Accidents involving large trucks are becoming more and more common in the United States. This sad fact is supported by research from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the regulatory agency that issues and enforces safety rulings for commercial vehicles. The FMCSA reports that large trucks are involved in more than 333,000 accidents each year and truck accidents have increased by 20 percent in the past 20 years. Since trucks are bigger and heavier than the vehicles with which they share the road—such accidents often result in serious injuries and fatalities. Don't let yourself or your loved ones become a truck accident statistic. Read on to learn about the common causes of truck accidents, as well as what you can do if you were injured.
Driver Error Is the Most Common Cause
It may not surprise you to learn that, according to FMCSA data, driver error is the most common cause of trucking accidents. Commercial drivers who are speeding, drowsy, distracted, or under the influence of prescription or recreational drugs greatly increase their likelihood of being involved in a serious truck crash.
Improperly loaded cargo is another type of error that can result in serious accidents. When cargo is carelessly packed into a semi-trailer, the load may become unbalanced during transit, causing the big rig to tip onto its side. Poorly loaded cargo may also spill out onto the highway, endangering drivers and passengers in other vehicles.
However, commercial truckers aren't the only drivers whose mistakes can play a role in truck accidents. The drivers of passenger vehicles can also unwittingly cause accidents by driving in a truck's blind spots, passing unsafely, and changing lanes abruptly or without signaling.
Equipment Failure and Other Common Causes
Equipment failures—such as defective or worn-out tires and improperly maintained brakes—are another common cause of truck accidents in the United States. The FMCSA requires commercial drivers and trucking companies to inspect their equipment regularly, and those who fail to do so may be liable if their negligent behavior results in a serious accident.
Inclement weather is also a contributing factor in many large truck accidents, according to the FMCSA. Commercial trucks are heavy and unwieldy in the best conditions, and bad weather—such as rain, snow, or fog—can make handling the truck difficult for even a well-trained driver.
Unrealistic driving schedules set by commercial trucking companies that encourage their drivers to disregard the FMCSA's hours of service rules and drive when fatigued can also cause truck accidents.
Were You Injured in a Truck Accident?
If you were injured in a truck accident caused by commercial driver error, truck equipment failure, or an unsafe commercial driving schedule, you may be able to pursue financial damages. Truck accident victims are often able to receive compensation for their injuries, such as:
- Past and future medical bills related to injuries sustained in the accident.
- Property damage, allowing you to repair or replace your vehicle.
- Lost wages if your injuries caused you to miss work.
- Loss of earning potential if your injuries made it impossible for you to do your previous job, forcing you into a position that pays less.
- Pain and suffering.
- Incidental costs, such as transportation and lodging expenses if forced to travel out of the area for medical treatments.
However, commercial trucking companies often put up a fight to avoid accepting liability for accidents. Don't let a commercial trucking company add insult to your injury by running over you a second time. Seek the representation of a skilled personal injury attorney with experience handling truck accident cases—contact the Packard Law Firm's San Antonio law office today for a no-cost, no-obligation evaluation of your truck accident case or to request our free book, 20 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Car Wreck Case. Our family of knowledgeable attorneys is ready to help you pursue the financial recovery you deserve.