, it is not the driver but a third party who is responsible for the accident. This is particularly true for flatbed truck drivers, who must depend on others to maintain safety regulations and secure cargo. Possible third-party defendants include:
An experienced truck accident lawyer might also discover other defendants to hold liable for a flatbed truck accident.
You can use all kinds of evidence to prove liability, including:
In almost every case, you needn’t worry that the driver doesn’t carry enough insurance to pay your claim. Truck drivers must carry liability insurance, and very few drivers would dare drive without it. Mandatory minimum liability insurance for trucks over 10,000 pounds is:
One million dollars in coverage is becoming the industry standard.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a flatbed truck accident, it’s important that you get an experienced truck accident attorney on your side. Insurance companies are known for trying to ensure they pay out as little as possible, and an attorney can make all the difference. Contact us today to set up a free consultation to see how we can help with a truck accident liability situation.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, please fill out the form below for your free consultation or call us at 1.937.222.2222
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