Most truck accidents are caused by driver error or negligence and can be prevented by individuals taking greater care while on the roads. Fatigued and distracted driving are some of the most common causes of truck accidents typically seen in America.
Trucking companies also have a responsibility to ensure that they follow strict regulations and help prevent truck accidents by properly training their staff, ensuring safe working conditions, properly maintaining their trucks, and ensuring safe loading of their vehicles.
Passenger car drivers are in an extremely vulnerable position in crashes involving large trucks. Out of all fatal truck accidents in America in 2019, only 18% of fatalities were truck occupants. The other 82% were in other vehicles or pedestrians and bicyclists.
Passenger vehicle drivers who are involved in an accident with a semi-truck are highly vulnerable to severe injuries. Your injuries may mean you can’t work for a lengthy period, while treatment for these injuries could incur substantial medical expenses and leave you with mounting financial stress.
A truck accident can completely alter a victim’s life and place them under substantial physical and emotional stress, often through no fault of their own. A personal injury claim allows victims to regain control of their situation and seek fair compensation for their suffering.
At Abraham Watkins, we fight passionately for the rights of those injured in truck accidents, as we understand the trauma many accident victims have gone through. Utilizing over 70 years of experience, we will leave no stone unturned when it comes to securing a successful outcome and fair settlement for our clients in truck accident cases. For a free consultation with an experienced truck accident attorney, contact the legal team at Abraham Watkins today at 713-535-9319.
Can Truck Accidents Be Prevented?
Trucking accidents can be prevented through extensive commercial truck driver training and avoidance of dangerous driving behaviors such as fatigued or distracted driving.
Common factors that contribute to trucking accidents include distracted driving, driver fatigue, drug and alcohol use, inexperience, speeding, and driving in bad weather.
In addition to driver errors, other preventable causes of large truck crashes include poor truck maintenance and the overloading of trucks.
Common Causes Of Truck Accidents
Accidents involving trucks or tractor-trailers can cause life-changing injuries and even fatalities. A range of factors can contribute to truck accidents, such as poor weather conditions and road hazards, but typically driver error or negligence contributes in some way to most accidents.
Texting while driving is a frequently seen example of distracted driving. Texting can be particularly problematic because it takes the driver’s eyes off the road and their hands off the wheel. Distracted driving means that it is easy for drivers not to notice hazards and other road users, and this leads to thousands of traffic accidents every year in America. When those accidents involve trucks, the consequences can be even more severe.
Truck drivers can be more prone to distracted driving than other road users. Due to the long periods of time spent on the road, driving can get monotonous, and drivers can look to their phones, radios, or food to keep them occupied on the road.
Accidents caused by distracted driving are entirely preventable. It is essential that truck drivers take great care to concentrate on the road at all times and to take breaks when they need to.
Some truck drivers are under substantial stress and pressure from their employers to stick to their routes and meet the associated deadlines. This pressure can sometimes result in a truck driver driving longer hours and not taking the rest stops they should be, which can cause fatigued driving.
Fatigued driving can cause a momentary lapse in concentration, which is all that is needed to cause a truck accident. In more severe situations, truck drivers have fallen asleep behind the wheel, causing disastrous accidents, and severely injuring the driver and many other road users.
If the driver has been forced by their employer to work long hours and miss rest stops, the trucking company could be responsible for the accident. Fatigued driving is preventable, and it is essential that drivers are given adequate breaks and rest days.
Driving Under The Influence
If a driver is impaired by the use of drugs or alcohol, their reactions and judgment are hindered. As such, they are far more likely to have an accident, which would otherwise be entirely preventable. Driving under the influence is extremely dangerous and is a severe criminal offense in Texas. Any driver displaying negligence and driving under the influence could be found responsible for an accident they are involved in.
Poor cargo loading resulting in unsecured and uneven loads can be particularly hazardous. Trucks often carry large, heavy loads, and if this isn’t secured or properly balanced, it can be challenging for the driver to control.
In situations where a driver needs to brake or turn sharply, an unsafe load can result in the driver losing control and can cause a truck accident, endangering both the truck driver and others around them. Often the trucking company is responsible for an unsafe load, and it is essential they are held responsible for their actions.
Insufficient Driver Training
Any employer of truck drivers has a responsibility to ensure that their drivers have sufficient qualifications to drive trucks safely on the road. They are also responsible for providing drivers with any additional training required to ensure they uphold safe practices while driving.
