When a truck driver engages in reckless driving, they are knowingly taking a risk despite understanding the potential consequences of their actions. The driver disregards the safety of others sharing the road, putting them in danger. Examples of recklessness include speeding, mishandling cars with respect to the weather, disobeying traffic signals, failing to use headlights, and passing vehicles improperly. The effects of reckless driving can be very severe due to the size and weight of a commercial vehicle.
Truck drivers are required to follow HOS Regulations in order to prevent sleepiness and fatigue from occurring, which could result in a severe accident. Unfortunately, drivers don’t always abide by the rules, endangering others when they continue to drive while falling asleep at the wheel. When a driver is operating a vehicle while experiencing fatigue, they are unable to concentrate on the road, their reaction time slows down, and they are incapable of making important decisions.
Truck drivers are responsible for upholding professionalism and operating their vehicle safely while traveling on the road. If a truck driver decides to operate their vehicle while intoxicated, the consequences can result in a major catastrophe. The effects of alcohol, medication, and non-medicinal drugs can cause slurred speech, drowsiness, confusion, and reduced hand-eye coordination. The driver’s judgement is affected and their reflexes may be slowed, increasing their chances of triggering an accident involving multiple injuries or even fatalities.
Distracted drivers jeopardize the safety of everyone else on the road, and people don't realize that looking away for even a second is enough to cause an accident. Some culprits of distracted driving include texting, eating and drinking, reaching for an object, and even changing the radio station. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs also compromises public safety. The negligence of a truck driver can result in devastating consequences.
Speeding is dangerous alone, and those dangers are only heightened when accounting for the increased size of commercial vehicles. Truck drivers on tight timelines can show speeding, aggressive driving, and the over-taking of smaller cars, which often results in people running their cars off the road to avoid truck crashes. Failing to slow down in poor weather conditions, when entering a curve, and more can result in a serious accident, causing severe injuries and even fatalities.
Improper cargo loading06
Employees of cargo-carrying trucks are responsible for the proper loading of any truck. Additionally, workers and drivers should be checking the load for movement at every rest stop to ensure everything is secure. They should also follow the rules of the road and not engage in reckless or distracted driving. Unfortunately, time constraints and lack of training tend to debase these responsibilities, causing cargo shifting, spilled loads, and improper weight distribution hazards.
It is not uncommon for a truck driver to cause an accident because of their own human error. Truck operators often face many challenges with demanding requests and schedules, the stress of which increases the likelihood of human error on the road. Fatigue can result in a loss of coordination, concentration, and even falling asleep at the wheel – all of which can have devastating consequences for other drivers who are sharing the road.
Aggressive driving occurs when the operator of a vehicle engages in dangerous driving behaviors. Truck drivers who drive aggressively threaten the safety of other drivers on the road as well as themselves. Examples of aggressive driving include tailgating, speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, frequent lane changes, cutting off drivers, failing to use turn signals, failing to yield, and disobeying traffic signs. This type of behavior can result in serious, even fatal accidents, especially given the size of commercial vehicles.
Texting and Driving09
When truck drivers make the decision to text and drive, they are knowingly endangering other motorists, pedestrians, and themselves. Diverting attention from the road for even a second can lead to an accident, causing major injuries or even death. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has made it illegal for truck drivers to text while operating a commercial vehicle. Violating this rule can result in heavy fines as well as driver disqualification.
Defective Car Parts010
Carelessness is not always the reason behind an accident. It is possible for car parts to be defective due to the way they were manufactured or because of a lack of maintenance. When a part of a truck does not function as it should, the consequences can be severe. Accidents due to defective parts can be caused by a compromised brake system, worn down tires, windshield wiper failure, steering mechanism failure, and more.
Truck drivers are required to have their vehicles inspected and should not continue to operate their vehicle if a mechanical issue is found. Some drivers fail to comply with regulations, putting others at risk of a potential accident. Common mechanical malfunctions include broken headlights and taillights, steering failure, transmission failure, and faulty brakes. In the event of an accident, liability may fall under the driver, the driver’s company, or the manufacturer of the vehicle.
