Vehicle crashes are one of the country’s top 10 leading causes of death. And Mississippi leads the nation with the highest rate of fatal car accidents. These harrowing statistics highlight the dangers that many people face when traveling on Mississippi roadways.
The severity of an accident depends on many factors, but truck accidents tend to lead to the most catastrophic damages. Those who have suffered injuries in an accident should consult the Jackson truck accident lawyers at the Harris Law Firm, PLLC, to determine their rights and remedies.
Rate of Trucking Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that approximately 30,000 people have died from vehicle crashes in the U.S. every year since 1949. The most recent annual edition of Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) indicates that of approximately 415,000 reported accidents involving large trucks, there were 4,444 fatal crashes and 101,000 injury crashes. The data shows a 27% increase in fatal large truck crashes over the past decade.
More specifically, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that Mississippi has a fatality rate of 25.4 per 100,000 people. According to the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Jackson metro area is one of the top three districts with the highest crash frequencies. Also of significance is that the MS-25 and US-51 in Jackson are included in the top seven most crash-prone highway locations.
Causes of Jackson Trucking Accidents
Many factors can contribute to a truck accident in Jackson. The causes of truck accidents often vary depending on where the crash occurs. However, data indicates that the frequencies of vehicle crashes in metropolitan and coastal areas in Mississippi are relatively high. Some of the factors that impact the likelihood of a trucking accident include:
- Driver error,
- Vehicle design and manufacture,
- Highway conditions, and
- Weather conditions.
The previously cited FMCSA study also found the following:
- Driver error accounted for 87% of total truck crashes;
- Vehicle issues made up 10% of total truck crashes; and
- Environmental factors accounted for 3% of total truck crashes.
In addition, researchers found that hundreds of associated factors were involved in large truck accidents. Accident victims should consult with a Jackson truck accident attorney to discuss how causation will factor into their personal injury claims.
Potentially Liable Parties in Truck Accident Claim
Generally, a driver who causes a Mississippi truck accident will be held liable for the victim’s damages in a civil lawsuit. But car drivers and occupants who suffered injuries in a truck accident might find that more than one party was at-fault or responsible for their damages.
Truck driver error is one of the leading causes of semi-truck and tractor-trailer accidents. Despite screening, training, and licensure requirements, many truck drivers engage in negligent behavior while operating their large vehicles. Truck drivers could be held liable for an accident if they engaged in any of the following conduct:
- Driving while impaired by prescription or illegal drugs,
- Driving while intoxicated,
- Driving while fatigued,
- Texting while driving,
- Speeding, or
- Reckless driving.
Establishing negligence requires a thorough investigation which might include the help of experts who can reconstruct the accident.
Many trucking companies prioritize profits to the detriment of their employees and the general public. Despite federal truck driving regulations, many trucking companies put unrealistic and dangerous expectations on their drivers. Trucking companies could be found liable for an accident in cases if they did any of the following acts:
- Failed to screen, train, or monitor their drivers;
- Failed to maintain or repair their fleet correctly; or
- Encouraged driving for too many hours or encouraged the use of stimulants to stay awake.
Trucking companies could be held liable for their negligence or the negligence of their employees.
In some situations, the trucking company may not own the truck involved in the accident. If an accident involves a poorly maintained truck, the truck owner may be responsible for their failure to ensure the safety of their vehicle.
Truck manufacturers might also be liable if the accident resulted from a defective or dangerous truck or truck part. Additionally, the entity that designed or installed a truck part may be responsible for damages to the victim.
Dislodged cargo can result in disaster and often lead to chain-reaction collisions. Cargo loaders who fail to load properly and secure items could be liable if those items become dislodged and cause an accident or injury.
Determining fault after a truck accident can be complex and often requires a comprehensive understanding of federal and state personal injury and product liability laws. Those who have suffered injuries in an accident should consult a semi-truck accident lawyer in Jackson to help them identify the liable parties.
Damages in Mississippi Truck Crash Lawsuit
In Mississippi, personal injury claimants can pursue two primary types of damages: compensatory and punitive.
Compensatory damages refer to the economic losses an accident victim experienced because of the other party’s negligence. These damages address the financial losses the victim experienced, such as the following:
- Medical bills,
- Lost wages,
- Property damage, and
- Reduced earning capacity.
These damages are straightforward and easily verifiable through receipts and wage records. Compensatory damages also include more subjective noneconomic losses, such as the following:
- Pain and suffering,
- Mental distress,
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and
- Loss of consortium.
These losses tend to be personal and more subjective. This makes them harder to prove because there won’t be any receipts or invoices that prove their monetary value. Accordingly, accident victims should work with an experienced truck accident attorney in Jackson, MS, to substantiate their claims.
Unlike compensatory damages—which work to compensate for the victim’s financial losses—punitive damages are designed to punish the at-fault party for egregious misconduct. Punitive damages are difficult to secure and require the claimant to prove by “clear and convincing” evidence that the at-fault party engaged in particularly malicious or wrongful conduct.
Like many other states, Mississippi places caps on the amount of compensation a victim can secure. A truck accident lawyer in Jackson, MS, can represent crash victims to ensure they secure maximum compensation under the law.
Speak with Experienced Jackson Truck Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one was recently involved in a truck accident, reach out to the dedicated personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the Harris Law Firm for immediate assistance. At the Harris Law Firm, PLLC, our compassionate lawyers understand what you’ve been through. Therefore, we do everything possible to make the recovery stress free while maximizing your compensation. We have more than 40 years of combined experience helping to connect accident victims and grieving families with the compensation they need. To schedule a free consultation with a Jackson truck accident lawyer today, call 662-335-4171. You can also reach us through our online contact form.