Trucking accidents can result in severe injuries and even fatalities, making it crucial to seek the services of a skilled truck accident lawyer. Certain trucking companies may have a higher likelihood of accidents due to varying levels of negligence. While drivers and other liable parties are typically involved in these incidents, some companies may also bear responsibility based on their policies and procedures for driver training and vehicle inspections.
Here we’ll review the most accident-prone trucking companies and the statistics detailing the dangers they pose on the road.
Which Trucking Company Has the Most Accidents?
According to statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), these trucking companies have the most accident numbers over a recent 24-month period:
- UPS: 2,898 accidents
- Werner Enterprises: 893 accidents
- FedEx Ground: 836 accidents
- U.S. Xpress: 595 accidents
- FedEx Express: 370 accidents
- Averitt Express: 366 accidents
As you can see, UPS has the highest accident rate within this 24-month window, with 2,898 accidents. However, determining which company has the highest accident rate will depend on numerous factors. While the company with the most vehicles on the road is likely to see higher accidents, you should also consider the number of drivers on the road, the distance drivers travel every year, their experience, and accident severity.
Which Trucking Companies Have the Highest Injury and Fatal Accident Rates?
When considering which company caused the most accidents, you may also wonder which companies are behind more severe accidents involving injuries and fatalities.
The same data from FMCSA concluded that these trucking companies have the highest numbers of accident injuries:
- UPS: 1,204 accident injuries
- Werner Enterprises: 254 accident injuries
- FedEx Ground: 241 accident injuries
- U.S. Xpress: 180 accident injuries
- FedEx Express: 130 accident injuries
- Averitt Express: 111 accident injuries
Here are the numbers for accident fatalities:
- UPS: 70 fatalities
- FedEx Ground: 33 fatalities
- Werner Enterprises: 22 fatalities
- U.S. Xpress: 17 fatalities
- FedEx Express: 10 fatalities
- Averitt Express: 9 fatalities
Again, UPS has the highest number of accidents involving injuries and fatalities.
Trucking Companies With the Lowest CSA Scores
In addition to determining which trucking companies are behind the most accidents, you can determine which companies are the most dangerous based on their Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) scores. The FMCSA also gives these to each trucking company based on their accident rates, safety violations, enforcement cases, and out-of-service (OOS) rates.
The CSA or safety ratings, according to the Motor Carrier Safety Planner, are:
- Satisfactory: Companies with this rating have met the federal standards for safety management controls, provided they meet the type and size requirements of each company’s operations.
- Conditional Safety: If a company fails to meet the standards in place for safety management controls and poses certain risks of various violations, the FMCSA will give it a “Conditional Safety rating.”
- Unsatisfactory: The FMCSA will give this rating to companies whose failure to comply with safety fitness standards leads to violations.
- Unrated: This rating would apply to newer companies undergoing FMCSA review.
While each company listed above has a “satisfactory” CSA rating, you can better determine which company has a lower CSA score based on the number of vehicles, drivers, and materials that have failed inspections and rendered them “out of service” (OOS). The lower the OOS rating, the better the company’s performance.
As a result, you can look at each company’s OOS scores to gauge CSA scores based on inspection performance:
Companies With the Highest OOS Rates
First, let’s look at the FMCSA’s listed national averages, which will compare each company’s OOS to the national standards:
- 22.1 percent for vehicle inspections
- 6.6 percent for driver inspections
- 4.51 percent for hazmat inspections
Among the companies we’ve listed, these companies have the worst OOS ratings based on their respective percentages for vehicle inspections:
- Werner Enterprises: 58.3 percent
- Averitt Express: 16.2 percent
- U.S. Xpress: 13.3 percent
- FedEx Ground: 13.2 percent
- UPS: 11.4 percent
- FedEx Express: 6.2 percent
Werner Enterprises also had the worst rating for driver inspections at 33 percent, while Averitt Express had the worst rating for hazmat inspections at 3.8 percent.
How Trucking Companies Cause Traffic Accidents
Although drivers are responsible for most trucking accidents, companies may be liable, depending on the circumstances of the accident. The following include some of the common causes of trucking accidents for which companies might be responsible:
Trucking companies must do what they can to properly maintain the vehicles in their fleets. If they neglect to perform regular mandated inspections of their vehicles, this can increase the chance of mechanical failure and lead to an accident.
Trucking companies must also hire drivers with all qualifications to operate vehicles safely. One of these requirements is a commercial driver’s license (CDL) that, according to FMCSA, drivers can only obtain if they possess “a higher level of knowledge, experience, skills, and physical abilities than required to drive a non-commercial vehicle.”
If companies hire drivers without a CDL or who have otherwise demonstrated that they are unfit to be professional truck drivers, the company could be liable if the driver causes an accident.
Even if a trucking company ensures that each rig undergoes regular maintenance, the mechanics responsible for inspections and maintenance must also have sufficient qualifications. They should undergo proper training and have the skills to keep them from overlooking potential issues.
