Log trucks haul timber from the logging site to sawmills in Indiana. Logging truck drivers must be skilled at handling log trucks at varying speeds in difficult situations including heavy traffic, off-road conditions and adverse weather. Unfortunately, some commercial truck drivers lack training or fail to use sufficient caution when behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer hauling a load of logs. Log truck collisions involving cars often cause serious or fatal injuries to the occupants of the smaller vehicles because of the size and weight of the truck.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash caused by a logging truck in Indiana, you need a knowledgeable Indianapolis truck accident lawyer to help you hold the trucking company accountable for your injuries and damages. The commercial truck accident attorneys of Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC, based in Indianapolis, have helped many crash victims in Indiana recover full compensation after injuries suffered in commercial truck accidents.
At Craig, Kelley & Faultless, two of our founding partners, David Craig and Scott Faultless, have received certification from the National Board of Trial Advocacy in truck accident law based on their experience and command of this specialized area of law. Commercial truck accidents pose complex issues of liability, and trucking companies will try to deny or minimize their responsibility for the crash. You will need a qualified attorney to represent you. Our clients’ satisfaction with our legal service is underscored by the testimonials and referrals we have received.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a logging truck crash, contact a logging truck accident attorney at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC for a free consultation. Learn about how our law firm can help you pursue the maximum recovery for your injuries and damages.
What are the Dangers of Logging Truck Accidents?
Most logging trucks involved in crashes are tractor-trailers.
Logging trucks tend to be among the most unstable vehicles on Indiana roads. Log trucks have a high center of gravity when loaded and a significantly higher rate of rollover accidents than other tractor-trailers and heavy trucks.
Logging trucks are massive and heavy vehicles. Anyone who has the misfortune of being involved in a logging truck accident may have severe or catastrophic injuries.
Causes of Logging Truck Accidents
Collisions with other motor vehicles are the primary cause of logging truck accidents. Log trucks often travel on private dirt roads to access logging sites. A heavy truck pulling out onto a county road or highway from an unmarked private road may surprise other motorists and cause an accident.
- Unqualified Drivers—Logging trucks are difficult to maneuver and take longer to stop than passenger vehicles. Truck drivers have to be trained to operate log trucks at varying speeds in difficult situations including heavy traffic, adverse weather and uneven terrain. Logging truck drivers should have training in the elevated risk of rollover accidents. Inexperienced or unqualified logging truck drivers contribute to many accidents.
- Speeding—Logging truck drivers are often paid by the load. They often exceed the posted speed limit in order to deliver more loads, increasing the likelihood they’ll cause an accident. Many logging truck accidents are caused by drivers speeding or driving too fast for road or weather conditions.
- Improper Loading—Log truck drivers have a responsibility to ensure that the logs are properly loaded and secured on the trailer and the weight is evening distributed. The driver must check the binders and wrappers to make sure the load is secure. Any error in loading or securing the logs can lead to an accident. Uneven weight distribution or a shift in the load can cause a truck driver to lose control of a truck and lead to an accident. The truck driver may be at fault for an improper load.
- Brake Problems—Drivers are required to make sure that the truck brakes are properly adjusted. Misadjusted brakes are just one of the maintenance issues that contribute to many log truck accidents.
- Improper Maintenance—Logging trucks tend to be older on average than other heavy tractor-trailers. The older a logging truck is, the more likely it is to have mechanical issues and equipment failures that can lead to a serious accident. Maintenance issues often contribute to crashes.
Requirements for Logs Transportation
The heavy trucks that haul timber from the logging site to a sawmill must be designed and outfitted for the transportation of logs. Logging trucks must be equipped with bunks, bolsters, stakes or standards as a means to cradle the logs and prevent them from rolling.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which oversees the commercial trucking industry, has detailed requirements for the securement of loads of tree-length logs as well as cut-up logs, known as shortwood. The securement requirements that apply depend on the type of load.
Generally speaking, logs must be packed solidly with the bottom logs resting securely against bunks, bolsters, stakes or standards on the trailer. The center of the highest log on each side must be below the top of each bunk, stake or standard. Tiedowns must be used in conjunction with bunks, stakes or standards and bolsters to secure loads of logs. The loads must be re-inspected at regular intervals by the driver to be sure the logs remain secure and under tension.
Logs that are banded together as one unit are covered by general cargo securement requirements. There also are different securement requirements for dressed lumber, packaged lumber and other forest products.
An improperly secured load can cause a log to roll off onto the highway or cause a load to shift, increasing the risk of a log truck accident or rollover.
The truck accident attorneys at Craig, Kelley & Faultless are knowledgeable about the requirements that apply to logging trucks and trucking companies that haul logs. We can determine whether the trucking company was in violation of applicable securement or transport regulations when a serious accident occurred.
Who is Liable for Logging Truck Crashes?
When truck drivers are hauling cut logs on public roads to a sawmill, there is always the potential for serious accidents and serious injuries due to the size and weight of log trucks.
Determining liability after a logging truck accident can be complicated. Each accident must be carefully examined to evaluate all the contributing factors to the accident and identify the potentially liable parties.
Those who may be named in a logging truck accident lawsuit include:
- Truck Driver—Many logging truck accidents are caused by a driver error by the operator of truck. A truck driver may drive too fast for road or traffic conditions or lose track of vehicles near the truck and make an improper lane change. A driver may fail to make sure the brakes are properly adjusted before hauling a heavy load.
- Trucking Company—A trucking company or forest products company that owns log trucks may be liable for truck accidents caused by the company’s drivers or caused by the company’s failure to properly maintain a log truck to make sure it’s safe on the road.
- Trucking Company’s Insurance Carrier—Trucking companies are required by federal and state law to carry certain amounts of liability insurance. Because of the catastrophic damages that a logging truck accident or heavy truck can cause, trucking companies are required to have much higher amounts of liability insurance than automobile owners. That means more compensation may be available to people injured in logging truck accidents. But the insurer will try to minimize any liability. Receiving justice after a serious logging truck accident requires the skilled representation of a knowledgeable truck accident attorney.
Types of Compensation Available
If you have been injured in a truck crash caused by a logging truck driver in Indiana, you may have a right to seek compensation to cover your losses including:
- Past and future medical expenses, including hospital and doctor bills, physical therapy and medication
- Lost wages from missed work while you are recovering from your injuries
- Lost earning potential, if your disabling injuries prevent you from returning to your pre-accident job
- Pain and suffering
- Ongoing personal care, if your injuries leave you in need of assistance with routine daily activities
- Lost quality of life, such as from physical disabilities or disfigurement
- Property damage, such as the cost to repair or replace your damaged vehicle.
We can review the details of the log truck accident that caused your injuries and discuss the types of compensation that you may seek through a log truck accident claim.
Contact a Logging Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident caused by a logging truck driver, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your injuries and damages. But don’t expect the trucking company or the company’s insurance carrier to provide a just settlement without a fight.
Let the truck accident attorneys at Craig, Kelley & Faultless stand up for your rights. Our attorneys will fight for a full financial recovery for you. Call us at (800) 746-0226 or fill out the contact form on our website today to arrange a free consultation. Our staff at Craig, Kelley & Faultless can review the details of your case and discuss your legal rights and options.