Causes of Truck Accidents

Causes of Truck Accidents

Leading causes of truck accidents include speeding, distracted driving, intoxicated driving, dangerous road conditions, and defective vehicles. However, an endless list of actions and circumstances can cause a truck accident.

You need a truck accident lawyer to identify the cause of your truck accident. Once you understand the cause of a collision, you can determine fault. After that, you can demand that the at-fault parties cover your accident-related damages.

Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Reviewing data about fatal truck accidents, some leading causes of severe truck collisions emerge. These causes include:

Speeding and Other Dangerous Driving Acts

Speeding is responsible for more than 12,000 traffic deaths per year, perhaps even more.

Causes of Truck Accidents

Driving above the speed limit is one of several dangerous driving acts that cause truck accidents, and other dangerous behaviors include:

  • Tailgating
  • Failing to reduce speed in dangerous conditions, such as rain or heavy traffic
  • Changing lanes without room to do so
  • Turning into oncoming traffic
  • Running red lights, stop signs, and yield signs

Truck drivers receive more training than most drivers. They should understand the danger that trucks pose and always drive cautiously and defensively.

Chaotic or Otherwise Dangerous Driving Conditions

Some driving conditions pose a higher risk of accidents.

A trucking accident may be more likely to occur when:

  • The trucker is driving in heavy traffic
  • Truckers are near pedestrians, including in cities
  • Poor weather is present
  • The driver is in a construction zone
  • The roadway has potholes, uneven surfaces, or other hazards
  • It is dark out

Drivers must exercise abundant caution when dangerous conditions are present.

Driver Impairment

One person dies every 45 minutes in the United States because of impaired drivers. While any impaired driver poses a danger, impaired truck drivers are especially dangerous due to the weight of large trucks.

The causes of impairment include:

  • Alcohol
  • Illicit drugs
  • Prescription medications
  • Tiredness
  • Emotional instability
  • Excessive caffeine

Impairment may make a driver less responsive, prone to impulsive behavior, and dangerous for several other reasons.

Defective Vehicles

If a vehicle, trailer, or other truck component is defective, the defect poses a clear risk of an accident.

The nature of the defect will determine liability for a resulting accident, and liable parties may include:

  • The vehicle or component manufacturer
  • The vehicle or component seller
  • The truck driver
  • The trucking company

Some defects are the result of poor manufacturing, defective design, inadequate testing, or other failures at the manufacturer level. Other defects result from wear and tear, and a trucking company or truck owner must replace worn-out components.

Your lawyer will work with automotive professionals to identify any defects contributing to your trucking accident.

Distracted Driving

Distracted drivers are generally responsible for the accidents they cause, as distracted driving is a blatant form of negligence.

Drivers are often distracted by:

  • Their phones
  • Eating or drinking
  • Taking videos or photographs
  • Speaking with others in the vehicle
  • Staring at or gesturing at people outside the vehicle
  • Picking items up off the floor of their vehicle

Motorists must exercise restraint and avoid distractions. Those who fail to do so must pay for their victims’ accident-related damages.

Unsafe Cargo

Truck drivers and trucking companies aren’t only responsible for their trucks and the cargo their trucks haul. Cargo loaders are also responsible for loading cargo properly.

Cargo becomes unsafe when:

  • It exceeds the federal weight limit
  • Loaders fail to distribute the cargo evenly across a truck’s axles
  • Loaders fail to tie the cargo down properly
  • It is flammable or otherwise hazardous

Product distributors, loaders, truck drivers, and trucking companies must take every available precaution. If any of these parties are negligent, cargo may spill into the roadway, causing the truck driver to lose control of their vehicle or pose other dangers.

Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident?

Liability for truck accidents varies in each case.

Your truck accident attorney will investigate the collision and identify liable parties, which may include:

  • Truck driver: You can hold a trucking company financially responsible when their driver causes a collision. However, the truck driver can also have personal liability for the collision.
  • A trucking company: Truck accident lawyers often seek compensation from a trucking company (or their insurer) when a truck accident happens. Whether the trucking company is negligent or employs a negligent motorist, the company may owe the accident victim compensation.
  • A product distributor: If dangerous cargo causes a truck accident, you can hold the distributor liable for damages. This includes cases where a cargo loader fails to load or tie down cargo in a secure manner.
  • A municipality: Municipalities may need to pay for truck accidents caused by dangerous road conditions, defective traffic signals, downed signage, or other hazards that a city has a duty to address.
  • A vehicle or component manufacturer: When a defective vehicle or component causes an accident, you can hold the manufacturer responsible for victims’ damages.

Uncertainty around liability is one reason to hire a lawyer. Your truck accident attorney will work with qualified experts to identify the cause of your accident and pinpoint liable parties.

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A Lawyer Will Identify, Calculate, and Document Your Recoverable Damages

When you hire a truck accident lawyer, their goal is obtaining a financial recovery (settlement or jury verdict) that covers your accident-related damages.

Truck accidents are often severe and can cause severe damages, including:

  • Property expenses: If your vehicle suffered damage during a collision with a truck, your lawyer will seek compensation to repair or replace the vehicle. You may also need money for temporary transportation and the cost of replacing other damaged property (like clothing and a phone).
  • Pain and suffering: Auto accidents can leave victims with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, nightmares, lost quality of life, and other types of pain and suffering.
  • Medical bills: Truck accident victims often need ambulance transport, emergency treatment, surgery, hospital services, medications, and other medical items and services. Your lawyer will seek compensation covering all of your accident-related medical bills.
  • Professional harm: If accident-related injuries disrupt your professional life, you may need compensation for lost income, diminished earning capacity, lost opportunities to earn bonuses and promotions, and other professional damages.
  • Disability: If your injuries are disabling, you may need compensation for medical equipment, at-home caregiver services, ramps, other home improvements, permanent loss of income, and other damages specific to your disability.

