Causes of truck accidents include driver errors, defective vehicle components, dangerous road conditions, and dangerous behaviors by pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists. Negligence by trucking companies can also contribute to truck accidents.
Each truck accident tells a detailed story. To determine the cost of your damages, who you can hold liable for your accident, and how to pursue fair compensation, an attorney must learn the story of your truck accident. You can hire a truck accident attorney to focus solely on recovering compensation and use the immediate future to focus on your health.
Why Do Truck Accidents Happen?
No single response will answer the question, “Why do truck accidents happen?” because truck accidents happen daily in various ways. Some of the most common reasons why trucks strike pedestrians, other vehicles, and fixed objects include:
Negligence by a Trucking Company
Trucking companies have a great responsibility.
Owning and operating a fleet of trucks means that truck company leadership must:
- Provide and maintain safe trucks
- Regularly service those trucks
- Remove defective trucks from the fleet immediately
- Hire only qualified, serious truck drivers who have an active commercial driver’s license (CDL), a clean bill of health, necessary experience, and a clean driving record
- Monitor drivers and take disciplinary measures (possibly including termination) when drivers exhibit unsafe behaviors
- Regularly test drivers for alcohol and drug use
A trucking company is the second line of defense against truck accidents, after only truck and trailer manufacturers. Trucking companies are common defendants responsible for victims’ damages during a truck accident.
Defects in a Truck (or Another Vehicle Involved in a Truck Accident)
Vehicle manufacturers must conform to mandatory safety standards. Manufacturers must also recall any vehicles that fall short of such safety standards. A defect in a truck can directly cause a collision, which means a defect can be responsible for severe and even fatal injuries.
Defective components that may be especially dangerous include:
- Steering components
- Engine components
Those who sell used trucks may be responsible for defects they fail to disclose to the buyer.
Dangerous Driving Maneuvers by Truck Operators
Drivers are the final line of defense against accidents and often the party most likely to cause a truck accident. Risky driving actions are dangerous regardless of what vehicle someone drives, but the immense weight of trucks makes risky driving even more dangerous.
A truck driver may cause an accident by:
- Changing lanes without enough clearance or without using their turn signal
- Stopping abruptly without reason
- Running a stop sign, yield sign, or red light
Truckers drive for a living, but that does not mean they always make sound decisions. If a truck driver’s negligence caused an accident that harmed you or a loved one, the driver and their employer may be liable for damages.
Improper Loading of Cargo
Cargo loaders and truck drivers must ensure cargo is loaded safely before the truck leaves the loading yard.
A dangerous load:
- May exceed the maximum weight limit
- Is not appropriate for the type of trailer
- Is distributed unevenly across the truck’s axles
- Is not adequately secured
- May break cargo securement rules or regulations
Unsafe cargo can cause a truck to move suddenly, roll over, blow tires, or make other motions that result in a collision. Unsecured cargo may also spill into the road, posing an immediate hazard to other vehicles.
Impaired Truck Drivers
Trucks are difficult to operate even when the driver is strong, skilled, and alert. An impaired truck driver creates an unacceptable risk of an accident.
What can impair a truck driver?
- Illegal or prescribed drugs
- Medical conditions
- Emotional instability (including rage)
- Excessive caffeine
Some drivers use stimulants to remain awake during long driving periods. However, these stimulants may have side effects, like many other substances a truck driver may consume.
If a driver feels that they cannot drive in a sober state, they must not drive.
Rash Decisions by Pedestrians
Pedestrians, including those on bicycles and other modes of transportation, can cause truck accidents. If a pedestrian’s negligence causes a truck collision, you can hold the pedestrian liable for any resulting damages.
I Know Who Caused My Truck Accident. What Happens Now?
Whether or not you know who caused your truck accident, you should:
Tend to Your Health
A truck accident can wreak havoc on your physical and psychological health.
While you can make a call to a lawyer during your recovery, you should:
- Seek immediate attention from a doctor, explaining any symptoms you’re experiencing after the truck accident.
- Request that the medical professional order X–rays, CT scans, MRIs, or any other imaging services that can reveal injuries from the collision.
- Demand a clear, detailed diagnosis for your symptoms.
- Obtain copies of images, written diagnoses, bills, and other documents related to your post-accident medical care.
