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How Common Are Truck Accidents and Crashes?

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Truck accidents are often catastrophic for the victims involved. They are some of the most dangerous types of collisions on the road, involving trucks that can weigh more than 80,000 pounds – about 20 times more than the average passenger car. Truck accidents, injuries, and deaths are almost always preventable. Yet every year, thousands of people lose their lives and suffer life-changing injuries in accidents with commercial trucks. Talk to a Dallas truck accident lawyer if you have been injured in a semi truck-related accident.

How Often Do Truck Accidents Occur?

Truck accident facts from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration state that close to 4,700 large trucks had involvement in fatal accidents in 2017. This was a 10% increase from 4,251 trucks in 2016. In addition, 107,000 injury crashes and 363,000 property-damage-only accidents involved big rigs in 2017. Most fatal truck accidents occurred in rural areas (57%) and interstate highways (27%). Thirty-five percent (35%) occurred at night.

Truck accidents involved hazardous materials in 3% of fatal large truck crashes and 2% of nonfatal crashes in 2017. The first harmful event in the majority of fatal truck accidents (74%) in 2017 was the collision with a vehicle in transport. Rollover was the first event in 4% of fatal truck accidents. About 5% of truck drivers involved in fatal accidents (252 total drivers) tested positive for drugs.

Statistics for 2018 from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety state that 4,136 victims lost their lives in collisions with large trucks. The majority (67%) of these deaths were passenger vehicle occupants, while 16% were truck occupants and 15% were motorcyclists, bicyclists or pedestrians. Sixty-two percent (62%) of accidents that killed large truck occupants involved other large trucks, in multiple-vehicle crashes. In 2018, 11% of all traffic fatalities involved large trucks.

Why They Happen

Truck accidents occur more often than most drivers realize. It is a common assumption that large trucks are safe due to federal regulations. In reality, however, many trucking companies cut corners to save time and money on transports. People die every day in preventable commercial trucking accidents, including rollovers, jackknife accidents, rear-end collisions, underride accidents, and head-on collisions. Most of these accidents stem from the same few causes.

  • Speeding was the most common driver-related cause of fatal truck accidents in 2017. Speeding can refer to driving faster than the speed limit or too fast for conditions. If it is raining or snowing, for example, a truck driver may need to slow down to below the speed limit.
  • Distraction/inattention. Driver distraction or inattention was the second most common driver-related crash cause. Driver distractions often include cellphones, food and drink, the radio, passengers, personal grooming, and things happening outside the cab.
  • Drug and alcohol involvement was the third leading cause of fatal truck accidents in 2017. Impaired truck drivers may be unable to safely control their rigs, leading to catastrophic collisions.
  • Truck defects. A truck defect can refer to manufacturing mistakes – such as bad brakes – maintenance errors or cargo loading issues. It is a trucking company’s responsibility to properly load and maintain its trucks. Failure to do so can contribute to tire blowouts, lost cargo loads, rollover accidents and other problems.
  • Dangerous roads. Some fatal truck accidents start with a roadway hazard or defect, such as a pothole, uneven shoulder, dangerously designed road, malfunctioning traffic light or obscured stop sign. It is the city’s responsibility to adequately maintain its roads and highways.

Recognizing why truck accidents and crashes happen can help drivers avoid the most common risks and potentially prevent collisions. Trucking companies and their drivers cause many collisions, while others stem from mistakes on the passenger vehicle driver’s part. Either way, most truck accidents are preventable. After a serious truck accident that causes injuries or deaths, the at-fault party may be liable for victims’ damages.

Posted by admin at 6:22 pm

How to Tell If a Truck Driver Is Driving Recklessly?

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Truck drivers have a legal duty to drive safely and prudently. They must obey stringent federal laws in terms of truck inspections, cargo loading, braking techniques, rest breaks and more. Breaching any of these rules or regulations, either negligently or intentionally, could cause a deadly truck accident. In 2017, fatal accidents in the U.S. involved 4,657 large trucks. Keeping an eye out for reckless truck drivers in Texas could help you avoid a serious accident. Always keep your distance from a reckless trucker and call 911 to report the issue if you see the warning signs. If you were the victim of a big rig accident, speak to a Dallas truck accident attorney to learn about your options.