Experienced truck accident attorneys are familiar with the damages truck accident victims often suffer. Your lawyer will speak with you, contact your doctors, and work with experts to diagnose and value your accident-related damages.

Recoverable Damages for Those Affected by a Fatal Truck Accident

Thirteen percent of fatal traffic accidents involve at least one large truck. A lawyer can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit if you are affected by a fatal truck accident.

Recoverable damages in a fatal truck accident case may include:

  • Funeral expenses
  • The loss of a spouse’s companionship and intimacy
  • The loss of a parent’s support and guidance
  • The loss of the decedent’s income
  • The loss of the decedent’s household services
  • Your pain and suffering
  • Treatment for your pain and suffering
  • The decedent’s pain and suffering
  • Any medical bills and property costs that fall upon you

Wrongful death cases serve multiple ends. You may get justice for your loss. You may also secure the financial support that you need because of the loved one’s passing (and the accident that caused their passing).

You can hire a lawyer to fight for your financial recovery while focusing on your well-being.

What Else Does a Truck Accident Lawyer Do for Truck Accident Victims?

In addition to valuing your accident-related damages, your truck accident lawyer will:

Obtain Evidence

Your lawyer will seek any evidence that supports your case and may:

  • Secure black box data, work logs, incident reports, and any other relevant evidence from the trucking company
  • Interview witnesses to the accident
  • Interview witnesses to accident-related circumstances (such as a bartender who saw a motorist drinking heavily before an accident)
  • Seek video footage of the truck accident
  • Obtain any other evidence that helps prove liability for the collision

You may not have the time or resources to investigate your truck accident. A lawyer does. You can hire a truck accident lawyer to obtain the necessary evidence for your insurance claim or lawsuit.

Calculate the Value of a Fair Settlement

Your lawyer will also calculate your accident-related damages and may do so using:

  • Medical bills
  • A doctor’s diagnosis of your injuries
  • Medical images
  • Proof of lost income
  • Expert testimony (including about your pain and suffering)
  • Invoices for property costs
  • Any other documentation of your damages

Your attorney will prepare their calculation and documentation in advance of settlement talks.

Negotiate a Settlement

Settling is the primary goal for most truck accident attorneys. Settlements are the most cost-effective and immediate way to get compensation for clients.

Your lawyer will:

  • Present a detailed calculation of your accident-related damages
  • Present expert testimony supporting your settlement demands
  • Show proof of your damages
  • Show proof of liability for your damages
  • Make an impassioned argument in pursuit of a fair settlement

Many law firms have long track records of securing large settlements. This is one criterion you can use when choosing your lawyer.

Take Your Case to Trial

If liable parties do not offer your deserved settlement, your lawyer may take your case to trial.

Before considering going to court, though, your lawyer should:

  • Exhaust settlement negotiations and argue as hard as possible for a fair offer
  • Consider alternative settlement options like mediation
  • Review all settlement offers with their client

The client should always have the final say when settling or going to trial. Effective lawyers are transparent and honest when reviewing settlement offers with their clients.

Manage Every Other Detail of Your Truck Accident Case

Truck accident lawyers oversee every detail of their clients’ cases, including those that seem insignificant.

In addition to the duties already listed, your truck accident lawyer will:

  • Complete all case-related paperwork
  • Check all documents for accuracy and completion before submitting them
  • Lead communications with insurers, civil defense attorneys, and any other parties involved in your case
  • Review letters and other communications from insurance companies, other lawyers, and courts (and respond appropriately)
  • Help you make any statements you must provide to insurers or other parties

A lawyer will protect your rights throughout your insurance claim or lawsuit. You won’t have to worry about the status of your case with a lawyer leading the way.

What Does It Cost to Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?

When hiring a truck accident lawyer, truck accident victims face no upfront or out-of-pocket costs. This is due to contingency fees, the standard financial arrangement for accident and injury attorneys.

When a lawyer uses a contingency fee structure, they:

  • Do not ask the client for any upfront compensation
  • Sign an agreement with the client that the firm will receive a percentage of any settlement or jury award it obtains
  • Cover the entire cost of completing the case

If the law firm obtains compensation for the client, the firm receives its agreed-upon percentage. If the law firm does not obtain compensation for the client, the client pays nothing for the legal services.

With this contingency fee structure, the law firm accepts all of the financial risk associated with the truck accident case.

What Are the Most Compelling Reasons to Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?

Some of the leading reasons why truck accident victims hire truck accident lawyers include:

  • The financial support the law firm provides
  • The experience and legal training a lawyer offers
  • The mental and physical burdens that truck accident victims often face (which prevent them from handling the demands of a claim or lawsuit)

Truck accident victims should focus on their health and be with loved ones. If they hire a lawyer, an accident victim can put their well-being first.

Don’t Wait to Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer

Stewart Guss, Attorney for Truck Accident
Stewart Guss, Truck Accident Lawyer

Truck accident lawsuits generally have filing deadlines, and missing deadlines can prevent you from seeking the compensation you deserve. Do not wait to hire a personal injury attorney so they can file your case and work towards your financial recovery.