Truck accidents can be far more catastrophic than car accidents because of the sheer weight of trucks. An average truck can weigh more than 30,000 pounds, which is one of the several factors contributing to the severe consequences of a truck accident. Seeking compensation after a truck accident can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Carry on reading to learn how a truck accident lawyer from Wattel & York can guide you through the legal proceedings of a Tucson truck accident case.
Common Causes of a Truck Accident
Driver fatigue results in a loss of focus and can even cause the driver to nod off behind the wheel. Driving commercial trucks can be a very demanding job. Sometimes truck drivers have to work long shifts and drive throughout the night to meet deadlines for their employers or clients. Trucks can be on the road for days when they are making deliveries, meaning truck drivers need more breaks and rest before and during their shifts. Federal and state laws provide guidelines for maximum truck driver workload, but driver fatigue still happens.
Driver distraction is another major cause of accidents every year. Truck drivers can be more prone to being distracted while driving because they have to be on the road for longer distances. When drivers get distracted behind the wheel, they can pose a significant threat to every road user, including pedestrians and bicyclists.
Driving Under the Influence
Unfortunately, trucking has a high rate of drug and alcohol abuse. Drug or alcohol abuse can diminish the driver’s ability to make correct judgments on the road. It also slows down the driver’s reaction time and makes them unable to concentrate. In addition, when the stimulants or drugs wear off, the driver is most likely to suffer driver fatigue behind the wheel. Truck accidents caused by driving under the influence can lead to severe injuries and even wrongful death in the worst cases.
Poor maintenance can cause truck accidents. The fleet owners must keep up with maintenance for their fleet, including semi-trucks, trailers, and other types of vehicles. Truck drivers should also be mindful of maintenance, do a basic maintenance inspection before driving, and let the maintenance team know if anything needs to be fixed. Poorly maintained vehicles are at higher risk of accidents and breaking down.
Improper Cargo Loading
Each truck can carry a maximum load, which needs to be properly secured and balanced. When a truck is imbalanced due to improper cargo, it can lose control on the road, causing a serious accident. In addition, any loose cargo can be dangerous for motorists driving in the truck’s rear.
What Damages Are Recoverable in a Truck Accident?
A person who suffers severe injuries in a truck accident can recover current and future medical expenses related to the accident, such as medical bills, hospitalizations, medical follow-ups, prescription drugs, surgery, assistive devices, and any necessary modifications to their home or vehicle as a result of the injuries.
In addition, the victim can also be compensated for the number of days they have missed work due to serious injuries, disability, or the potential loss of earning capacity. Victims can also claim compensation for property damage, including vehicle repairs and alternative transportation expenses.
Along with economic damages, truck accident victims can also obtain reimbursement for their noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering. Pain and suffering refer to the mental anguish and emotional trauma suffered by the victim due to the accident.
Establishing Liability in a Truck Accident
Establishing liability is one of the most important aspects of any accident claim or lawsuit. Not all truck accidents are the fault of the truck driver. For instance, a truck driver is only liable for accidents that were caused by their negligence, such as speeding, overtaking, abruptly changing lanes, or violating traffic rules. The truck driver can also be partially responsible for the lack of maintenance or improper loading of the truck.
If truck drivers who cause accidents lack the proper training, the trucking company could be held responsible. Trucking companies can also be responsible for improper vehicle maintenance because they are required by state and federal laws to provide regular inspection and maintenance checks. In addition, forcing truckers to work overtime to meet deadlines violates federal and state laws and could result in penalties and fines for the trucking company.
With trucking accidents caused by improper cargo loading, the cargo shipper or loader could be fully or partially liable as the truckers are typically not responsible for loading the truck. The truck manufacturer can be liable if a manufacturing defect leads to an accident. This could include issues with the tires, brakes, steering system, or other systems or components of the semi-truck. Local authorities responsible for road maintenance can also share liability in trucking accidents.
Establishing liability in a truck accident can get complex; therefore, hiring a truck accident lawyer with experience in similar cases is best. They can help you determine who is at fault for the accident.
Determining Compensation for Truck Accidents
The worth of your truck accident claim or lawsuit depends on several factors. The medical treatment required by the victims is typically a significant part of the compensation. Getting medical care immediately after the accident and completing all follow-ups with your doctor can help you get maximum compensation for your medical expenses. For pain and suffering, you will need to rely on the multiplier or per diem method to determine how much compensation you can claim. The property damage is easier to determine as that would be the sum of all expenses to fix your vehicle and other damaged items.
In some cases, punitive damages can also be added to the overall compensation if it is proven in court that the opposing party was intentionally negligent in their driving. These damages can be monetarily significant, increasing the amount of your compensation.
How Can Our Tucson Truck Accident Lawyer Help You?
Our Tucson truck accident lawyers are well-versed in state and federal rules regarding semi-truck accidents, including the laws for cargo weight limits, driver qualifications, maintenance records, and insurance requirements. In addition, we can help you determine what factors contributed to the semi-truck accident and who was at fault.
Hiring a truck accident lawyer immediately after the truck accident can benefit you because trucking companies and insurance providers will try their best to reduce their payout. Our Tucson truck accident lawyers can guide you on how to collect the evidence to strengthen your truck accident claim. You have a better chance of gathering evidence and getting fair compensation if you act as soon as possible after the accident. Contact us at Wattel & York to schedule a free consultation with our legal team.
How Common are Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents are common in the U.S. for several reasons. An estimated 14% of truck drivers do not wear seatbelts and engage in speeding, reckless driving, or driving under the influence. As a result, more than 400,000 truck accidents occur every year. In 2019, approximately 510,000 truck accidents were reported by the police, out of which 29% involved injuries and 1% involved wrongful deaths. The competitive nature of the trucking industry also plays a role in why truck accidents are so common. Trucking companies often push truck drivers to the limit to reach their goals.
What Makes Truck Accidents Worse Than Car Accidents?
The truck’s size and weight make semi-truck accidents far worse than any car accident. In addition, unlike car accidents, when a truck collides with another vehicle, it can take longer to stop completely, leading to multiple collisions and a potential vehicle pile-up. Large truck accidents involving heavy or explosive material make the crash much more hazardous than those in car accident cases. They can often lead to wrongful death, severe injuries, or major damage to property.