Large and difficult to maneuver, trucks are inherently dangerous vehicles. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were almost 11 million large trucks weighing over 10,000 lbs. in the United States in 2009. In the same year, these large trucks accounted for 3,215 fatal crashes, 53,000 injuries, and 239,000 accidents that resulted in property damage.
Fatal accidents involving large trucks made up 7 percent of all fatal crashes in the U.S. Given the size and weight of large trucks, accidents involving these vehicles can be catastrophic for occupants, other drivers, and pedestrians. Oftentimes, truck accidents are a result of negligence, usually on the part of either the driver or the trucking company. In cases where an individual is injured in a truck accident due to driver or trucking company negligence, legal recourse may be available to recover losses and damages.
Have you or a loved one been involved in a truck accident? If you or someone you know has been injured in a Memphis trucking accident, fill out the free case evaluation form on the right for a no-obligation, free consultation from the dedicated Memphis truck accident lawyers at Morgan & Morgan. Receiving just compensation after an accident is often a complicated and long process, so don’t hesitate to get quality legal representation and a strong team on your side.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Given the size and weight of trucks, the mistakes and negligent actions of truck drivers are amplified and can have calamitous effects on other drivers and surrounding individuals. Although there are many different kinds of commercial trucks on the road, ranging from Fed-Ex or UPS delivery trucks, to garbage or dump trucks, to tractor trailers or 18-wheelers, the causes of trucking accidents are fairly uniform.
The truck accident attorneys at Morgan & Morgan will investigate and search for evidence that proves why an accident occurred and who is liable for the damages. Listed below are some of the most common errors that we have found to cause truck accidents:
- Driver fatigue: New FMCSA hours-of-service (HOS) safety requirements for commercial truck drivers have reduced the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work during a week from 82 to 70. Despite this, driver fatigue remains one of the foremost causes of trucking accidents.
- Distracted driving: These violations include talking on a cell phone, texting, communicating over two-way radio, and others. A federal law took effect on January 1, 2012 that prohibits drivers of commercial vehicles from using handheld or push-to-talk phones (including texting) while their vehicles are on the highway, pulled over, or temporarily stopped.
- Alcohol or drug use: In 2009, alcohol was detected in the blood of 2.9 percent of large truck drivers in fatal crashes. The FMCSA has established 0.04% as the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level at or above which a commercial vehicle operator is deemed to be driving under the influence.
- Unsafe driving: These violations include improper following, inattention to other vehicles, misjudging stopping distances, failing to yield right of way, driving in a manner unfit for the weather conditions, improper lane change, and others.
- Lack of driver training: Trucks are difficult to drive, so drivers are required to undergo training and to receive a commercial drivers’ license (CDL). If companies do not require this training or negligently hire people with spotty backgrounds or inadequate qualifications, they may be held liable for accidents.
- Load problems: Sometimes the loads in trucks are not arranged or secured correctly, which may lead to load shifting, the falling of products off the vehicle, and other dangerous events.
- Vehicle defects: Sometimes vehicles are not properly maintained or inspected by the driver or the company, which can lead to faulty brakes, inadequate tires, missing reflectors, non-functioning blinkers or headlights, and others.
Trucking Accidents and Insurance
Commercial vehicles are required to carry a minimum level of liability insurance, the amount of which varies by state. In the event of an accident, this liability insurance can help pay a victim’s medical bills and other compensation. In the event that the insurance does not satisfy the victim’s needs, a lawsuit can be filed against the company and/or the truck driver to pursue additional compensation.
After a trucking accident, insurance companies move quickly to collect evidence to make their case against the victims. Oftentimes, if the driver or trucking company is at fault for the accident, the insurance company will offer a lowball settlement to victims to try to end the case before it proceeds to trial. Most serious trucking accident victims deserve more compensation than this original offer.
A skilled attorney will be able to collect phone records, blood test results, police reports, medical reports, and other evidence necessary to build a substantial case against the insurance company, thus giving you the best opportunity to collect the maximum compensation available.
How a Memphis Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
Unsafe truck driving can lead to accidents that destroy property, injure victims, and/or lead to a loss of life. Under the law, victims of trucking accidents can seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, destroyed or damaged property, and pain and suffering. As insurance companies will not waste any resources to minimize the amount of compensation they have to provide to victims, a powerful attorney advocating on behalf of the injured party goes a long way.
The Memphis truck accident lawyers at Morgan & Morgan are trusted for their experience and unique ability to litigate against insurance companies and trucking corporations to recover just compensation. Fill out the no-obligation form on the right to receive a free consultation and ensure that your legal rights are protected.