Car crashes can change your life forever, especially when one involves a commercial truck. Semi-truck accidents result in over 4,000 deaths across the United States each year. That number doesn’t account for the number of people who suffer severe injuries from these accidents.
Truck collisions are becoming more prevalent because trucking companies are pushing their drivers harder than ever. Truck companies are pressuring their drivers to ignore regulations and act recklessly to meet deadlines. Sadly, truck drivers fear losing their livelihood if they do not do as they are told, and when a collision happens, the trucking company is not running to defend their truck driver.
Trucking companies are ruthless, and if they do not care about their drivers, they do not care about the victims of these crashes. Overworked drivers face extreme exhaustion and inattention on the road. They might also participate in drug and alcohol abuse to stay awake and meet their deadlines.
These negligent actions lead to truck collisions and the death and destruction they leave in their wake. You will need a truck accident lawyer to fight vigorously for your rights and ensure you get paid for your losses after a collision.
The Insurance Company is Not Your Friend
It is a legal requirement that all motorists have car insurance before getting on the road. Truck crash victims might have the initial reaction to contact insurance companies on their own to obtain compensation. While it should be that simple, it is not. Always have a lawyer report the accident to the truck driver’s insurers.
You should also report the truck collision to your insurance company in case you need to rely on coverage. They will ask you questions about the accident, but all you should say is when and where it occurred. Do not provide any details or what you think happened. Stick to the facts. Better yet, have a lawyer handle this call, as well.
Communications with the insurance company can be recorded over the phone, in person, or in writing. They can use anything you say to the insurance company against you. While you are innocent in the situation, the insurance company will use what you say to limit your settlement and even deny you the right to take your claim any further. You will have the chance to get your story out there but talking to the issuance company without your truck collision layer is not the time to do it. The truck insurance company will also try to reach out and resolve your claim. None of these parties are on your side or looking for your best interests. You can only trust your lawyer.
How to Prove Fault in a Truck Accident:
Since truck accidents involve multiple parties, determining fault and liability can be contentious. You need to prove the truck driver, trucking company, and others were the cause of the catastrophic collision that resulted in your injuries. Like most personal injury claims, you will rely on proving negligence. You will need some vital pieces of evidence to prove negligence and liability.
1. Visual evidence
Pictures and videos of the collision and your initial injuries are important to your claim. Within these pictures, your lawyer can look at skid marks, vehicle damage, and more to find the cause of the accident. Additionally, you should get video evidence if it is available. Your truck crash lawyer will pull footage from surveillance cameras, dashboards, and traffic cams. The footage can show that you did not play any role in the accident and will solidify who is at fault for the incident, which can help move your case along faster.
2. Police reports
Law enforcement will conduct a preliminary investigation at the scene to uncover the facts of the collision. They will focus on collecting information on who was in the crash, where it happened, and if there are any injuries. They will also look at outside factors contributing to the accident, like the weather conditions. A police report can show that the driver was negligent by speeding or drinking. Police reports are critical to your claim because they will influence who is at fault for the crash. Police reports play an important role, but some inaccuracies invalidate these claims.
3. Witness statements
For an unbiased account of the collision, you will need witness testimony. Determining liability will rely on what eyewitnesses say. They do not have a dog in the fight and, therefore, have nothing to gain or lose. You will also serve as a witness, but those who were not in the crash will prove vital to your accident claim. A prime example is a witness who sees the truck driver speeding before the crash, which adds validity to your claim that the trucker was negligent in leading to your injury.
The The Cause of a Truck Accident
The underlying cause of most truck accidents is truck driver negligence. They are on the road and making decisions. They have the responsibility to navigate these commercial vehicles safely and prevent accidents. The truck company can also share liability for a driver’s negligence or be negligent in its own right.
1. Driver Fatigue
Truckers are on the road for long periods and will have stringent deadlines to adhere to, which can lead to truck driver fatigue. While there are regulations on how long the truck can be on the road and why they must take breaks, drivers do not always comply. Some truck drivers disregard these rules to take on more jobs; others do so because they feel pressure from the trucking company. There is the possibility that a truck driver can veer off their lane because they begin to fall asleep.
Speeding trucks are large, and when they speed, it is more dangerous than when a passenger vehicle does. No motorist should speed, but it is more dangerous when a truck driver does. When a truck goes beyond the speed limit, it is harder to avoid a collision or hazard. Trucks need time to stop and space to move around. Since these vehicles cannot stop quickly, they leave severe injuries and property damage in their wake.
