Causes of Truck Accidents
When a large and heavy commercial truck strikes a smaller vehicle, the driver and passengers in the smaller car usually suffer serious injuries especially if the truck is going fast.
In addition to incurring high medical bills and other accident-related expenses, truck accident victims may need to take time off work to recover from their injuries and become whole again. Consequently, accident victims may lose significant income, placing a financial burden on themselves and their families.
Truck accidents result from negligent truck drivers and trucking companies in many situations.
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, talk with a truck accident attorney in your area who can explain all of your legal options to you and recover the monetary damages you need. Your truck accident lawyer can also file a prompt claim seeking financial recovery and work to pursue the total damages you deserve for your injuries.
Types of Truck Crashes
When commercial truck drivers drive recklessly and carelessly, the chances are good that they will cause an accident with a smaller vehicle.
Some of the most common types of truck accidents that result from driver negligence include:
- Truck jackknife accidents, where the tractor and trailer components of a large truck fold in on one another, causing the vehicle to skid forward down a hill and strike other vehicles
- Rear-end accidents, where the front of a large truck hits the back of another vehicle, usually because the truck driver is following too closely and speeding
- Intersection accidents, where a truck driver negligently fails to lawfully yield the right-of-way to another vehicle at a stop sign, yield sign, or red traffic light
- Highway merge lane accidents, where a truck driver negligently merges onto a busy road and fails to yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic
- Truck rollover accidents, where a truck driver fails to account for heavy traffic or weather conditions or takes a curve to sharply, causing their vehicle to roll over and bring about a series of collisions
- Sideswipe accidents, where the side of a large truck hits the side of another vehicle that is traveling in the same direction
- Head-on collisions, where the front of a large truck hits the front of an oncoming vehicle, often causing permanent injuries and fatalities
When truck drivers drive carelessly, accident victims may be eligible to pursue a claim for monetary recovery. A truck accident attorney can explore all of your legal options with you based on the facts and circumstances of your case and the injuries you suffered in your accident. Your lawyer can help you file a prompt personal injury claim seeking monetary recovery and damages for your accident-related losses.
Why Truck Crashes Occur?
Truck accidents frequently occur because of driver error. However, they may also happen when trucking companies behave negligently under the circumstances. One common cause of truck accidents is traffic law violations.
Some truck drivers exceed the posted speed limit, fail to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles at the appropriate times, and fail to use their turn signals when switching lanes or turning onto a different roadway. All of these traffic law violations have the potential to cause serious traffic accidents and injuries.
Next, some truck accidents happen when drivers fail to follow common state and federal motor carrier regulations.
Common violations involve:
- Failing to regularly inspect overhead and undercarriage lighting on the truck.
- Following improper loading and unloading procedures.
- Improperly securing truck cargo onto the trailer bed.
When truck drivers and trucking companies fail to follow state and federal motor carrier regulations, a load may slip off the truck, causing a severe traffic accident. Additionally, the truck’s center of gravity may become offset, causing it to tip over in the middle of the roadway, leading to a massive vehicle pile-up.
Another common cause of truck accidents is road rage. Truck drivers often receive financial incentives from employer trucking companies to deliver their cargo to its final destination ahead of schedule. Therefore, many truck drivers will resort to speeding, tailgating, and other reckless driving behaviors, in an attempt to get ahead of other traffic. However, when truck drivers engage in these reckless driving maneuvers, they are more likely to cause traffic accidents that bring about severe injuries.
Truck accidents may also happen when drivers become distracted while behind the wheel.
Common truck driver distractions include:
- Loud music playing in the cab of their vehicle
- Electronic devices, including GPS navigation systems, tablets, and cellular phones
- Noisy passengers in the truck cab
Distracted truck drivers may fail to see another vehicle or a pedestrian approaching. Consequently, they may cause a severe traffic accident that leads to debilitating injuries and sometimes fatalities.
Finally, some truck accidents result from intoxicated or drugged driving. When truck drivers are under the influence of alcohol, they may experience numerous physical and mental symptoms that prevent them from using their vehicles safely.
For example, drugs may blur a trucker’s vision, preventing them from seeing other cars clearly. They may also experience mental symptoms, including limited concentration and delayed reaction time. As a result, they cannot stop their truck in time to avoid a severe accident.
In addition, some truck drivers resort to stimulants and other drugs to try and keep themselves awake for long hours. By consuming these drugs, drivers hope they will not have to stop and take breaks, allowing them to log numerous hours of driving time.
However, stimulants sometimes have the opposite effect, making a driver sleepy while behind the wheel. As a result, the driver may become inattentive or actually fall asleep at the wheel, causing their truck to careen out of control and strike multiple vehicles.
You are not alone if you suffered injuries in a recent truck accident resulting from one of these types of truck driver negligence.
