Tractor-trailer accidents are many times fatal. Many who do survive may sustain severe, disabling injuries. With the potential for significant medical expenses and lost income as a result of missing work, victims should explore options for legal recovery.
Driver Error & Tractor-Trailer Accidents
A large number of these accidents are caused by driver error, stemming from careless or reckless actions like:
- failure to check blind spot;
- driving at excessive speeds;
- impairment; and
- taking a turn too fast.
Some crashes have an increased risk of occurring when these acts of negligence are coupled with other dangers; for instance, when the trailer has been improperly loaded or the cargo isn’t secure. Tires that aren’t adequately filled with air or brake pads that are worn are other examples.
Some tractor-trailers may rollover, which increases the risk of severe injuries. This can happen when taking a sharp turn at a high rate of speed or if the center of gravity shifts because a load isn’t balanced. Meanwhile, suddenly braking can cause the semi to jackknife. This can happen when following a vehicle too closely or not paying attention to the road ahead.
Driver Fatigue Could Case Truck Accidents
Another common issue is driver fatigue. Truckers oftentimes travel long distances for extended periods of time. Despite federal laws limiting the amount of time that can be spent driving, drowsiness can still set in. Or it may be that the driver has exceeded those limitations and as a result has caused an accident.
Some trucking companies may even require or encourage truckers to drive beyond legal limits to ensure a load is delivered in a shorter period of time. This could indicate liability with the trucking company.
Equipment Problems & Commercial Truck Accidents
Another common cause of tractor-trailer accidents are equipment problems. Some are safety-related, such as with tires, brakes and steering. This could mean that whoever is responsible for the upkeep of the cab or trailer is liable for injuries. At the same time, drivers generally have a responsibility to inspect the truck before taking it to the road. So there is the potential for more than one party to be named in a claim.
It’s also possible that problems with equipment or parts is a result of a defect. In that case a manufacturer might be liable if it’s found to be a cause or contributing factor in an accident.
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice after a Tractor-Trailer Accident
Keep in mind that motor carrier companies are responsible for their drivers. So even though fault might be with the trucker, the employer can also be liable for injuries. This may result in more compensation, especially if it’s found the company violated federal laws or was otherwise negligent.
There is typically a good deal of evidence that can be gathered when injured in an accident with a tractor-trailer. In addition to a police report, photographs and eyewitness statements, the truck itself might be outfitted with an electronic onboard recording device. Data from that could help establish fault. Or there may be records that can be obtained by the motor carrier company, such as inspection reports or the trucker’s driving history.
Because of this and many other complex issues that can arise in a truck claim, contacting an attorney is a good idea. D.J. Banovitz can help, so call 303-300-5060.