Why Are There so Many Truck Accidents?
When traveling on a highway in the United States, you will most likely find yourself competing for room with tractor-trailers and other large trucks. Millions of truckers work every day in the United States, and it is a known fact that at certain times of the day, it is almost impossible to avoid them. Therefore, many drivers have learned to hold their breath, grab onto their steering wheel, and wait for the large trucks to pass.
If you have been driving for a significant amount of time, you most likely have seen your fair share of truck accidents. This may lead you to question why there are so many truck accidents across the country, and the answer to this question is complex. While fatal car crashes have declined over the years, the truck fatality rate continues to rise. To determine the cause of commercial vehicle crashes, you must look at all the factors, as every case may differ.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
The most common causes of truck accidents usually point to the negligence and recklessness of a truck driver. Accidents usually occur when a truck driver does not follow the appropriate speed or adapt to the road and weather conditions. The loads truck drivers are transporting are also very heavy, leading to them losing control or tipping over.
On top of these factors, one of the main culprits to truck accidents is the added pressure of truckers feeling like they need to drive faster to make their delivery deadline or to avoid the federal work limit from running out.
This law causes truck drivers to speed because they want to make it home before their time limit expires. However, the faster a truck drives, the more space it requires to stop or slow down in time. As a result, it becomes extremely difficult to avoid a wreck, and the trucker and other vehicles nearby are at high risk for danger.
The following are some of the most common causes of truck accidents:
Speed: Speeding is the number one cause of truck accidents. When a trucker feels rushed, speeding may occur. They are not only putting themselves in danger whenever they decide to speed but also putting others around them in danger.
Heavy cargo: Heavy or improperly loaded cargo can make a tractor-trailer difficult to handle. Depending on the trucker’s transport, it can become loose and cause debris to fall out and hit other vehicles. This can easily lead to accidents.
Weather: It takes a lot of training to learn how to drive a big rig in extreme weather conditions, such as rain, fog, snow, and ice. Truck drivers need to drive slower than the speed limit in these conditions because it can be very hard to stop and slow down.
Driver fatigue: Even though there are many rest stops around the country, many truck drivers choose to keep driving without enough sleep. This leads truckers to lack alertness, which may cause them to not respond quickly enough to situations around them.
Intoxication: Unfortunately, intoxication is a factor in many truck driving accidents. Even though it is illegal, some truck drivers decide to drink alcohol or do drugs before getting behind the wheel, which can lead to an accident.
Maintenance issues: Trucking companies sometimes do not follow laws or protocols regarding ensuring their trucks are maintained. They may send a driver out in a poorly maintained semi-truck, which can cause an accident. Some of the types of maintenance issues that these large trucks are known to have include worn-out tires, malfunctioning brakes, insufficient oil, and more.
Distractions: Distractions are common among drivers, but truck drivers are on the road for long periods, which may cause them to become easily distracted. A few of the most common distractions include cell phones, eating, drinking, looking in different directions instead of focusing on the road, and more.
Types of Injuries That Result From Truck Accidents
Individuals involved in a truck accident are likely to suffer catastrophic injuries. These types of injuries are usually permanent and lead to long-term disabilities. When a person sustains a catastrophic injury, they will most likely need care around the clock for the rest of their lives, which can cause them and their loved ones to never work again.
A few examples of catastrophic injuries include:
Brain and skull injuries
Spinal cord injuries
Amputation of limbs
Broken or fractured bones
Truck Drivers Are on the Roads Eight Times Longer than Other Drivers
Truck drivers drive a lot more than the average driver. Truckers drive between 80,000 to 110,000 miles annually, while most American drivers only drive about 12,000-14,000 miles each year. Since truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road, they are more likely to be involved in a wreck. This is because they are tired from driving long hours, and their truck parts experience a lot of wear and tear. They also drive in hazardous weather conditions as companies need their deliveries.
How Many Truck Accidents Are There?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), almost 500,000 truck accidents in the United States resulted in property damage, injuries, or fatalities in 2018. Of these 500,000 truck accidents, there were over 100,000 crashes that led to injuries, and more than 4,000 resulted in death. With these numbers, a truck driver has a high chance (1 in 8) of being a victim of an accident each year. When you compare the numbers to smaller vehicle crashes, there is a big difference. The average driver only has a 2 percent chance of being in a car crash yearly.
