A man was killed after a semi-truck exited the road and collided into a tree close to Loffs Bay Road in Kootenai County last month. The Kootenai Sheriff's Office later released a statement that the semi-truck driver was navigating a curve in the road at the time the crash occurred. Following the collision, law enforcement located the truck approximately 30 to 40 feet down an embankment in the road. The driver was found dead at the scene of the crash. Law enforcement has commented that it is not clear whether the driver was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
The Danger Presented by Horizontal Curves
Horizontal curves are when the road changes direction gradually rather than sharply. They exist to keep motorists safe. While curves make our roads more efficient, these curves are also some of the most dangerous sections of any road in the United States. The United States Department of Transportation has found that the average crash rate for horizontal curves is approximately three times that of other highway segments. One-quarter of all highway fatalities are reported to occur on horizontal curves, even though curves represent a small portion of the total road.
A large number of accidents and fatalities including those that happen on curved roads occur when motorists are either speeding or not paying attention to surrounding traffic. Around 75% of curve-related crashes involve vehicles that exit the road and subsequently strike objects like rocks, trees, or utility poles.
A detailed investigation is necessary for most truck crashes to assess what occurred and how. In reality, however, when cars exit the road, there are often one or more parties that can be held accountable for the resulting losses.
Who Can be Found Liable for Crashes that Occur on Curved Roads?
Besides the vehicle's driver, some of the other parties that might be found responsible for causing a crash include:
- A trucking company is responsible for the trucks and truck drivers that it places on the road. If your vehicle ends up going off-road due to another truck or a truck driver, the carrier might be responsible for the crash.
- Some carriers function as contractors to ship cargo for other companies. These entities transport cargo that is sealed the entirety of the time that the company handles it. The parties in these arrangements, including cargo originators, shippers, loaders, and transports, are responsible for conforming to federal and state regulations. If a cargo disruption or cargo shift plays a role in a vehicle exiting the road while navigating a curve, this party might be found whole or partially responsible for a crash.
- Sometimes vehicles lose control and end up exiting the road due to one or more components inside the vehicle failing. This failure might be due to a maintenance issue and the parties who failed to adequately maintain the vehicle could be responsible for the crash. Other times, a crash might be due to manufacturers who placed a defective part inside a vehicle.
Contact an Experienced Semi-Truck Accident Attorney
Due to their immense size and weight, when crashes occur involving semi-trucks, the results are often devastating. It is important to understand that due to the complexity of these vehicles, several parties often have some degree of liability when truck accidents occur. If you or your loved one has been involved in a semi-truck crash, do not hesitate to contact West Law Office today to schedule a free case evaluation.