5 Instances of Preventable Trucking Accidents
Trucking is the primary means of commercial transshipment in America. Tractor-trailer trucks, also known as 18-wheelers, are the kings of the road. They are large, lumbering vehicles around which every automobile operator should drive cautiously.
When you are behind a truck, you should always keep ample distance from it. When driving alongside an 18-wheeler, you should always make your presence obvious. You should also pay close attention to what other vehicles are doing so you can respond quickly at the first sign of trouble.
Truck drivers also have responsibilities. All such drivers must go through extensive training and are subject to strict federally-mandate rules that regulate their driving schedules. Failure to adhere to their training and the law puts truck drivers at risk of causing an accident.
If you have been injured as a result of such an accident, remember that you do have legal options, and your personal injury attorney can help explain them to you.
Your First Moves
The first thing you should do after a trucking accident is to contact a personal injury attorney. You may not need to file a lawsuit straightaway. If the trucking company acknowledges that the accident was caused by their driver and are willing to offer you a fair and adequate settlement, then the matter can be wrapped up rather quickly. However, you should allow your lawyer to review any deal offered to you by the trucking company or their insurers. They could offer you less than you should be entitled to.
If no offer is forthcoming, then you will need to file a lawsuit. Before you file the claim, you should have a legal strategy, or at least the beginnings of one, in place. The attorneys at Spence Law Firm can help you with this.
During the initial consultation, your lawyer will ask you to recall the events leading up to the accident and everything that occurred as a result of it. Your attorney will be interested in the particulars of the accident and the injuries you sustained because of it. These facts will form the basis of the legal strategy that will be subsequently developed.
Who Is Responsible?
Although the inattentiveness and negligence of the truck driver may have led to the accident, the truck company is ultimately responsible. They are the ones that are typically held accountable for the accident.
A combination of driver error and non-enforcement of standards by the company increase the chances of a truck accident. Here are 5 of the most common and preventable causes of truck accidents:
1. Driver Fatigue
This is the number one cause of truck accidents. Drivers who skip their mandatory rest periods put themselves and everyone else on the road at serious risk. They are often encouraged to do so by quick turnaround times, hectic schedules, and pressure from their bosses to either meet delivery dates or be fired from their job.
2. Distracted Driving
States such as Wyoming and New Mexico are filled with long stretches of flatlands and empty road. Truck drivers used to entertain themselves with chatter on the CB to pass the time. New gadgets have come to the fore in the last twenty years that are even more engrossing.
Smartphones, tablets, apps, social media and other technology distract drivers from the road. That is why federal regulations prohibit drivers from texting and the use of hand-held mobile or smartphones while operating a commercial motor vehicle.
3. Underinflated Tires
Tires need to be checked constantly—both by the maintenance crews responsible for the upkeep of the truck and the drivers themselves. Underinflated tires increase the rate at which they wear down and can eventually destroy their casings and burst. A tire blowout will produce flying pieces of rubber that can cause other vehicles to spin out of control, which in turn can lead to a major accident.
4. Mechanical Failure
The failure of braking systems and other essential equipment can make a truck a hazard on the roadway. If the brakes fail, the truck will crash into vehicles in front of it, causing massive damage and injuries. Such systems must be checked regularly.
5. Improperly Loaded Cargo
The driver and the people in charge of the truck must ensure that it is loaded in a safe manner. If this doesn’t happen, the cargo could shift during transport, making the truck driver lose control and cause a significant accident.
All these incidents can be prevented with the right diligence, vigilance, and care on the part of the driver and the company they work for. Indeed, it is up to the latter to put the procedures and enforcement mechanisms into place that will ensure the safety of everyone on the road.
The Cost of a Trucking Accident
Few automobile drivers walk away unscathed from a truck accident. If you have been in a severe accident, then you may have to spend weeks or months in the hospital. You may have to undergo several surgeries to get healthy again, and you will have to go through rehabilitative treatment before regaining your strength and physical independence. These treatments and procedures will be expensive, and you will be unable to earn any money during your incapacitation.
You and your family should not have to bear the strain of this financial burden on your own. The trucking company whose employee caused the accident should shoulder some of the responsibility.
What an Experienced Trucking Accident Attorney Will Do For You
Your personal injury attorney will go beyond the official police report. They will engage the services of professional investigators to examine the circumstances of the crash more thoroughly. If any of the preventable causes mentioned above were at the root of the accident, your lawyer will find out about it. They will also make inquiries into the sobriety of the driver and their fitness to operate a tractor-trailer truck.
Your lawyer will also bring in an accident reconstruction expert who will develop a simulation of how the accident unfolded based on the evidence at the scene. Such a simulation may prove your version of what transpired. Your personal injury lawyer will also get statements from medical experts that explain the nature and extent of your injuries and how they could have only been sustained in the truck accident.
The attorneys at The Spence Law Firm have multiple years of experience representing injured individuals in trucking accident cases. We serve clients throughout Wyoming, New Mexico, and across the nation. If you have been in a collision with a truck, make sure to get seasoned counsel in your corner who will fight to defend your rights in court.
Contact The Spence Law Firm at (844) 447-5497 for a no-fee consultation to discuss your trucking accident case.