Trucking in America
Trucks have been an important part of American commerce for many years, and the network of trucks and drivers on the road at any given time is massive. As of 2022, there are nearly two million truck drivers employed in the United States, and in 2017, trucks moved 71.6 percent of all goods shipped throughout the country.
Can Fatigue Cause Truck Accidents?
Truck drivers are required to deliver their loads by a certain date and time, as stores and manufacturers depend on timely delivery to keep a schedule.
Truckers are often on the road for days or weeks at a time to make these shipments. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) limits the number of hours a trucker may drive before needing to stop to take a break, but drivers may be tempted to ignore those limits in order to meet tight deadlines imposed by their employers.
Overtiredness or fatigue can be very dangerous behind the wheel of any vehicle, but the size of a truck compared to the average passenger vehicle makes a sleepy truck driver an even greater threat.
Warning signs of truck driver fatigue include:
- Drifting between lanes
- Hitting rumble strips on the side of the road
- Nodding head
- Frequent yawning
Most 18-wheelers have sleeping areas in the cab that include a bed. Truck drivers should be encouraged by their employers to take rest breaks regularly and as needed. Otherwise, a shipping company that requires a truck driver to skip rest breaks in order to meet a deadline could be partially responsible for any accident that takes place as a result of the truck driver’s fatigue.
Truck Accidents in Bad Weather
Even passenger vehicles have trouble in the rain, snow, and wind. Tractor-trailers carrying heavy cargo tend to be even more difficult to maneuver in bad weather, as the weight distribution can make it hard to recover from spinning out on ice or being blown sideways by the wind. Brief loss of control of a large truck can carry devastating consequences for the occupants of nearby cars, as well as for the truck driver themselves.
Improperly Loaded Cargo
When a truck’s cargo is improperly loaded, it can impact the driver’s ability to control the vehicle. Specifically, unsecured or overloaded cargo can increase the risk of a truck rollover accident. The party responsible for loading and securing a shipment before its departure could bear liability for a truck accident caused by improperly loaded cargo.
Defective Truck Parts
Equipment failure can also play a role in truck accidents. For example, if an accident investigation finds that a truck’s brakes were improperly serviced, and this contributed to an otherwise avoidable accident, the party who serviced the brakes may bear responsibility for the accident. They could be the trucking company or a third-party maintenance company hired to inspect the truck.
Truck Driver Error
Driver error is one of the most common causes of trucking accidents. Truck drivers may make poor decisions behind the wheel, such as paying attention to distractions rather than the road, following other vehicles too closely, or going faster than what is considered safe. Passenger vehicles may also cause truck accidents by cutting off trucks, not allowing them to merge over, or following too closely behind a truck with a large load.
If truck driver negligence caused or contributed to your accident, get in touch with a truck accident lawyer to learn more about your options.
What Are the Consequences of a Truck Accident?
Truck accidents routinely result in totaled vehicles and injuries which leave a person out of work, sometimes indefinitely. The potential injuries resulting from a truck accident range from severe to life-changing to fatal, both for truck drivers and the occupants of other vehicles on the road. Unfortunately, most fatalities resulting from 18-wheeler crashes are people in smaller vehicles.
Truck accidents commonly cause the following injuries:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding or organ rupture
- Collapsed lungs
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Mental trauma or PTSD
These injuries can take months or years to recover from, and making a full recovery is not always possible. Whether you or a loved one were severely injured, or you lost a loved one in a trucking accident, a truck accident attorney can help. Reach out to CarAccident.Law for assistance during this difficult and confusing time.
Recovering Compensation after a Truck Accident
If you suffered injuries and losses in an accident involving an 18-wheeler, you will first need to determine whether you live in a no-fault state or an at-fault state. In a no-fault state, your first option for compensation is to file a claim through your own insurance company and include as much documentation of the truck accident and your injuries as possible. Depending on your policy, your insurance company may cover your medical care, lost wages, and the cost of repairs or replacement for your vehicle.
However, insurance will not compensate your pain and suffering or mental trauma. To pursue compensation for those damages, you would need to file a civil truck accident lawsuit and prove that another party caused or contributed to your losses. Regardless of whether you plan on pursuing a civil lawsuit, it may be beneficial to have a truck accident lawyer on your side to communicate with the insurance company for you and help you avoid accepting a low-ball settlement offer.
In an at-fault state, you have the option to sue an at-fault driver for any damages caused by their negligence. Some no-fault states like Massachusetts also allow you to sue for damages if your injuries reach a certain level severity, or if your accident damages exceed a certain monetary cost. In either case, you must prove that another party’s unreasonable behavior directly or indirectly caused you to suffer damages. There is also a deadline to file a civil action that will vary depending on the state where the truck accident took place. Connect with the truck accident lawyers of CarAccident.Law today to get started on your claims for compensation after a collision involving a semi-truck.
Learn More about Filing a Truck Accident Lawsuit
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO FILING A CAR ACCIDENT LAWSUIT
We’ve put together this guide to make filing a civil lawsuit easier. Call our attorneys for help with recovering your losses after a truck accident.