3. Aggressive Driving
There are many ways a trucker can drive aggressively, but dangerous lane changes and tailgating are prevalent actions. Aggressive driving often involves several traffic law violations. When a truck driver uses such driving tactics, then they will often cause an accident and should be liable for the repercussions.
Truck drivers can use many substances to become impaired, even legal ones. Examples of substances that cause impairment are prescription medication, alcohol, and illegal narcotics. While cannabis is legal to different extents in many states, it is unlawful to drive while using the substance. When a person is under the influence, the substance will heavily impact their driving ability and reasoning. Commercial drivers are held to a higher impairment standard because they maneuver larger vehicles.
While truck drivers often act negligently to cause accidents, the trucking company can also be negligent when participating in specific actions. They supervise, hire and train all drivers and are liable for these drivers’ reckless actions. These parties are also in charge of maintaining the vehicles.
Unfortunately, trucking companies are overlooking some critical concerns when it comes to driver experience. Truck drivers need to have special training before they get behind the wheel. They will also require years of training. Truck companies are hiring drivers who do not have the necessary qualifications to handle a truck and some with unsafe driving records. The reason behind trucking company negligence of this magnitude is demand. Trucking companies face high demands and do not have the staff to meet those demands.
After a truck driver begins working for a company, they should be under the strict supervision of the trucking company. Companies should review truck driver logs and data from electronic records. Companies need to see if the drivers are following speed limits and taking breaks. By law, they are responsible for ensuring the safety of others on the road through the actions of their drivers.
Unqualified Truck Drivers
While there is a truck driver shortage, that does not mean that trucking companies should not follow all the rules. A person with a history of traffic violations or prior accidents cannot be a truck driver. Sadly, trucking companies do not always look into the complete driving history of a truck driver because they are in a hurry to get them on the road. If a trucking company hires a driver unqualified to be on the road and it leads to a collision, the company is liable for negligent hiring practices.
Types of Truck Accidents
A truck accident can happen in many ways, especially when the truck driver or trucking company is negligent. In a passenger vehicle, it is difficult to maneuver around a truck, and you might have no control or way to prevent it. While size plays a significant role in how the accident happens, so does the type of truck accident.
Wide Turn Collision
Trucks need more space to maneuver and turn; a truck will swing left to make a right turn. They need the space to complete a full turn. However, they can trap vehicles if the truck driver does not see rear or right-side traffic. When a vehicle becomes trapped, occupants inside can suffer severe injuries and even death.
There are several ways a truck can cause a rollover accident; when it is going around a curve, swerving into another lane, or using the highway ramp, the force can cause the truck to roll over. The likely cause of roller truck accidents is speeding, driver inattention, or reckless steering. When a truck rolls over, it can fall on top of other vehicles ending in fatalities.
A semi has a cab and a trailer tied using a hitch. The hitch controls the trailer, and it will move in the direction that the cab is going when the trucker maneuvers it correctly. If the truck folds in half at the joint, it is a jackknife accident which can lead to passenger vehicles getting caught in the crosshairs.
Vehicle maintenance is vital for all vehicles, primarily commercial trucks. A tire blowout can usually be resolved on a passenger vehicle by using a spare tire and replacing the blown tire. However, the fix is much different when there is a tire blowout on a truck. The tires on a truck are much larger than some vehicles around them, so when a tire blows out, it puts everyone around in danger.
A rear-end collision between passengers’ vehicles is usually a fender bender, but the outcomes are much different with a truck. A truck in a rear-end collision often causes catastrophic injuries and even death for the occupants of the vehicle in front.
Truck t-bone accidents are hazardous and can lead to death. Also known as broadside accidents, these occur when the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of another car. They happen at intersections and cause a t-shape.
While it is harder for trucks to stop, they can stop suddenly, causing other vehicles to become trapped under the trailer. Underride accidents are almost always fatal.
There are other ways these accidents can happen, and you must speak with a truck accident lawyer near you to find the best legal solution.
Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer Near You
The most critical thing to know after a truck accident is that you will need to hire a truck accident attorney. When you meet with a lawyer, you should ensure you are comfortable with their practice and how they can help you. You should also address any legal fees resulting from filing a lawsuit. You must be sure that the law firm you work with has experience handling these injury cases.
Truck accident cases require extensive investigative resources, and you need a firm that has the resources to look for evidence and eyewitness testimony that will help your lawsuit. You will need someone who will fight for you and review all avenues available to get you the justice you deserve. Schedule an initial consultation with a truck crash collision near you to review your claims.