Trucking companies must have policies that comply with all state and federal restrictions, rules, and regulations for the trucking industry. If an accident results and insurers or others determine that the trucking company’s policy contributed to an accident, you may hold the company responsible.
Additionally, trucking companies ensure employees properly load and secure all materials on tractor-trailers and truck beds. Unsecured and poorly placed loads lead to serious accidents, especially with heavy or hazardous loads.
Other Potentially Liable Parties Behind Trucking Accidents
In a trucking accident, a company may be liable, but this isn’t always the case. Your lawyer can hold many potential parties liable for an accident, including:
Truck drivers often cause trucking accidents through negligent or malicious behavior. For example, driver behaviors that can cause accidents include speeding, distracted driving, and driver fatigue. Drivers often work long hours and require mandatory breaks to rest and recuperate.
f they fail to take these breaks, this often results in fatigue, which makes them as dangerous as impaired drivers. Drivers may also take certain medications or drink alcohol leading to impaired driving. Truck drivers may even be responsible for accidents resulting from mechanical failure, as the truck driver needs to help ensure the vehicle undergoes proper inspection and maintenance.
Truck and Part Manufacturers
Truck accidents may also result from the failure of various parts and components, which could be the fault of a vehicle or parts maker. For instance, brakes or tires may fail, or drivers may have trouble steering due to an unexpectedly locked steering wheel. While these issues often fall under the responsibility of mechanics and others liable for poor maintenance, parts, and vehicles could be defective in their design or manufacture.
Cargo Loaders and Shippers
Trucking companies may ship cargo for other businesses, but someone along the line may improperly load or secure a shipment. These potentially liable parties may include shippers, transporters, loaders, or cargo originators who fail to meet industry standards when preparing cargo. Often, unsecured cargo causes accidents, especially when loads are heavy or hazardous.
Contractors and Government Agencies
Certain government agencies and contractors could be at fault for an accident if poor road conditions led to an accident. For example, a local municipality could fail to repair a large pothole in time to help prevent an accident when it became aware of the hazard.
In other instances, road workers may leave equipment or debris on the road after completing work or fail to warn motorists of existing work and hazards with proper signage. Low-quality road work could also contribute to an accident and make a governing body or contractor responsible.
Some trucking companies may outsource certain work to various vendors. They may hire companies to help with certain administrative tasks, such as hiring and screening truck drivers before hiring them. Other vendors may include maintenance crews, mechanics, and others responsible for maintaining fleets. If these and other vendors were negligent and this negligence led to an accident, they may be liable.
It’s often challenging to prove liability in these cases, and established trucking companies have insurance companies and attorneys to help defend them during the claims or legal process.
If you want to prove that a trucking company or another party’s negligence caused a trucking accident and subsequent injuries or other damages, you must prove several elements.
- The trucking company or another party owed a duty of care to you
- This party breached that duty of care through their actions
- The party’s breach caused an accident resulting in your injury
- You suffered damages in the accident
How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help After an Accident
If you or a loved one gets into a truck accident and sustains injuries or other damages, you can build a case against a trucking company or another liable party. These cases are often complex and difficult to handle alone, so truck accident lawyers are often ideal for helping navigate claims or lawsuits.
The following are some specific ways a truck accident lawyer may help you build a successful case:
An experienced attorney can sit with you to assess your case. They will review all the details to help determine whether a trucking company or another party is liable for the accident. If the attorney determines that you have a strong case, they may take on your case and represent you through the claims or legal process.
A trucking accident attorney can also help gather sufficient evidence to build a strong case against trucking companies and other liable parties.
Many pieces of evidence can help prove liability, such as:
- Photos and video footage of the accident scene
- Witness testimony
- Medical records and bills
- Receipts and bills for vehicle repairs and replacements
- Police reports
Often, victims cannot obtain all of this evidence alone, but an attorney will have the resources and knowledge to help procure it.
Negotiating With Insurers
Most truck accident cases will go through a claims process, which entails negotiating with insurance companies. These insurance companies often look for ways to deny a claim or significantly reduce settlement amounts, making it important to make the right statements and present enough evidence to reach a fair settlement.
Attorneys can negotiate settlements and ensure you don’t accept a lowball offer that won’t cover your overall losses.
Taking the Case to Trial
While most trucking accident cases settle during insurance negotiations, some cases, including those against negligent trucking companies, may go to trial. The right attorney can help determine if your case will benefit from going to court, where they can provide representation before a judge or jury to help pursue compensation.
An experienced truck accident lawyer will understand the legal process to help successfully build a case in court.
Get in Touch With a Truck Accident Lawyer
If you believe that a trucking company is behind an accident that injured you or a loved one, you may be able to file a claim or lawsuit against this liable party. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney with experience in this practice area may help build a case against even the biggest trucking companies.
Contact a personal injury attorney in San Diego to learn more about the options available and discover what compensation you may recover.