Commercial trucks, tractors trailers, semis, tankers and 18-wheelers are responsible for thousands of accidents each year. Unlike smaller passenger vehicles, the large size and heavy weight of trucks makes it harder for trucks to stop suddenly or change direction. This can result in catastrophic collisions resulting in significant physical injuries and even death. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, over 5,000 individuals each year die in truck accidents throughout the United States.
Truck accidents are caused by a variety of factors ranging from driver errors and equipment malfunctions, to road conditions and industry standards, all of which may lead to a truck accident injury claim under certain circumstances.
Truck Driver Errors
When a truck driver fails to operate their vehicle with the proper care, they may be held liable for injuries caused by their negligence. Some of the most common truck driver errors that lead to truck accidents include:
- Drowsy driving and driver fatigue
- Distracted driving (texting while driving, using a cell phone when driving)
- Drifting into other lanes of traffic (including opposing traffic lanes)
- Excessive speeding
- Aggressive driving (such as tailgating, swerving in and out of traffic and road rage)
- Rear end collisions
- Failure to use traffic signals
- Improperly loaded or secured cargo
- Overloading of cargo
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (including prescription, illicit and over the counter drugs)
- Failure to properly check blind spots
Malfunctioning Truck Equipment
Large commercial trucking vehicles are sophisticated pieces of equipment that have many electrical and mechanical components. When a piece of equipment malfunctions, serious trucking accidents can occur. Common types of equipment malfunctions involve:
- Faulty steering components
- Defective brake systems
- Low tread on tires
- Transmission malfunctions
- Tire blow-outs
- Detaching of trailers
Poor Driving Conditions
Poor driving conditions can be related to weather or to the conditions of the road surface upon which trucks travel. Some of the most problematic driving conditions that can result in truck accidents include:
- Extreme weather (snow, sleet, freezing rain, high winds)
- Sun glare
- Improperly maintained roads
- Uneven road surfaces
- Debris on the road
- Construction and highway work zones
The Unique Nature of the Trucking Industry
In an industry in which truck drivers continue to earn incentives for logging excessive driving hours and arriving at destinations quicker than expected, there is an increased risk that a truck accident will occur. Many truck drivers are paid by the mile which encourages driving without adequate rest. The trucking business frequently places great physical demands on drivers with unrealistic driving schedules which can lead to driver errors due to truck driver fatigue and exhaustion.
Depending on the cause of the trucking accidents, there can be multiple parties responsible for the injuries suffered by individuals involved in a truck collision. Truck drivers and operators, truck owners, leasing companies, trucking companies, parts manufacturers, parts installers or repairers, equipment sellers and distributors, maintenance companies, road designers and even public entities face potential liability for truck accidents.
Hiring An Experienced Attorney
Accidents involving large trucks and tractor trailers can place a large amount of financial and emotional stress on truck accident victims and their families. In addition to the costs of medical treatment, drug prescriptions, and rehabilitation, individuals injured in truck accidents often have a loss of wages and earning capacity.
The injury lawyers at Grungo Colarulo understand these financial uncertainties and work to obtain the maximum amount of compensation for these injuries. Our attorneys understand the complexities of state and federal motor vehicle regulations including Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and New Jersey Department of Transportation regulations.