The Common Causes of Accidents Involving Commercial Trucks

May 10, 2019 Truck Accident Blog

Truck Accidents and Legal Representation

Every year, over 500,000 truck accidents occur in the U.S. Researchers also estimate that a large truck accident injury or fatality will occur every 15 minutes. Many of these commercial trucks travel at highway speeds of 60 mph or more, so any kind of collision is likely to result in tragic injuries.

Commercial Truck Collisions and Risks

Accidents involving semitractor trucks tend to be more severe than standard car collisions. These trucks are not just large and heavy, but they are also carrying extremely heavy cargo. The weight of the cargo can be as much as 80,000 pounds, and the total length of the vehicle can be as much as 80 feet. In addition, it’s estimated that the equivalent of almost two entire football fields is needed for a high-speed truck to come to a full stop. Collisions may occur when the truck doesn’t have enough space to brake. This means exit ramps and merging lanes can be dangerous on even the most ordinary road conditions.

In addition, some trucks are designed to carry cargo that makes it difficult or even impossible to see all of the surrounding traffic. For example, trucks that are hauling doubles are almost completely blind on the right side. However, car drivers are rarely aware of this fact. 

Collisions with commercial trucks are likely to lead to serious injury or death. There is almost no probability of walking away from a truck collision unscathed. Since injuries can lead to major expenses in terms of health care and lost wages, it’s important to obtain professional legal representation as soon as possible. At first, the legal system can seem excessively adversarial to truck accident victims. However, a truck accident lawyer can help a victim obtain justice and fair compensation for damages.

Fighting Trucking Insurance Companies

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Determining responsibility for an accident is a key part of the fight for justice. A truck collision victim is often faced with a hostile trucking insurance company. Trucking insurance firms have a vested interest in making sure that the victim receives as little as possible. They may use unsavory tactics and coerce someone into making statements that can later be used against them in court. In many cases, a truck company’s representatives will try to get a statement immediately after the accident when the victim is most vulnerable. 

The period right after the truck accident occurs is an extremely important time. Anyone involved in a truck accident should contact a law office as soon as health allows. Legal counsel can begin to construct a legal argument on your behalf. Contact an office immediately so that a representative can protect your rights and deflect attempts by trucking insurance adjusters to undermine your legal case.

Coming Up With a Legal Strategy

Developing an effective legal strategy requires a certain kind of skill that only comes with experience. A truck accident lawyer will know how to investigate the facts of each case and collect evidence. This can include medical statements, police reports, witness testimonies, trucking logs, maintenance reports and more. Such documentation can help a truck accident lawyer develop and refine a legal strategy that could help you win your case. 

Trucking accidents are often severe, and the damages can affect the physical and mental well-being of the victim as well as their family. Lost wages are a major cause of stress when a working individual can no longer provide the same level of financial support. Only an aggressive legal team can fight adversarial trucking insurance companies seeking to minimize their liability.

Liability and the Law

Determining liability is a key part of any legal case involving a commercial vehicle. There are a variety of factors that can contribute to a collision with a commercial truck. Driver fatigue is definitely at the top of the list, but there are other events that can contribute to a collision. For example, if a company sets an unreasonable delivery schedule for a driver, they might feel pressured to drive faster than normal in order to make a deadline. Speeding combined with fatigue can be fatal on the highway. Another cause of collisions is the way a truck is loaded. Drivers usually have little control over the way the truck is loaded at the warehouse, and mistakes can cause a collision to occur. 

Inadequately maintained trucks may contribute to the events that cause a collision. For example, some trucking companies will try to save money on tires. They might refuse to repair or replace a tire that is showing dangerous signs of wear and tear. Furthermore, a vehicle suspension and steering system can be affected by poorly maintained roads. Drivers who are poorly trained might make serious mistakes while attempting to complete even basic maneuvers. This might include inadequate clearance for right-hand turns, which can put the cars in the right-hand turn lane at risk. 

Fatigue Is Another Major Issue

There are a series of events that occur during any vehicle collision, but these variables can have a more dramatic outcome when a truck is involved. For example, around 40 percent of all accidents involving a commercial truck are caused by driver fatigue. Trucking companies might share the liability because they exercise direct control over the driver. In some cases, they can exert coercive power. Some drivers are pressured into reducing the number of hours they spend in the sleeper berth. This may happen when a company is under pressure to meet delivery deadlines. In order to make more money, a company might try to convince the driver to violate hours of service rules. This is not an uncommon practice in the trucking industry, yet the majority of the public remains unaware of the safety hazard posed by fatigued truck drivers. 

Complex Legal Cases

Negligent drivers often cause multivehicle collisions with trucks. In addition to the number of people involved in the accident, there could be multiple legal entities engaged in the aftermath. The truck driver and the other vehicle drivers who were involved will all have lawyers to handle their respective cases. Trucking companies, governmental agencies and equipment manufacturers may also be involved in a lawsuit. The complexity of the case depends on how many parties are engaged and how serious the incident was. Since such cases can be extremely complicated, a truck accident victim will need a highly skilled law firm to aggressively represent his or her interests in court. 

Our Legal Firm

At Rebenack Aronow & Mascolo, our truck accident lawyers are trained to handle cases involving commercial vehicles. We strive to provide valuable legal representation in court for every client. Each case is unique, so a detailed assessment must be done to determine the best legal strategy. That’s why every case starts with an initial consultation. Our team is committed to obtaining the maximum amount of compensation for clients. This money can be used to cover medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation therapy and more. For legal assistance in a truck accident case, contact the offices of Rebenack Aronow & Mascolo. Call us at (732) 247-3600 in New Brunswick, NJ, or at (908) 448-2560 in Somerville, NJ. You can also email us at contact@ramlawnj.com.

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