Speeding

No commercial truck should ever exceed the posted speed limits in Texas. Speed limits vary state to state but should be clearly posted alongside the roadway. Some highways have different maximum speeds for passenger cars and commercial trucks. Texas has some of the highest speed limits for truckers (up to 85 miles per hour), but truck drivers should still not exceed a speed that is reasonable and prudent for driving conditions. This may mean slowing down considerably lower than the posted limits in bad weather. A speeding truck driver may be engaging in this dangerous practice due to road rage or to meet a tight deadline. There is no excuse, however, for reckless truck driving.

Tailgating

It is extremely dangerous for a commercial big rig to tailgate or ride close to the bumpers of other vehicles. Large trucks require more time to come to complete stops than smaller passenger cars, increasing the risk of rear-end collisions. Prudent truck drivers remain a safe distance away from the vehicles they are following to prevent these accidents.

When a big rig crashes into the back of a smaller vehicle, the collision can be fatal for the occupants in the car. The big rig’s tires may ride up over the back of the passenger car (an override accident) in a way that crushes the vehicle and the passengers inside. If not, the impact could crush the smaller vehicle or send it colliding into other cars or careening into oncoming traffic. If you see a truck driver tailgating another driver, this is a reckless driving behavior that could cause a fatal accident.

Improper Passing

Unsafe lane changes are a significant cause of fatal truck accidents. It is a truck driver’s responsibility to safely and prudently switch lanes when it is safe to do so, only after signaling the intent to merge and waiting until the lane is clear. No Zones (significant blind spots) can make it difficult for a truck driver to tell whether a lane is clear before merging. Truck drivers must take extra caution while keeping this fact in mind.

If you notice a large truck weaving between lanes of traffic, changing lanes excessively, passing people using the shoulder of the road, honking to force other drivers out of its way, cutting other drivers off or merging on top of other vehicles, the driver is guilty of reckless driving. These are reckless driving behaviors that could lead to a serious sideswipe accident, underride collision or override collision.

Red-Light Running

Violating any traffic law is a sign of reckless driving in a trucker. One of the most common signs of a bad or dangerous truck driver is red-light running. If you see a trucker run a red light or roll through a stop sign, you have witnessed reckless driving. Make a note of the trucking company’s name and the registration number of the truck (posted on all truck cabs). Call the trucking company to issue a complaint about a dangerous driver. If the reckless truck driver appears to be putting other people’s lives in danger, call 911 to report the incident as well. Hire an attorney to help you prove your case if you get into a crash with a truck driver you suspect of reckless driving.

Posted by admin at 5:25 pm

Who Is Held Accountable for a Commercial Truck Accident?

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Serious and fatal commercial truck accidents occur every day. Although trucking companies and their drivers have dozens of strict federal safety laws to follow, mistakes and accidents still happen. In 2017, 4,657 fatal traffic accidents around the U.S. involved large trucks. Holding someone accountable for a commercial truck accident could result in change on an institutional level. A lawsuit could force a truck company to enhance its safety measures with help of a Dallas truck accident attorney. It could also lead to a compensatory award for injured victims. Identifying the defendant, however, is not always easy.

The Truck Driver

It was more common in the past for injured truck accident victims to hold at-fault truck drivers individually liable for damages. Most truck drivers work as independent contractors, not employees. Under previous federal law, a victim could hold a truck driver individually liable for damages if that driver was negligent, distracted, drunk, careless, reckless or otherwise responsible for causing the truck accident.

Today, however, most trucking companies will be vicariously responsible for their truck drivers, even as independent contractors, if they were on duty at the time of the crash. A truck driver may be independently liable, or liable through his or her own insurance company, if the driver was not on duty at the time of the accident.

The Truck Company

Current law upholds respondent superior, the common law doctrine of agency, in most truck accident claims. This law, also known as vicarious liability, states that responsibility for the acts of a subordinate (e.g. an employee) will go to the superior (e.g. an employer). In other words, a company will be responsible for the actions of its on-duty employees. Although most truck drivers are independent contractors, the trucking company that hired the driver will still be vicariously responsible under federal law if the crash occurred within the driver’s scope of employment. Scope of employment depends on several factors.

