Causes of Truck Accidents

Injury Lawyer Helping Victims of Tractor-Trailer Crashes in Decatur and Beyond

Truck accidents can result in devastating and sometimes fatal injuries, including spinal cord damage, paralysis, crushing injuries, and amputation. Often, a truck driver is able to walk away from a collision without a scratch, but people in smaller vehicles and pedestrians may face lifelong consequences or even a wrongful death. Whether or not you can recover damages from the truck driver and others depends on what the causes of the truck accident were, among other things. If you are concerned about your options after a truck crash that you suspect was caused by someone else, you should consult Decatur truck accident attorney Greg Reeves at the Reeves Law Firm.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Due to the potential harm caused by a truck driver's failure to use reasonable care, truck drivers' conduct is heavily regulated by federal and state regulations. Interstate truck drivers need to abide by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, including rules related to hours of service, maintenance of trucks, and keeping accurate logbooks about hours worked and daily activities. Interstate trucking companies are supposed to follow complicated and substantial regulations as well. They need to conduct background checks of truck drivers, supervise their activities (including making sure that they are keeping accurate logbook records), and perform other duties mandated by the regulations to make it more likely that their truck drivers and their trucks do not pose an unreasonable risk on the road.

A truck driver can be held directly liable if his negligence causes a truck accident. To establish negligence, your injury attorney will need to show the driver’s duty toward you, a breach of duty, causation, and actual damages. All truck drivers owe a duty toward others on the road, but they can breach their duty to use reasonable care and cause an accident in many different ways.

One common cause of truck accidents is a truck driver's speeding. Truck drivers who speed may not be able to stop their trucks in time when faced with slowed or stopped traffic. When going around a curve, the truck may jackknife. Jackknifing occurs when the cab goes one direction and the trailer swings to the left or right, hitting cars and other vehicles in other lanes of traffic.

Another common cause of truck accidents is a truck driver's illicit or prescription drug use. Drugs can slow reaction times or impair judgment, such that a truck driver may not make smart decisions while reacting to unexpected road events. Sometimes a truck driver is just fatigued, but quite often, truck drivers feel pressured to push themselves to meet delivery deadlines, and in order to stay alert and deal with the pressure or to avoid taking a sick day that would cost them income, they may take drugs. Truck drivers who take drugs that impair their driving endanger everyone on the road, and they likely are violating federal and state regulations and laws. Trucking companies are supposed to conduct drug tests before hiring and conduct random drug tests in order to comply with FMCSA regulations.

Another potential cause of a truck accident is truck driver fatigue. As noted above, interstate truck drivers are supposed to comply with FMCSA hours of service rules. They are also supposed to accurately log these hours in a logbook. Unfortunately, some trucking companies turn a blind eye to inaccuracies and even encourage falsification of logbooks in order to improve profits. A truck driver who is fatigued is likely to have a slower reaction time and may not respond appropriately to situations that arise, particularly if they are in an unfamiliar area.

Another potential cause of truck accidents is truck drivers who fail to check their blind spots before they maneuver their truck. There are huge blind spots or no zones all around a truck, especially right in front of the cab for several feet, behind the trailer, and along the right side of the trailer. These spots are not visible in the rear or side mirrors. Truck drivers are supposed to turn and carefully check all sides of the vehicle. Trucking companies should ensure that truck drivers are trained in this. However, many accidents involving motorcycles or smaller cars occur because truck drivers forget their training about checking blind spots in the moment, or because they were not adequately trained in the first place.

Sometimes truck drivers are distracted. They may glance at a text, rubberneck at another accident, fail to notice a sign about construction work, or forget to use their turn signals. Distraction can result in a driver running a stop sign, failing to yield, or simply not reacting appropriately to another accident or signs that there has been a mechanical failure in the truck.

Another potential contributing cause is a truck driver's road rage. Sometimes truck drivers behave aggressively on the road, taking offense to perceived slights or racing with cars or other smaller vehicles. The result can be a devastating, even deadly accident. All truck drivers need to be aware of the potential consequences of misusing their vehicle and drive defensively, rather than aggressively. Most of the time, actions motivated by road rage will be considered negligent.

Trucking companies can be held vicariously liable for a truck driver's negligence on the job. In addition, they can be held directly liable if their own negligent hiring, negligent supervision, or negligent training of a truck driver causes a truck accident. Other potential causes of truck accidents include negligence by loaders or other third parties, road defects, and defective truck components.

Seek Guidance from a Knowledgeable Truck Crash Lawyer in Decatur

There may be many people claiming against a truck driver's insurance policy after an accident. As a result, it is crucial to retain an experienced attorney who can investigate and explore all possible avenues by which to recover damages. If you suffer injuries such as back injuries, brain injuries, burns, or broken bones in a truck accident, you should contact the Reeves Law Firm in Decatur. Greg Reeves has over 25 years of legal experience and can represent victims in Athens, Huntsville, Madison, Hartselle, and Birmingham, as well as other areas of Cullman, Lauderdale, Madison, Morgan, Lawrence, Limestone, and Jackson Counties. Contact us at 256.355.3311 or via our online form.

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