Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Given the size and weight of commercial trucks – and the high speeds at which they travel on highways – collisions with large trucks are often most devastating to other motorists and passengers involved. And despite ongoing efforts to curb these accidents, they continue to cause harm. From 2016 to 2017, the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes in the United States increased 10 percent, from 4,251 to 4,657, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident, the proven personal injury lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy are here to help. We can launch a full investigation into the cause of the crash and pursue maximum compensation for your injuries. Simply complete the form on this page and our attorneys will evaluate your claim, at no cost to you, to determine your eligibility for a lawsuit.
Investigating the Cause of a Crash
When a truck accident occurs, the injured victim is not necessarily guaranteed financial compensation, even if their injuries are severe. To determine whether a survivor is eligible for monetary damages, the cause of the accident must be investigated.
Determining what caused an accident is critical in determining who was legally responsible. Liability for accidents caused by large trucks may be distributed between a number of parties, including the driver, the trucking company, mechanics who worked on the truck or even a municipality like a city or state government.
An investigation can reveal whether a motorist’s or trucking company’s negligent behavior contributed to the crash. Your legal team will examine the evidence, including:
- Records regarding the driver’s qualifications, training, hours of service and inspection history
- Documentation of the vehicle’s maintenance and inspections
- Review any Black Box, or event data recorder, information that can assist the investigation
- Photographs of the accident scene and the vehicles involved
- Data from onboard communications systems, engine control modules and other systems
- Interviews with parties or witnesses
- Police reports
This evidence will help to determine the cause of your accident and whether negligence played a role. Then your attorney will begin building your case, negotiating with the other parties and insurance companies to pursue appropriate compensation.
Common Causes of Truck Collisions
In decades of collective experience, our lawyers have found that most injuries and deaths in truck accidents result from preventable errors on the part of the trucker and their employer. Some of the most common causes of trucking accidents include:
- Truck driver fatigue: In the trucking and logistics industry, time is money. Professional drivers often face tremendous pressure to meet tight deadlines, often at the expense of their sleep schedule. A drowsy driver may fall asleep behind the wheel or suffer from poor reaction time, blurred vision and decreased judgment. To reduce the number of trucking accidents caused by fatigue, federal regulations have been enacted to limit the number of hours a driver can spend on the road. Unfortunately, some trucking companies continue to violate these hours of service regulations, putting other motorists at risk for serious injury or death.
- Distracted truck drivers: Truck drivers spend days at a time on the road and are frequently bombarded with distractions. If a commercial driver is focusing on a phone, radio or navigation system instead of the road, devastating accidents can result.
- Drugs and alcohol: During the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s 2019 International Roadcheck, 3 percent of drivers taken out of service were removed for violations involving drugs or alcohol. Operating any vehicle while under the influence is dangerous; operating a large commercial truck can be catastrophic.
- Overloaded trucks: When a truck is overloaded, the driver may have difficulty braking and controlling the vehicle. Additionally, an overloaded truck is more susceptible to jackknifing and rollovers. When a trucking company or subcontractor fails to follow regulations regarding the weight of a commercial vehicle or securing of a load, they can be held accountable for any injuries resulting from their noncompliance.
- Poorly maintained vehicles: Trucking companies are required to perform routine maintenance to ensure their vehicles are fit for operation. When a driver or their employer fails to perform maintenance as required by federal trucking law, they can be held accountable for any resulting injuries. For instance, a driver who fails to inspect or maintain their braking system can be held accountable for injuries resulting from preventable braking problems.
- Inclement weather or a defective roadway condition: Road and weather conditions, such as rain, snow, road construction activity, potholes and insufficient signage can also contribute to trucking accidents. However, even if conditions contribute to an accident, most investigations indicate some degree of negligence on part of the truck driver and/or trucking company. Any driver needs to take weather conditions into account while operating a vehicle.
‘What if I Think I May Be at Fault?’
When your vehicle collides with a large truck, your life can change in an instant. It is normal to be unsure about exactly what happened when your vehicle was hit by a truck. After a crash, many motorists worry that they may have played a part in causing the accident.
No matter what concerns you have about your role in an accident, we encourage you to speak with an attorney. Many drivers overestimate their own degree of fault, and an investigation into the crash may uncover new information. Depending on the auto insurance laws in your state, your own auto insurance may cover some of your damages regardless of fault.
Get Experienced Truck Accident Help Today
After an accident, the trucking company will spring into action to begin gathering evidence and looking for ways to undermine survivors’ claims for compensation. It is important to act as quickly as possible to protect your own interests and begin building a case for compensation. The wrongdoer will not wait to protect themselves, why should you?
At Block O’Toole & Murphy, our lawyers have successfully fought for justice and compensation on behalf of victims of tractor-trailer accidents and other catastrophic events, including a $14 million jury verdict* for a motorcyclist who suffered catastrophic injuries in a collision with a tractor-trailer.
If you or a loved one has been injured, fill out the FREE case review form on this page. You may also contact us at 212-736-5300 to arrange a free consultation with an attorney. We represent truck accident survivors on a contingency basis, which means we only collect attorney fees as a percentage of any compensation we secure for you.
Serving Manhattan, Queens, The Bronx, Brooklyn and all of New York City and New York state.
*Past results do not guarantee a similar outcome.