Road hazards can pose a serious threat to truck drivers, causing them to swerve or lose control of their vehicle, which can result in an accident or collision. Common road hazards include rough roads, potholes, debris, animals, pedestrians, cyclists, materials left behind from a construction zone, poor weather conditions, and more. While focusing attention on the road may help prevent an accident, sometimes hazards appear unexpectedly. Different entities can be responsible for an accident occurring depending on the type of hazard that was involved.
Unfamiliarity With Railway013
Unfortunately, collisions can occur between truck drivers and trains. Oftentimes, these accidents result from distracted and reckless driving. Truck drivers may have failed to recognize train signaling, failed to stop before driving through a railroad crossing, and attempted to speed in order to avoid waiting for an oncoming train to pass. Though rare, collisions between trucks and trains nearly always result in fatalities, due to the speeds of both trains and vehicles, the size and weight of trains, and number of people involved.
Unforeseen medical emergencies can happen while a truck driver is operating a commercial vehicle, which can put them in danger of being involved in an accident, causing harm not only to themselves, but also to others who are traveling. Under the sudden emergency medical defense observed by most states, truck drivers who have suffered an unexpected medical emergency may not be responsible in the event of an accident due to their lack of control. Common medical emergencies include heart attack, seizure, unconsciousness, and more.
In order to obtain a commercial driver’s license, an individual must pass a DOT (Department of Transportation) physical examination. A truck driver must be able to operate a vehicle safely under the conditions of their medical disability and adhere to all the state traffic laws and regulations. In the event of a car accident of any kind, a truck driver may not use their disability as a defense to avoid liability, unlike a sudden medical emergency.
When passing another vehicle, it is important to make sure you can complete the maneuver safely. There must be an adequate amount of space to do so, and a driver must use their turn signal while adhering to other traffic rules in order to avoid compromising the safety of the driver they are intending to pass. Unsafe passing accidents are often the result of another’s driver’s negligence, which includes speeding, reckless driving, and aggressive driving.
Driving Between Large Trucks017
When driving between large trucks, it is important to pay close attention to the road. Commercial vehicles are large in size and weigh substantially more than a motor vehicle. If an accident were to take place, the damages could prove to be devastating. It is important to adhere to traffic laws, avoiding any form of distracted driving, reckless driving, and aggressive driving. Drivers should refrain from driving in a truck’s blindspot, as a truck operator may not see them and merge into their lane, causing a collision.
Changing Lanes Abruptly in Front of a Truck018
Changing lanes in front of a truck can result in a serious collision, causing severe injuries or worse. It is important for motorists to keep a good (and safe) distance from truck drivers when making a lane change, as it is more difficult for truck drivers to slow down. This is evident in situations where there is heavy traffic and a motor vehicle cuts off a truck, leaving the driver with little to no space to stop.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance019
Especially in big companies, trucks may be poorly maintained due to the cost involved with checking conditions on an annual basis. Vehicles not properly inspected for repairs or up-keep are commonplace. Truck drivers often have a lack of training hours and unmet minimum requirements, making them unlikely to notice warning signs of different mechanical issues. Poorly maintained trucks may have worn out tires, experience brake failure, have broken headlights, and more.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for enforcing mechanical, safety, and emergency equipment condition checks across commercial vehicles. Truck drivers must comply with regulations set out by the FMCSA, making sure their vehicle is in good condition to operate safely. Despite these checks, trucks often face equipment failure. Danger is heightened during situations where there are bad weather conditions, or around drivers who overestimate the steering, acceleration, and braking capabilities of trucks.
When the driver of a vehicle loses control of the trailer or load they are towing, "jackknifing" may occur. Jackknifing refers to the forward movement of the vehicle while the trailer swings radically, forming an "L" or "V" shape with the vehicle. In the event of a jackknifing scenario, the trailer may swing into surrounding lanes and cause accidents. Common reasons for jackknifing include speeding, abrupt turns, and poor brakes. Inclement weather conditions can also increase the risk of jackknifing.
Truck rollover accidents are extremely devastating and can result in traumatic injuries and fatalities among the driver, other passenger vehicles, motorcyclists, and bicyclists on the road, and even pedestrians. Common causes of truck rollover accidents include improper loading of cargo, excessive amount of weight, uneven weight, cargo spills, speeding, distracted driving, fatigue, driving while under the influence, poor commercial vehicle maintenance, defects due to truck manufacturer negligence, and dangerous road conditions.