If you’re struggling to find a medical professional to review your injuries deliberately and in careful detail, a truck accident lawyer can refer you to a trustworthy doctor.
Locate and Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accident victims should focus on their pain, the recovery process, and general chaos that suddenly upends their lives after a severe collision. Pursuing a settlement may fall by the wayside, but you should never allow it to.
Hire a lawyer as soon as possible, and don’t hesitate because:
- Your case may face a rigid filing deadline, and missing that deadline can prevent you from pursuing the compensation you are entitled to
- Your lawyer may need to obtain key evidence that won’t be available for long
- Once you hire a lawyer, you can focus intently on your recovery and avoid worrying about the state of your claim or lawsuit
The statute of limitations is perhaps the greatest reason to hire a lawyer.
What Is the Statute of Limitations, and What Makes It Relevant to Truck Accident Victims?
The statute of limitations is the time limit for filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Each state sets the length of these filing deadlines.
No not miss the statute of limitations because:
- If you (or your attorney) don’t file a lawsuit by the statute of limitations, you likely become ineligible to file the suit
- If you cannot file a lawsuit, you may have to accept only the compensation that an insurance company offers
- If an insurance company knows your lawyer can’t file a lawsuit, they may hold all of the leverage in settlement negotiations
Those who hire a lawyer immediately after a truck accident don’t have to sweat the statute of limitations. These individuals know their lawyer is in control and their law firm will file their case before the statute of limitations expires.
Those who wait too long to hire a truck accident lawyer may be shocked to find the statute of limitations has expired. Unfortunately, these parties too often have to pay out of their own pocket for accident-related damages.
What Does a Truck Accident Lawyer Do?
Truck accident lawyers pursue money for their clients. More specifically, lawyers seek an amount of compensation that adequately covers their clients’ economic and non-economic damages—while also covering the lawyer’s fees and expenses.
In addition to establishing liability, gathering evidence, and interviewing witnesses, your truck accident lawyer may:
- Protect your rights: A truck accident lawyer is an advisor, legal counselor, and protector. Attorneys protect both their clients’ well-being and cases. Your lawyer will manage case-related communications, which will spare you from the stress of your claim or lawsuit. They will deal directly with insurers, who might otherwise violate your rights, use your words against you, and deprive you of a fair settlement.
- Negotiate a financial settlement: A truck accident case aims to secure a fair settlement, which means negotiating with insurance companies or other liable parties. Your lawyer will use negotiations as a chance to present evidence, explain your damages, and detail their calculation of those damages’ costs.
- Take your case to court: If your lawyer negotiates exhaustively with insurers but can’t convince them to provide a fair settlement offer, your lawyer may advise you to move toward a trial.
Trials take more time than settlement negotiations and may come with an element of risk. However, experienced attorneys are willing to take a case to trial when the other side will not accept a fair settlement.
Attorneys also handle the administrative aspects of your case, including drafting and filing paperwork. A capable lawyer will take ownership of every aspect of your case, from big-picture strategy to the seemingly smallest of details.
Recoverable Damages in Truck Accident Cases
Truck accidents are associated with severe damages, and it’s clear why. A large truck can weigh several times more than a passenger vehicle, making collisions extremely destructive.
In non-fatal truck accident cases, a plaintiff’s recoverable damages may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Diminished earning power
- Lost benefits
- Missed opportunities for bonuses, promotions, and career advancement
- Pain and suffering
- Psychological treatment
- Vehicle repair expenses
- Temporary transportation
Truck accident lawyers also handle these tragic cases involving fatal crashes and may seek compensation for:
- Funeral costs
- Loss of a spouse’s companionship
- Loss of a parent’s guidance
- The decedent’s pain and suffering
- Grief counseling
- Loss of the decedent’s income and household contributions
Medical expenses are also a common feature of fatal truck accident cases. Your attorney will comprehensively account for your damages and pursue a fair financial recovery. Your family can focus on your emotional recovery from your tragic loss while knowing your claim is in reliable hands.
Research Truck Accident Lawyers in Your Area and Hire Your Attorney as Soon as Possible
Several truck accident firms probably serve your geographic area. Vet prospective firms by reading client testimonials, reviewing case results, and completing free consultations.
Consultations are a chance to interact directly with a law firm, so take advantage of them. Don’t wait to hire a personal injury attorney, as the filing deadline for your case may rapidly approach.