Truck accidents are devastating. In most cases, this type of accident includes a small passenger vehicle suffering a hit from a massive commercial truck such as a semi-truck. Because of the immense difference in vehicle size, truck accidents generally lead to incredibly severe damage to the other vehicle as well as the driver and passengers in that vehicle. Truck drivers are also well-known for making mistakes that lead to bad crashes.
If you have been hit by a truck, you know how devastating truck crashes can be. Likely, the accident was not your fault, but you do not know how to prove that the truck driver is the responsible party.
After all, you have just been through a terrible ordeal, and your recovery is going to be a challenge all on its own. If you need help to prove that the truck driver caused your accident, seek legal support from an experienced truck accident lawyer to get started.
Truck Accident Statistics
Truck accidents are far too common. In fact, nearly 5,000 commercial trucks and large buses were involved in fatal accidents in each of the last several years. Truck accidents make up around 400,000 to 500,000 in the United States annually. Thankfully, not all of these accidents are fatal, but because of the nature of truck accidents, most of them result in injury and suffering for at least one of the involved drivers.
You are likely suffering from severe injuries if you have been in a truck accident. You have also probably suffered a lot in terms of vehicle damage, lost work, strained relationships, and much more. That is not to mention the serious financial struggles you are probably facing. Most truck accidents result in over $90,000 in damages for victims, while some—especially those involving fatalities—cost up to $3,000,000 or more.
As a truck accident victim, you may be entitled to seek compensation from the truck driver and/or any other party responsible for your accident. It is your right to receive as much compensation as possible to help you recover from your injuries, pay your bills, and get back to living as happy and as normal of a life as possible. After a truck accident, do not hesitate to reach out to a lawyer for help getting the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in the United States
There are many causes of truck accidents in the United States, and the majority of them are caused by human error. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) gathers and reports data regarding truck accidents and other accidents involving large commercial vehicles.
Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Unsafe lane changes and/or sideswipes
- Cargo shifts in the truck
- Truck vehicle failure
- Poor road conditions
- A rear-end incident
- Inattentive driving by the truck driver
- Sleeping or disabled truck drivers
- A truck driver following too closely
- A truck driver who panicked, overcompensated, etc.
- A truck driver was under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or over-the-counter medication
In most cases, the truck driver is at fault for an accident. However, it is also possible that the truck driver alone was not the sole cause of the accident. It is not uncommon for trucks to be made and managed rather poorly, leading to vehicle malfunctions that not even the best drivers can protect themselves from. It is also common for truck drivers to be forced to work in unsafe conditions because of a truck company’s desire to deliver materials quickly.
In these situations, you could hold the truck company, the truck manufacturer, and potentially other involved parties as partly (or wholly) responsible for your accident. If you are unsure what caused your accident, it is important to speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer. A lawyer can help you gather evidence and determine precisely who and what led to the accident so you can seek compensation from the appropriate parties.
Common Truck Driver Mistakes That Cause Truck Accidents
It is no secret that driving a commercial truck is a big and challenging job. Truck drivers have to drive for very long stretches with few breaks and are often alone. They also have to deal with all kinds of weather, lots of unpleasant traffic, and incredibly bulky vehicles. All that said, it is not a surprise that truck drivers make mistakes.
Over 70 percent of commercial truck accidents are caused by two vehicles colliding, though collisions with fixed objects or pedestrians and rollover accidents are also quite common. While brake problems on vehicles occur in about 29 percent of crashes, tire problems occur in about 8 percent, and cargo shifts occur in about 4 percent, the majority of crashes occur almost exclusively because of driver error, whether that is fatigue, alcohol or drug influence, inattention, or some other mistake.
If you are suffering as a victim of a truck accident, perhaps the truck driver who caused the accident made one of these common mistakes:
- Speeding or going too fast for the road, traffic, and vehicle condition
- Misunderstanding and mis-navigating part of the roadway
- Swerving, speeding, or otherwise moving unsafely to avoid a roadway hazard
- Using over-the-counter drugs such as pain or allergy medication
- Failing to watch the roadway and other vehicles carefully
- Falling asleep or dozing because of fatigue
- Driving too far or too long because of pressure from the truck company
- Making an illegal maneuver
- Failing to pay attention or getting distracted
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Jackknifing, i.e., turning too sharply so that the truck’s trailer swings out to the side and away from the truck
- Feeling ill
- Focusing on an internal distraction/issue and ignoring the road
- Taking illegal drugs
- Drinking alcohol
As you can see, there are many ways a driver could mess up while driving a truck and cause a serious accident. While it is not surprising that such mistakes happen, especially because of the pressure truck drivers are under from all kinds of sources, that does not mean that you should have to suffer injuries, financial losses, and other damage simply because a truck driver messed up.