Blowouts occur when a tire bursts or explodes. When this happens, it is possible for the driver to lose control of their vehicle, debris from the tire can pose as a road hazard for other drivers, and the truck could possibly rollover – all of which can result in severe injuries or fatalities. Signs that a tire may blowout include shedding, bulges, and vibration while driving. In most instances, tire blowout accidents can be prevented with proper truck maintenance inspections and repairs.
Due to their size, trucks require a sufficient amount of space in order to complete a turn without compromising the safety of others. Although they are trained to operate such large vehicles, truck drivers can collide with other passenger vehicles when attempting to make left and right hand turns. Signs of negligence while performing a wide turn include failure to check blind spots, failure to use turn signals, and lack of judgement when determining if it is safe to turn.
Blind spots make it difficult for truck drivers to see those traveling next to them. This is also true for motorcycles, cyclists, and pedestrians. Common blind spots include in front of the truck’s cab, on the left and the right of the trailer, and the back. When a truck driver experiences reduced visibility, an accident is not uncommon. Truck drivers need to drive responsibly, being aware of their surroundings. Other drivers should avoid tailgating and driving in those blind spots.
A rear-end collision occurs when one vehicle crashes into the back of another vehicle. Trucks can often rear-end another passenger vehicle if that driver fails to change lanes safely or completes an unsafe pass in a high traffic area, providing the truck driver with no time to stop. However, truck drivers can drive negligently, which can include engaging in unsafe driving behaviors such as speeding, texting, eating, mishandling the road in regard to weather conditions, or mechanical failure.
Before a truck driver begins a trip, they must follow the regulations set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which includes performing a thorough inspection to ensure that the cargo is properly loaded, distributed, and secure. When a load is not secure, catastrophe can strike. The cargo can spill or fall into oncoming traffic, resulting in serious injuries or even wrongful death of drivers and passengers traveling close by.
Head-on collisions are the aftereffect of the front of two vehicles crashing into one another while driving in opposite directions. The impact of a truck colliding with a passenger vehicle can cause serious damage and traumatic injuries that can even prove to be fatal. Head-on accidents are often consequences of distracted driving, fatigue, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, poor weather conditions, making too wide of a turn, road hazards, and more.
Call 911 (if emergency)01
If you are involved in a truck accident, it is important to call 911 as soon as possible. Depending on the severity and number of vehicles involved, first responders may arrive at the scene. In serious cases, victims may need to be extricated from their vehicles. Parties involved can be assessed and given any necessary medical treatment. Officers can assist in gathering information regarding the accident as well as redirect traffic if needed.
Seek Medical Care (if needed)02
Even if you feel fine or leave the scene unscathed, it is best to receive medical attention following a truck accident to ensure no injuries were sustained. For those affected immediately by the impact of a truck accident, seeking medical treatment is essential and should be done promptly. If you are a victim of an accident and cannot call for help, a bystander or the driver of another passenger vehicle can be of assistance.
Exchange Insurance Information03
Following a truck accident, the parties involved are responsible for exchanging insurance information in order to file a report with their insurance company. Most states require drivers to purchase auto insurance coverage. Every driver should be carrying an insurance card which contains the name of the insured, their address, the insurance company and policy number, the make, model, and year of the vehicle, vehicle identification number, and the date the policy went into effect as well as the expiration.
Photos of Scene04
If you have the opportunity, it is important to take photos of the scene of the accident as well as the surrounding areas. Capture any damage to vehicles involved, any hazards that may have contributed to the crash, the conditions of the road, the weather, and any traffic signs that are visible. It is important to provide your insurance company with visual evidence if possible because it can help your defense against the truck driver’s company, allowing you to receive fair compensation for any damages and injuries.
Identity and Contact Information of Witnesses05
In accidents involving commercial vehicles, witnesses, which includes other passenger vehicles, can be extremely valuable. They can advocate on your behalf, sharing what they saw occur with you as well as your insurance company when you report the accident. Determining fault is not always easily done. It can sometimes be complicated and truck driver’s often have a strong defense, so it is important to get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses present.
