There are tens of thousands of commercial trucks on America’s roads and highways. As a result, every individual who travels by road will at some point be near a large commercial truck. The size and weight of these trucks, when combined with a negligent driver or vehicular malfunction, can result in tragedy. When this occurs, it is important for the victims to understand what their legal options are.
Common Trucking Accidents
Although there are many potential causes for a truck-involved accident, the most common reasons include driver fatigue, inattention and inadequate training or actions by other vehicles. Other, less common reasons for a truck-involved accident may include a shifting cargo or mechanical malfunction.
Many truck drivers must abide by strict schedules, and because of this, driver fatigue is a common cause of accidents. Fatigued drivers often make errors in judgment or are slow to react to changing road conditions. This problem can be especially serious among freelance drivers, who are usually paid by the delivery. There are federal regulations involving how many hours a truck driver can be on the road, but these regulations are often ignored by truck drivers.
Some trucking companies fail to ensure that all of their truck drivers are properly trained. Many truck drivers are not aware of proper defensive driving techniques. Even if a truck driver has a valid commercial driver’s license, he or she may not have maintained the skills needed to avoid dangerous accidents.
Actions by Other Vehicles
In some cases, an accident may be caused by another vehicle. A passenger vehicle or other commercial vehicle may enter the truck’s blind spots, leading to a collision or forcing the driver to quickly avoid the danger, potentially colliding with other vehicles on the road. If the truck driver is fatigued or improperly trained, the action he or she takes may actually make the accident worse.
Consequences of Truck-Involved Accidents
The 3 typical commercial trucking accidents are very likely to end in injury or death for the occupants of any involved passenger vehicles. In fact, 3,675 individuals died due to truck related accidents in 2010. Although truck-involved accidents remain a minority of all vehicular accidents, they are more likely to result in severe injury or death.
When an accident is caused by the negligence of the driver, his company or any other group, the victims of the accident can obtain compensation for their injuries and other losses. This compensation can include the following:
• The cost of any medical care resulting from the accident, including short and long-term care.
• Pain and suffering arising due to the accident.
• Compensation for lost wages, especially if the victims are rendered unable to work in the aftermath of the accident.
• If a family member has died due to the accident, his or her family can obtain compensation for the lost companionship of their relative.
• If the accident was due to egregious negligence or malice, the court may impose punitive damages.
Obtaining a just compensation for a truck-involved accident can be a vital part of recovering from its financial, physical and emotional consequences. Whichever one of the 3 typical commercial trucking accidents a family has suffered, obtaining effective legal assistance is vital. The law firm of Eric J. Hertz, P.C. can help the victims and their families determine what the best possible course of action will be. For this reason, anyone who has suffered from a truck-involved accident should immediately contact one of the firm’s experienced attorneys.