Box trucks are a common site on our roadways and are used to haul goods from one location to another. Whether the products are delivered to consumers or these commercial vehicles are used to move goods between warehouses, box trucks are often traveling on congested roadways—increasing the potential for being involved in traffic accidents.
More About Box Trucks
Box trucks, also known as cube trucks or box vans, are trucks constructed with the cab and bed on the same frame. Although they aren’t as big as 18-wheelers, they can still weigh somewhere between 10,000 and 33,000 pounds and range in size from 10 feet to 26 feet in length.
Some of the different types of box trucks we share the roads with include:
- Refrigerated box trucks. These trucks have a refrigeration unit installed for the purpose of hauling perishable goods. Typically, they are used for transporting fruit and other perishable foods between warehouses or they are used when delivering groceries to customers.
- Moving box trucks. These trucks are generally rented from companies such as U-Haul, Ryder, Penske, and other self-moving trucks and are often used for local moves.
- Delivery box trucks. These trucks are typically used by mattress stores, furniture stores, and appliance stores to deliver products to customers. Also, delivery companies like FedEx have box trucks in their fleet of vehicles.
Whether a box truck is transporting equipment, supplies, furniture, appliances, machinery, groceries, or other goods, box trucks are still bigger and heavier than the average car, which means they could be a threat on the road. One of the reasons they could pose a safety concern to motorists sharing the road with them is that many drivers of box trucks don’t have the knowledge and experience that is needed to be behind the wheel. This is because drivers of box trucks—depending on the weight of the truck—may not need a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Common Causes of Crashes
In addition to inexperienced drivers behind the wheel, some of the other causes of box truck accidents include aggressive driving, drunk driving, drugged driving, drowsy driving, texting, and other forms of distracted driving. Although all of the aforementioned factors are a result of driver negligence, company negligence can also be a common crash factor. From poor processes to negligent maintenance and repairs, many companies can be at fault for the damages that occur in a box truck accident.
Potential Liable Parties
Liability in a truck accident case is sometimes confusing due to the possible parties that may be involved. Sometimes businesses own box trucks and employ the drivers, sometimes box trucks are owned by a company and driven by contract drivers, and other times box trucks are rented by the general public. As a result, there could be several parties potentially liable for a crash, including:
- Drivers. If driver error or negligence was the cause of the crash and the driver is an independent contractor or a renter, the driver and/or his insurance company would be liable for the damages.
- Employers. When a company employs a truck driver and the driver causes the crash, the company who employs the driver could be responsible. Also, trucking companies could be liable due to their own failures, such as poor processes, failure to discipline drivers, and failure to comply with state and federal laws.
- Truck owners. When a dangerous truck is the cause of a crash, the party (e.g. independent contractor or trucking company) who owns the truck could be responsible for letting the dangerous vehicle onto the highway without properly maintaining it.
- Cargo loaders. It is important that cargo is loaded onto a truck properly because unsecured and unbalanced loads can lead to cargo shifting which can cause a rollover crash. If a crash occurred due to a loader’s negligence, a shipping company or company responsible for loading the cargo could be held liable.
- Maintenance company. When a mechanic is negligent and doesn’t perform proper maintenance on a box truck and that negligence leads to a crash (i.e., failing to secure the lug nuts and a tire comes off, causing the box truck to crash into another vehicle), the maintenance company could be held liable for such negligence.
- Vehicle manufacturer. If a crash occurred because a box truck failed to perform as it should have due to a defective part, a vehicle manufacturer could be responsible for the damages.
Because of the potential for multiple parties to be involved in a box truck accident, a thorough investigation will be needed. This is just one of the many jobs an attorney provides. An experienced attorney knows what type of evidence to look for, how to request and preserve evidence, what is needed to prove your case, what expert to hire to strengthen your case, what your case may be worth, and exactly how to help you get the compensation you need and deserve.
For legal help following your collision involving a box truck, please call our law firm today. We’ll answer your questions and inform you of your rights in a free consultation.