3 Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Most truck accidents involve some sort of commercial entity. For example, actor and comedian Tracy Morgan was severely injured in a 2014 accident involving a Wal-Mart truck. Morgan and his attorneys sued Wal-mart for negligence.
Specifically, they claimed that the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel because he had been awake for 24 hours straight, and that Wal-Mart was responsible for this negligence that led to the accident.
Because of the commercial nature of trucking, accidents involving semi-trucks tend to be caused by any of the following circumstances:
1. Defective Equipment or Maintenance
In an effort to save money, or perhaps by oversight, a truck’s equipment might go without inspection for quite some time. As a result, parts or systems of the truck that are essential for the truck’s safe operation like brakes and tires that are in need of maintenance or replacement can go unnoticed and unaddressed. When these fail, a truck driver may lose control of the truck, or may be unable to avoid a collision with another vehicle.
2. Driver Fatigue and Impaired Driving
A truck driver is legally limited in the number of hours he or she can drive before stopping to rest. But truck drivers can and do tire before they reach these limits. A truck driver who is tired is not able to keep his eyes or attention on the task of driving, which in turn can affect his or her ability to see hazards and react appropriately. In a similar way, drinking or using drugs affects the mental and physical abilities of truck drivers, causing them to react to hazards too slowly or in an unsafe manner.
3. Improper Training or Lack of Experience
Driving a truck safely, especially on congested highways and streets, takes a certain amount of skill and experience. Novice truck drivers or those who were inadequately trained may not know how to respond to problems that arise while driving. For instance, a hazard in the road may trigger a natural instinct to slam on the brakes, causing them to lose control of their rig.
Understanding Truck Accident Lawsuits
Regardless of the cause of the crash, a collision with a commercial truck can cause extensive damage, serious injuries or even death.
Recovering money from the trucking company for your medical expenses, lost wages, and damaged car is possible, but you need to act swiftly and prudently. Certain items of evidence such as cell phone records and data from the truck’s computer can be irretrievably lost if they are not requested quickly enough, making it difficult or impossible to prove the negligence of the truck driver. The trucking company and their insurance carrier may try and have you sign documents that can adversely impact your ability to recover damages.
A successful suit will depend on showing that the truck driver acted negligently and that his or her negligence caused the crash and your injuries. Witness statements (including your own recollection of the accident), photographs, and medical records will likely be used to show the truck driver’s responsibility. Depending upon the exact nature of the crash, accident reconstructionists or other experts may be necessary.
Contact Sutliff & Stout
If you’re ready, we encourage you to contact our Austin office to speak with one of our attorneys about your accident. Remember, you can contact us in two ways; by submitting this short contact form, or by calling our office at 512-616-2222. If you are still unsure, please take some time to review the information in our personal injury guide. We look forward to fighting for you.