A knowledgeable truck accident attorney near you can review your legal options, help you select the best course of action for your case, and pursue the monetary recovery you deserve from the at-fault truck driver’s insurer.
Trucking Company Responsibility
In some situations, the trucking companies that employ negligent truck drivers may share some or all of the responsibility for an ensuing truck accident. For example, if the accident victim can demonstrate that an employer trucking company negligently hired or retained a problem driver, such as a driver with numerous moving violations on their record, you can hold the trucking company liable for negligent entrustment.
In many situations, the negligent truck driver and the employer trucking company share the same insurer. If the employer trucking company shares in some or all of the blame for your accident, your attorney can add the trucking company as a defendant in any lawsuit they file on your behalf in the court system.
Truck Accident Injuries
When drivers and passengers suffer injuries in truck crashes, they stand to suffer severe injuries that may require ongoing medical treatment, rehabilitation, and missed work time. While some truck accidents are more severe than others, all accident-related injuries may be compensable for a monetary damage award.
The injuries and monetary damages that a truck accident victim recovers will depend upon certain factors, including the severity of the truck accident, the force of the collision, the number of vehicles involved in the crash, the type of accident that occurs, and other accident-specific circumstances.
Another factor that may influence the injuries that truck accident victims suffer includes the way the accident victim’s body moves in their vehicle when the accident occurs. For example, the accident victim might strike a part of their body on the headrest, steering wheel, door frame, or other part of the vehicle, leading to injuries.
Some of the most common injuries the truck accident victims suffer include traumatic head and brain damage, spinal cord injuries, full and partial paralysis injuries, eye injuries, crush injuries, soft tissue neck and back contusions, rib fractures, broken bones, internal bleeding, internal organ damage, open lacerations, and death.
If you suffered any of these injuries in your truck crash, follow through with all of your medical treatment provider’s recommendations.
For example, you may need to complete ongoing treatment with:
- Primary care doctors
- Medical specialists, including orthopedic doctors
- Physical therapists
By completing this medical treatment, you help to ensure that the insurance company will view your case seriously and compensate you fairly for the accident-related injuries you suffered in your truck accident.
Recoverable Truck Accident Damages
When truck drivers and the trucking companies that employ them behave in a negligent manner, accident victims may be entitled to bring an insurance claim or file a lawsuit, seeking various forms of monetary recovery.
Potential damages in truck accident cases may first include compensation for related past and future medical expenses.
Past medical expenses cover medical costs beginning on the truck accident date until your claim resolves. However, many truck accident victims suffer permanent injuries that require additional medical treatment in the future. For example, a medical provider may state, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that the accident victim suffered a permanent injury and that they will likely need surgery or physical therapy in the future.
These anticipated medical costs may then become part of your personal injury claim or lawsuit.
In addition to recovering your medical expenses following a truck accident, you can recover monetary compensation for your lost income. You can also bring a claim for loss of earning capacity if your truck-accident injuries prevent you from working at the same job or in the same capacity as before the accident.
Truck accident victims may also be eligible to recover compensation for their intangible losses, including monetary damages for:
- Mental distress
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Loss of the ability to use a body part
- Lost quality of life
- Loss of spousal companionship and consortium
- Permanent disability
- Long-term care costs
- Embarrassment and humiliation from visible scarring
Your attorney can help you determine whether a particular settlement offer from the insurance company is worth accepting under your circumstances. If you do not receive a complete settlement offer right away, do not worry. The right truck accident attorney knows how to negotiate and demonstrate to insurers the full amount you deserve.
Over time, the insurance company might agree to fully compensate for your losses. However, even skilled attorneys might not always receive favorable offers directly from insurers. Then, your lawyer can explore various litigation options to escalate the matter to civil court. The choice to accept a settlement or pursue litigation is ultimately yours, but your attorney should provide valuable advice.
If you decide to litigate your case in the court system, your lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf, continue settlement negotiations with the trucking company or truck driver’s insurer, and, if necessary, take your case to a civil jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding for an efficient resolution.
Consult an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Right Away
Following a truck accident, you should take necessary legal action to safeguard your right to monetary recovery. In California, victims of truck collisions only have two years, starting on their accident date, to file a lawsuit for financial compensation.
If the accident victim files their lawsuit after the statute of limitations deadline expires, they will not be eligible to pursue monetary recovery at any future time. Therefore, you should act right away to safeguard your right to economic recovery.
Insurance companies are for-profit companies that will always look for a reason not to compensate accident victims. A truck accident lawyer in your area can file a claim or lawsuit on time and aggressively negotiate with insurance company representatives.
If the insurance company does not offer you sufficient monetary damages for your accident-related losses, your personal injury attorney in Orange County can litigate your case in the court system and help you make intelligent and informed decisions throughout your case.