It only takes a split second for a semi-truck to cause a catastrophic accident. The results of these wrecks are nothing short of tragic, often leaving victims with severe physical injuries, disfigurement, limited mobility and emotional and psychological trauma. Although it can take a long time to recover from these damages, a personal injury lawsuit filed against the errant trucker who caused the accident and their employer may provide some relief.
How are truck accidents caused?
To succeed with your personal injury claim, you’re going to have to show that negligence led to your accident. Therefore, as you build your case, it’s helpful to be cognizant of the main causes of truck accidents. Here are some of them that may be relevant in your case:
- Distraction: Truckers are no different from other drivers in that they can be easily distracted by technology and roadside attention-grabbers. Cell phones, portable televisions, the radio, landmarks and even billboards can take a trucker’s eyes off the road, thereby causing a significant distance to pass without them even seeing it. This can significantly increase the risk of a serious truck accident.
- Fatigue: Many truckers are on tight deadlines. To meet them and to maximize their compensation each day, these truckers often put in long hours. Even though they’re subjected to hours-of-service regulations, they still sometimes push the limits or even ignore those requirements. A fatigued trucker can experience increased reaction time and a lack of attentiveness, both of which could put you and other motorists in danger.
- Reckless driving behavior: A trucker who speeds, tailgates, disobeys traffic signals, or tries to improperly pass another vehicle can create a hazardous situation, especially given the size of their vehicle. These rigs take a significant amount of time to come to a safe stop, which means any of these behaviors could easily result in a tragic accident.
- Intoxication: Truckers who climb behind the wheel after consuming alcohol put others in harm’s way. After all, alcohol can increase reaction time, render it difficult to multitask and gauge distance, and make it challenging for a driver to maintain their lane. As a result, an intoxicated trucker can veer into oncoming traffic, fail to reduce speed for slow or stopped traffic or change lanes into another vehicle.
- Poor maintenance: An improperly maintained truck is a dangerous truck. That’s why federal regulations require routine inspections of these rigs, including checking key systems like those pertaining to braking and steering. If a trucker and his employer fail to timely correct identified defects, the trucker could lose control of the rig out on the road.
There are, of course, other causes of truck accidents that may not readily be attributable to the trucker. Poor weather and road conditions are an example, but even here it’s worth assessing whether the trucker was acting appropriately under the conditions. If they weren’t, you may still have grounds for taking legal action.
Find accountability for your accident
Given the implications of a truck accident, you should do everything you can to find accountability and recover the compensation that you need. A personal injury lawsuit can be a great way to do that, but you’ll want to go into your case fully prepared. This means talking to witnesses, gathering evidence, and understanding the law and its application to your set of facts.
Hopefully by doing so you’ll be able to present a persuasive case that will allow you to achieve a result that is favorable for your recovery and allows you to reclaim your life.