Pickup Truck Accidents
They are an icon of the American workforce: the pickup truck.
Every day, vehicle manufacturers use dazzling imagery and patriotic themes to sell us on the idea that the pickup truck is the ideal vehicle for work or play. But when it comes to an accident, pickup trucks can have devastating or even deadly effects because of their size. A standard passenger vehicle weighs about 3,000 pounds or less. Pickup trucks can weight two to three times as much. They are also a common tool used by commercial operations ranging from landscaping services to handymen to construction work sites.
Commercial Pickup Truck Collision Factors
There are many different factors that can lead to collisions with pickup trucks that are on the job.
While often far smaller than commercial tractor-trailers, agricultural trucks and other pickups being used for work still pose a serious risk for Illinois drivers due to the lack of professional driving experience of the men and women driving these vehicles.
The professionals driving pickup trucks for commercial purposes have been hired for other skills and may have little or no experience pulling a long trailer filled with heavy equipment.
Pickup truck drivers on the job must navigate complex residential and suburban areas as well as urban blocks and highways. Driver inexperience and other road and weather factors often lead to collisions with these types of pickups here in Illinois, causing potentially serious injuries to other drivers, pedestrians, motorcycle drivers and bicyclists.
Drivers who are employed to use pickup trucks in the course of their work day have not attained the level of training or expertise that large tractor-trailer drivers are required to obtain. While smaller than these large commercial trucks, pickups being used for work are still capable of causing injuries in a variety of ways. The drivers of pickup trucks are often in a hurry to get to a job location and may drive aggressively to compensate. Pickups hauling a trailer also represent a significant risk because of the long footprint of the pickup and its cargo. Speeding, turning at a high rate of speed or failing to monitor the dimensions of a commercial pickup all increase the risk of a collision involving a commercially used pickup.
Understanding these technical issues is essential to managing a truck accident case involving an on-the-job pickup. Investigating the pickup truck driver’s qualifications and experience is important in a truck accident case. The case may also involve the truck company’s compliance with federal safety and maintenance regulations, the employer’s training and/or supervision of its drivers and even potential manufacturing or design defects inherent to the pickup truck itself.
Pick Up Truck Rollover Accidents
Another factor at work in on-the-job pickup truck accidents is their tendency to roll over during an accident. Although any vehicle can roll over in the right circumstances, vehicles that are taller have a higher center of gravity, which makes them more likely than a passenger car to roll. In fact, pickup trucks have one of the highest vehicle rollover rates among any passenger vehicles in the country.
In some cases, manufacturing or maintenance issues such as tire or brake defects may lead to a pickup truck rollover. In these accidents, it is possible that a product liability case can be upheld if there is reason to believe these defects caused the pickup truck to rollover.
Pickup Truck Accidents in Residential Neighborhoods
Due to the nature of their employment, drivers of on-the-job pickup trucks often frequent residential areas where people are outside and children are playing. For this reason, on-the-job pickup trucks here in Illinois are more likely to engage pedestrians or bicycles in the event of an accident. Bicyclists riding through the urban corridors of Chicago may suddenly encounter a work pickup parked in an unexpected place.
Even drivers who are intimately familiar with their own neighborhoods may fail to react in time to an on-the-job pickup truck parked in a strange location. It’s also important to consider the rules that a municipality imposes on a neighborhood. If a driver on the job parks his pickup in a place that is clearly marked as not safe, higher liability may fall on that driver in the case of an accident.
High-Speed Accidents Involving On-the-job Pickups
One of the most dangerous factors in having non-commercial drivers on the job in a pickup truck is that the driver may underestimate the size of the vehicle on their driving ability. Driving a
large pickup truck full of heavy equipment is more difficult because the truck is harder to maneuver than a passenger vehicle. Simple tasks such as stopping, turning, parking and backing up can be more difficult behind the wheel of a large pickup truck, especially if it is towing a trailer. Doing so at high speeds can result in a serious accident here on the streets of Chicago or elsewhere in greater Illinois.
Determining Liability in On-The-Job Pickup Truck Accidents
Most pickup trucks do not require a special commercial license to drive and are considered passenger vehicles, even if they are regularly used as commercial vehicles. Many companies lease or
buy pickup trucks for their employees to drive to and from work, which changes the financial responsibility when a commercially operated pickup is involved in an accident. Not only is the pickup truck driver responsible, but it is also likely that the company that owns the truck will be responsible as well.
This can make accidents involving a company-owned pickup truck difficult to negotiate. Some of the issues to consider in cases where a pickup truck is being used on the job are:
- Insurance. Pickup trucks used on the job may also be carrying commercial vehicle insurance. It is important to know what is covered and how to maximize payouts.
- Employer liability. If an employee was driving the truck, the owner of the truck or company that employs them may be liable in the event of a collision.
- Worker compensation. Drivers that are hurt in a pickup truck accident may be eligible for worker compensation.
Contact a Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Truck accident cases involving on-the-job pickup trucks are complex and can prove confusing to their victims. Proving negligence in a crash that involves a commercially operated pickup truck takes an investment of time, experience, and resources.
If you have been injured in an accident involving a pickup truck driver or any other incident involving an 18-wheeler, big rig or another large commercial vehicle, the lawyers of Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., can pursue the compensation you need and deserve. For a free consultation call the Chicago truck accident lawyers today at (312) 236-2900.