Truck crashes only account for 5 percent of all vehicle accidents, but they are much more dangerous. Deaths from trucking accidents have increased by 20 percent in almost a decade, and experts expect this percentage to continue to rise.
Why Do Trucker Not Have Proper Training?
It is essential to point out that individuals joining the trucking industry are not getting trained as much because the demand for truckers is very high, and there is a well-known shortage. Older drivers are retiring rapidly, and companies cannot fill jobs quickly enough. This has led groups to advocate for more relaxed requirements to earn a commercial driver’s license (CDL). It used to take a few months to finish trucking school and get your CDL license, but now people can finish in less than one month.
Additionally, a CDL requires no set amount of classroom hours. Instead, if an individual feels confident enough, they can take the written test whenever they are ready. If they pass the test with an 80, they will receive their permit to begin their driving career.
Regarding the driving part of the test, the number of driving hours has also been reduced. An individual only needs to sit behind the wheel and drive 30 hours before they can take their final exam.
Who Is at Fault When a Truck Accident Occurs?
Many truck drivers blame other automobiles for occurring accidents, and other automobiles blame truck drivers for these accidents. Determining who caused or contributed a truck accident requires a complicated investigation.
Many wrecks involving 18-wheelers are because of different types of negligent actions. Perhaps the company did not properly maintain its truck, maybe the driver was inexperienced, untrained and failed to follow required regulations, or perhaps another party is at fault. Sometimes, cargo loaders, mechanics, or other third parties might be negligent and contribute to truck crashes.
All in all, it depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding the case. Multiple parties might share liability, requiring multiple claims.
These parties commonly find themselves defendants in truck accident injury claims:
A government agency
The trucking company that loaded the cargo load or employed the truck driver
The drivers of other vehicles involved
An alcohol vendor (if the truck driver was intoxicated and an alcohol vendor sold alcohol to the trucker driver)
Several different parties might be liable for a truck accident. That is why it is very important that a truck accident lawyer works hard to analyze each unique case, find out the circumstances, and look at all evidence. Police reports, witness statements, and video footage from the scene are a few crucial pieces of evidence that your lawyer investigates to determine who is liable for a truck accident.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
After you suffer injuries in a truck accident, you may not know what steps to take. First and foremost, receive medical treatment. Even if you believe you are fine or do not feel injured, see a medical professional to determine if you have any internal injuries you may not know about. Your attorney will also use your medical records and bills to evaluate your claimed damages.
Insurance companies will take advantage of your situation and try to give you a lower settlement than you deserve. Insurance companies do not want you to know that you can get a larger recovery with the help of a legal representative.
Find a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer. With the help of a skilled lawyer, you will receive the proper compensation you need and deserve. Truck accident attorneys understand the causes of truck accidents and know how to gather useful evidence to support your case.
Questions to Ask a Truck Accident Lawyer
As you search for the right truck accident lawyer for your case, ask these questions during your initial consultation:
How many years have you been representing truck accident victims?
Will you handle my case, or will it be someone else from your firm?
What are some previous truck accident cases you have won?
How do you handle communication with your clients?
Do you have previous client testimonials to share?
What information do you need from me to get my case started?
Will you handle all communication on my behalf with the other attorney and the insurance company?
Come up with any other questions you might have that can help you determine whether a particular attorney is a good fit for you and your case.
Seeking Help From a Truck Accident Attorney
As you can see, there are a variety of factors that cause truck accidents and resulting injuries for which victims need compensation. These are not simple legal cases for truck accident attorneys, and it becomes more coplicated when multiple vehicles are involved.
Determining liability takes skill and thorough work. The driver, the truck company, or other drivers may have been acting carelessly or negligently, but if this is the case, then they should be accountable for their actions.
Knowing the many possible causes of truck accidents, drivers may be overwhelmed and not know where to turn when seeking the compensation they deserve. Truck accident lawyers can identify what your best legal options may be.
Call a truck accident lawyer today if you or a loved one has suffered a severe injury in a trucking accident and want to know if you are eligible for compensation. Our attorneys have experience in truck accidents and will thoroughly investigate the factors of your claim. While you focus on healing, an experienced legal representative will spend their time building a strong case against the defendant.
To get in touch and begin the process today, call an experienced personal injury attorney about your case. We look forward to speaking with you and guiding you through every step of the legal process.