Shockingly, a staggering 74% of fatal car accidents involve a big-rig truck. This statistic shows that big-rig truck and delivery truck drivers are a significant risk to other drivers on the road. But what causes these catastrophic accidents and why do these numbers continue to rise year over year?
Most people assume truck drivers cause these accidents with reckless driving, but the reality is there are many more causes of truck accidents. Causes such as fatigued driving and driving under the influence are just a few. Understanding these causes will help you prevent these potentially dangerous situations when you’re on the road.
For Denver residents involved or injured in a truck accident, it’s critical to understand how filing a personal injury claim can get you the proper compensation for your losses. The Paul Wilkinson Law Firm has a team of truck accident lawyers who care about your well-being to guide you through the legal process. Continue reading to learn more about truck accident causes and how a truck accident attorney can provide assistance.
Table of Contents
Common Causes for Truck Accidents
1. Lack of Training
The demand for truck drivers continues to increase, and due to this demand, companies might not devote as much of their efforts and resources to training their drivers. Trucks are imposing forces on the road, so companies must train their truck drivers to deal with potentially dangerous conditions and maneuvers.
2. Distracted Driving
Driving safely requires focus. Awareness of changing road conditions, aggressive drivers, and potential upcoming threats, is an essential part of avoiding collisions. You may be the most attentive driver on the road, but that doesn’t save you from other drivers who aren’t paying attention.
Drivers often use GPS, cell phones, or other electronic gadgets. They might also be eating, carrying on a conversation with a passenger, or listening to their favorite music. Regardless of the distraction, neglecting to focus on the road puts people in danger. Most truck companies have regulations for their drivers, but this doesn’t ensure drivers’ compliance. If you’re on the road, it’s your responsibility to maintain focus at all times, and if you’re hit by someone who neglects to do so, you deserve compensation for any losses you incur.
3. Driver Error
Large trucks are not easy to handle. That’s why truck drivers need to possess skills that other drivers are not equipped with. However, too often, truck drivers do not possess these skills and wind up committing costly mistakes that put other drivers at risk. For example, trucks have larger blind spots than other vehicles. Truck drivers who fail to check their blind spot correctly can cause severe accidents.
4. Wide Turns
No matter which direction a truck turns, they need a lot of space on either side. Both truck drivers and other drivers sometimes forget how wide and sweeping truck turns can be. Truck drivers can misjudge the amount of space they have between cars and cause a collision, or cars might ignore how much room a truck needs to turn and run into them in an intersection.
Despite the wide radius trucks need to turn, they are still supposed to stay in their lane. Failure to adhere to this principle often results in an otherwise avoidable crash.
5. Driver Fatigue
In some cases, driving while fatigued is as dangerous as driving while intoxicated, and truck drivers have long, challenging schedules. Though truck drivers’ hours are limited by law, they still have ample opportunity to drive fatigued, putting others at risk. In fact, long-haul drivers may be in the cab for days or even weeks at a time. It’s easy for drivers to lose focus during these stretches and perhaps fall asleep at the wheel.
6. Failing to Secure Loads
Truck drivers often transport trailers full of products. Whether these products are big or small, they can cause catastrophic damage on the road if they are not safely secured. Products must be securely packed and the weight must be appropriately distributed. If it is not, the product can dislodge during transit and hit other vehicles. Products dislodging from trucks’ trailers can cause horrific accidents that lead to serious injury.
Truck drivers must be especially mindful of their cargo’s storage because it is easy for products to become loose on wide turns or sudden stops.
7. Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in every state. Laws and regulations often hold truck drivers to a more rigid standard because of the job’s dangerous nature. The size, weight, and force of semi-trucks make them an increased threat to others on the road.
8. Failing to Fill Liquids to the Correct Level
Gas and oil trucks are designed to hold a specific amount of liquid. When the tanks aren’t filed correctly, the fluid can splash around the inside of the trailer and cause it to sway when the truck changes speed or direction. These unpredictable movements can cause the truck to lose control and crash into other vehicles.
9. Rear-End Crashes
Rear-end semi-truck crashes are some of the most deadly. When a semi-truck fails to slow or stop its vehicle in time to prevent a collision with another vehicle, the truck strikes the car’s rear with an immense amount of force. Since cars are much smaller than trucks, they often cannot withstand the damage from this type of collision, so these accidents are some of the most dangerous. Backseat passengers, often children, have an increased risk of injury or death.
10. Lack of Maintenance
Truck driving companies must maintain their trucks and adhere to local, state, and federal laws that require them to perform routine maintenance and keep them safe. However, truck driving companies often can’t afford the cost of repair or their oversight causes them to overlook maintenance needs. Poorly maintained trucks with faulty equipment often cause accidents. There are normally many different contributing factors.
Determining liability in truck driving accident cases is different than determining liability in a passenger car accident case. Because truck driving companies, manufacturers, loaders, and drivers can receive liability, it’s harder to determine negligence. There may also be multiple liable parties, known as third-party liability.
The court often deems truck drivers liable due to conditions such as driving fatigued, speeding, and incorrect turns. Other common causes for truck drivers to receive blame are texting while driving, driving under the influence, or driving recklessly.
The trucking company often receives liability in cases where they didn’t properly train the truck driver. Companies might also instruct drivers to ignore regulations or overschedule drivers. Companies might knowingly skip scheduled maintenance or neglect safety evaluations in other conditions.
If some of the truck’s parts were faulty, the manufacturer could receive liability in a truck accident. In these cases, the manufacturer should have identified defective parts during product testing. However, if the manufacturer recalled the product, and the trucking company ignored the request, the liability falls to the trucking company.
In accidents caused by improperly loaded liquids or products, the loaders may be found liable. The truck driver might also receive liability if they knew the loader failed to adhere to the correct loading protocol.
If you were involved in a truck accident, you might wonder how you will pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and even physical or emotional therapy. Experienced attorneys who care about making the legal process as painless as possible can help you better understand the compensation you deserve.
Our Denver attorneys can help determine your lost wages, surgery costs, ambulance rides, or other medical damages. Your compensation should also include any economic damages and you might even be eligible for different recompenses such as in-home care or childcare.
Non-economic damages can include compensation for pain and suffering, permanent disability, or loss of earning capacity. Courts determine these damages based on how significantly they impact your life.
Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer
After a truck accident, contacting a Denver truck accident attorney is crucial for anyone concerned about liability or whether they will receive compensation for their losses. If you’ve been involved in a truck accident and you sustained injuries, it will likely be challenging to consider the legal process, let alone strategize and prepare for the upcoming legal proceedings.
Having a legal expert you trust to walk you through the process will improve your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve and improve your confidence in making critical legal decisions. Paul Wilkinson Law Firm is here to guide you through the complex legal process and help you recover from your accident as quickly as possible. To demonstrate our client commitment, we operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay for our services if you win.
Contact us for a free consultation by calling 303-333-7285, and get started on the path toward the compensation you deserve. For more information about our extensive list of legal services, visit our website and blog section today.