Without this training, a driver may not be fully prepared to handle situations that arise on the road and may not be familiar with the safety precautions they must take. This lack of training could be the deciding factor between avoiding a crash and a severe truck accident.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Due to the number of miles a truck drives, regular maintenance is crucial to avoid vehicle malfunctions that could lead to an accident. Issues such as malfunctioning brakes can be disastrous and could result in an accident that causes preventable and serious injuries to many road users and pedestrians.
Who Is Responsible For My Truck Accident?
Depending on the cause of the accident, a range of individuals and entities could be responsible for the cause of the crash. Unlike passenger cars, the majority of trucks on the roads in Texas are used for commercial purposes. In accidents involving commercial trucks, not only could the drivers be responsible, but the truck company or any subcontractors could also be responsible.
In cases involving driver negligence, distracted or fatigued driving, or driving under the influence, likely the truck driver or other drivers involved in the accident displaying negligent behavior would be responsible.
A trucking company may be responsible if a driver is overworked or hasn’t received adequate training. If an equipment malfunction as a result of poor maintenance contributed to an accident, a trucking company might be responsible. If the malfunction is not due to poor maintenance, the truck manufacturer may be liable.
Some trucking companies contract other businesses to load their trucks. If this loading company has overloaded the vehicle or not loaded it correctly, which can contribute to an accident, they could be at least partially responsible.
Am I Entitled To Compensation For The Accident?
If an individual or organization’s negligence or carelessness resulted in a truck accident whereby you were injured, you have a right to claim compensation.
Unfortunately, trucking accidents often result in severe injuries that are usually worse for other drivers involved, such as those in small passenger vehicles. Most truck accidents result in injuries such as brain and spinal cord injuries or other severe injuries that can have a permanent impact on a victim’s life.
Victims can seek compensation for both financial and non-financial damages and losses they have suffered because of an accident. Damages can include current and future medical bills, lost wages and earning potential, emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and post-traumatic stress.
In a successful truck accident claim, you should be compensated for all of your medical bills and expenses, including hospital bills, medication costs, and any other expenses. An experienced truck accident lawyer will also help establish what your future medical costs will be and will fight to ensure that you are not left out of pocket in the future for related medical costs.
Following a truck accident, it is likely that you are not able to work. You should be compensated for your lost wages and the value of your future lost income if you are unable to return to work in the same capacity.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages compensate truck accident victims for the emotional and physical pain that they have suffered as a result of the accident. Truck accidents are particularly traumatic, and it is common for victims to be left with trauma or PTSD following an accident. Injuries can also cause people a lot of distress, especially if they prevent you from continuing to live your life in the same way you did before.
Pain and suffering damages are highly contentious, but with the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer, they could make up a significant percentage of your settlement.
A court may also look to award punitive damages, which aims to make an example out of the perpetrator and punish them for the wrongdoing that caused the accident. Punitive damages are often large amounts of money and can be an effective way of encouraging companies to take steps to ensure that similar accidents do not happen in the future.
How Can Commercial Truck Crashes be Prevented?
Commercial truck accidents can be prevented when individuals and corporations take greater care to keep people safe. Drivers must ensure that they follow the rules of the road and practice safe driving, and trucking companies should take care to ensure that their drivers are trained, their vehicles are safe, and they must follow regulations strictly.
If you are pursuing a truck accident personal injury claim, you may need to go head-to-head with large trucking companies and their insurance firms. Often, these companies have teams dedicated to fighting claims and aggressively negotiating settlements as low as possible.
At Abraham Watkins, our truck accident attorneys are well-versed in negotiating with these large companies in truck accident cases. We will ensure they do not dismiss your claim and unfairly reduce your compensation. We will collect compelling evidence, including police reports, witness statements, and medical records, to build a bulletproof claim that will secure you the compensation you deserve.
Truck accident injuries can change the course of a victim’s life permanently and often take extended periods of time to recover from. Compensation can support victims to access high-standard healthcare for the best possible treatment.
If you or a loved one has had your life impacted by a truck accident, a personal injury claim can help to recover some of your losses and support you on your path to recovery. Contact Abraham Watkins for a free consultation with a Texas truck accident lawyer at 713-535-9319.
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If you have additional questions about your accident or injuries – or if you wish to speak to one of our attorneys about your legal options – please complete our online contact form or call our Houston law office at 888-261-8831 or 713-244-5486.
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