To best protect your legal interests following a truck accident, it is important to document what happened. This information is essential for your insurance company. Including as many details as possible can potentially help you toward a favorable outcome. Significant details to take note of include the date and time of the accident, location, parties involved in the collision, numbers and names of witnesses, vehicle damage, injuries, road conditions, and weather conditions.
Report the Accident07
Once you have gathered all necessary information and documented the accident, the next step is to file a claim with your insurance company. During this time, seeking legal help from a personal injury lawyer who specializes in truck accident cases is highly recommended. Truck accident cases are extremely complex and proving negligence can be difficult. A truck accident lawyer can guide you through the process and work hard to make sure you receive fair compensation.
Call Davis Law Group08
When you are ready to receive legal help for your accident, it is important to call the experienced and knowledgeable truck accident lawyers at Davis Law Group. We make it our priority to eliminate the stress that comes with navigating truck accident cases. Our attorneys will stand by your side throughout the entire process, ensuring that you are granted the financial compensation and justice that you deserve for your pain and suffering.
What should I do if I’m involved in a truck accident?
Emergency medical care and working with first responders is essential in devastating crashes. In less serious cases, you should take pictures and record information about the weather conditions, road conditions, driver, truck company, and witnesses. Receive medical care as necessary, and then bring all documentation to a lawyer as soon as possible.
What can I receive compensation for?
You may be eligible for compensation due to pain and suffering, reasonable and necessary medical expenses, loss of past and future wages, and vehicle damage. Lawyers are necessary for determining exactly what you’re eligible for based on the insurance status of both parties, the state where the accident happened, and more.
What if the accident was my fault?
If you believe you’re at fault for a truck accident, it is still in your best interest to contact a personal injury attorney who has experience handling truck accident cases. An attorney can provide you with legal direction and protect your rights in the event that a lawsuit occurs.
Do I need a lawyer if the accident wasn’t my fault?
The truck driver’s company will do everything in their power to avoid liability, even if they may have been at fault. You will need a team of expert attorneys on your side to fight for you and provide you with the legal support you need to receive the best possible outcome.
Should I accept a settlement?
If you are offered a settlement by an insurance company, you do not have to accept. There is a possibility that you are not being fairly compensated. Truck accidents can be catastrophic, causing serious damage, injuries, and even fatalities. Insurance companies may offer you less in order to maximize their own profits.
Should I get medical attention even if I feel ok?
Following a truck accident, getting properly assessed by a medical professional is important, even if you don’t notice any visible injuries. It is possible that you may experience whiplash or feel the effects of other accident-related injuries days later. Delaying medical attention can affect your insurance claim as well.
Should I still hire a lawyer for a minor accident?
While hiring a lawyer is not required, it may be beneficial. Although the accident may have been minor, the damages can still be costly and determining liability can be complicated. Hiring a lawyer for your truck accident can help reduce stress and give you the financial compensation you deserve.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit for personal injuries/property damage?
After a truck accident, a driver who wishes to file a lawsuit for personal injuries and property damage must do so within a certain amount of time. Under a statute of limitations, the state of Texas gives people the opportunity to file within two years of the date in which the accident occurred.
Will I have to go to court?
When pursuing a truck accident lawsuit, there is a possibility you may go to trial. Most lawsuits are able to be resolved beforehand, however in some cases, a settlement may not be agreed upon or liability may not be established, resulting in the need for court involvement.
How long will it take to resolve my case?
Truck accidents tend to be more severe. Resolving a truck accident case typically takes more time than a regular car accident lawsuit. However, a long lawsuit isn’t necessarily a bad one; insurance companies may rush you into settling, which can negatively impact your compensation for ongoing pain and treatment.
Why do I need a lawyer?
Lawsuits become increasingly intricate when the list of involved parties extends to insurance companies, trucking companies, contractors, employers, vehicle manufacturers, and government entities. Hiring a lawyer is necessary for getting the settlement you deserve. Especially in cases of death or severe injury, a lawyer can lessen the burden of an accident, so you can recover.