If you are the victim of careless actions on the part of a truck driver, you have the right to seek compensation from them. Speak with a lawyer to find out more about how you can gather evidence and prove that a truck driver caused your crash.
Fatigue Laws for Truck Drivers
Truck drivers are subject to some regulations regarding how much they can drive. These regulations help keep truck drivers from becoming too overtired to drive and make appropriate driving decisions. However, there are cases where drivers and trucking companies push beyond the limits to try and get a job done. In such cases, you may hold both the driver and company or just the company responsible for the crash.
truck drivers must follow these rest regulations:
- Drivers must limit driving to 11 hours after 10 hours off duty.
- Drivers must never exceed 14 hours of driving after ten consecutive hours off duty.
- Drivers must take at least 30 minutes off after eight consecutive driving hours.
- Drivers may not exceed 60/70 hours in a seven/eight day period without at least 34 hours of off-duty time.
If you are dealing with a truck driver who has caused an accident, you will want to see their driving log to determine if they broke any of these rules. Your lawyer will help you find and get ahold of the driver’s log and determine how much time the driver spent driving and whether they exceeded the appropriate limit.
What You Should Do After a Truck Accident
If you are reading this, you have probably been in a truck accident in the near past. There is nothing you can do now to go back and change what happened.
However, there are some steps you can take moving forward to make the process easier for you and your loved ones.
- Seek medical attention. If you have been in a truck accident, you are sure to be suffering from some type of injury, whether mild or severe. It is crucial that you seek medical attention to ensure that your recovery is as swift and painless as possible. You must also have medical records if you decide to pursue a personal injury claim against the truck driver.
- Call a truck accident lawyer. Truck accident lawyers, also often called personal injury lawyers, can help you with a variety of tasks, such as gathering evidence, dealing with insurance companies, and finding support for your recovery. You must call them immediately to make sure you meet all legal deadlines for filing a claim.
- Keep records and bills. You will feel a bit overwhelmed with paperwork in the coming days as you receive medical records, medical bills, receipts for car repairs, and more. However, you will need to keep the paperwork you receive and hand it over to your lawyer so they can use it as evidence when building a claim for you.
- Maintain privacy. Avoid talking too much about your accident, especially on social media. Insurance companies may find that statement and use it against you in a claim if you say something that can be misconstrued as admitting fault. It is best to keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself as much as possible.
- Start a journal. When you are in an accident in a fault state like Nevada, you can seek damages from the at-fault driver. However, you will need evidence of the suffering you have endured, both economic and non-economic. Keeping a journal of everything you remember about the accident and the ways you have suffered since is a great way to provide the evidence your lawyer will need for your claim.
Taking these five simple steps will help you build a solid case to present, whether you need to present it in court or simply use it to negotiate with the truck driver’s or truck owner’s insurance company. As long as you speak with a lawyer as soon as possible, you should have no trouble bringing a claim.
How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You
After a truck accident, your biggest goal should be to heal as quickly as possible and get back to living life as abundantly as you can. If you have to file a claim against the truck driver or company, however, you will be stuck handling a lot of paperwork and stressful conversations in addition to everything else. That is why you should call a lawyer as soon as possible after a truck accident.
There are several ways a lawyer can help you after an accident.
A lawyer can:
- Collect the evidence you need for a claim, whether from the police report, medical bills and records, the driver’s log of the truck driver, or witness statements from those who saw the accident occur.
- Negotiate with the insurance company to help ensure you get a fair settlement and do not have to take less compensation than you deserve. Insurance companies always offer less than you deserve in the hope that you will accept it and move on—your lawyers would not let them take advantage of you that way.
- Determine who is responsible for the accident, whether that is the truck driver, the truck manufacturer, the trucking company, or someone else.
- Decide how much settlement you deserve so that you know how much you should negotiate.
It takes an experienced lawyer to determine just how much a truck accident will cost you, especially considering that you may suffer further injuries and costs in the future. You may have to continue treatment for years, and it is possible that you will never be able to work again or return to the same job you had before the crash.
A lawyer can figure out a ballpark number of compensation that covers those costs and will fight to ensure you get everything you deserve.
If a negligent truck driver or trucking company caused your accident, do not hesitate to contact a truck accident lawyer for help pursuing compensation.