  • The time and place of the accident
  • The type of work the driver was performing at the time
  • Acts the employer reasonably expected the driver to perform
  • The amount of freedom the employee had at work
  • Whether the driver was engaged in a personal activity

In most cases, if a truck driver causes an accident through texting and driving, breaching the hours of service regulations, drunk driving, drowsy driving, speeding, making an unsafe lane change, or through other means, the truck company will be accountable. The truck company could also be responsible for an accident if it caused or contributed to the crash on a company level. Examples include hiring an unsafe truck driver, failing to conduct drug/alcohol tests and inadequately maintaining its trucks.

A Product Manufacturer or Distributor

A trucking accident could come down to product manufacturer liability if a defective or dangerous vehicle part contributed to the crash. Examples include defective brakes, tires, accelerators, ignition switches, seat belts, airbags and steering columns. Most product liability claims do not require proof of negligence for the victim to obtain compensation. It is generally enough to prove that the auto part had a defect and that this is what caused the crash.

Multiple Defendants

Some truck accident claims involve the liability of multiple parties, not just the company or the driver. Other liable parties could include a cargo loading company, the owner of the commercial truck, a property owner or a government entity. If more than one party shares fault for the truck accident, all could be jointly and severally liable for damages. Each party may be equally responsible for paying for all the victim’s damages or only responsible for the portion of damages he or she caused. For example, a truck company could be partially liable for a drowsy driver, but a product manufacturer could share responsibility for defective brakes. A truck accident lawyer can help a victim determine the identity of the defendant(s).

Posted by admin at 4:21 pm

Can Semi-Truck Accidents Cause Spine Injuries?

Friday, October 25, 2019

Spine injuries are some of the most life-altering injuries victims can suffer in auto accidents. A serious spinal cord injury could cause permanent damage, such as the inability to feel or move below the point of injury. The catastrophic nature of most semi-truck accidents in Dallas can easily lead to injuries to the spine, back and neck. A spine injury from a semi-truck accident could change a victim’s life forever.

Types of Spine Injuries Common in Truck Accidents

Three main sections comprise the spine. From top to bottom, they are the cervical spine, thoracic spine and lumbar spine. Below the lumbar spine is the sacrum, a bone that is part of the pelvis. In general, the higher up the injury is on the spine, the more extensive the effects will be on the patient. Any type of spinal cord injury, however, is serious.

  • Incomplete spine injury. An incomplete spine injury means the damaging object or element only partially severed the spine, leaving the victim with partial movement and feeling.
  • Complete spine injury. A complete spine injury is the total severance of the spine, resulting in the permanent loss of feeling and function below the point of injury.
  • The condition of paralysis often arises from complete spine injuries. Severe damage to the spine could cause paraplegia, quadriplegia or triplegia. Patients generally cannot recover from paralysis, although with treatments they may restore some function.

Other types of spinal cord injuries include anterior cord syndrome, central cord syndrome and Brown-Sequard syndrome. These are forms of incomplete spinal cord injuries that can impact a patient’s abilities to various degrees. Complete spinal cord injuries, however, are those that cause paralysis. A semi-truck accident could cause these types of spine injuries and other back injuries, such as slipped or herniated disks, through the forces exerted on the victim.

How Do Truck Accidents Injure the Spine?

The spinal cord contains many delicate bones, called vertebrae, along with surrounding nerves and tendons. Between the vertebrae are cushions, or spinal disks, that help make movement in the spine more comfortable. In a trucking accident, the forces exerted on the spine could temporarily or permanently injure any of its components. When a large and heavy semi-truck collides with a smaller vehicle, the occupants of the latter can suffer significant damages.

The force of the crash could throw the victim’s body against a seat belt, airbag, windshield or other objects – possibly injuring the spine. Objects flying through the air, such as twisted metal, in a collision could also penetrate the spine or damage its tissues. The forces of a truck accident could cause spinal cord fractures, tissue tears, displaced disks, whiplash and other serious spinal cord injuries.

Who Is Liable?

A spine injury from a semi-truck accident in Texas could change a victim’s life forever. The least a patient in this situation deserves is to go up against the at-fault party in pursuit of justice and financial compensation, if someone else negligently caused the collision. In most semi-truck accident cases, the trucking company will serve as the defendant. A trucking company could be liable for a victim’s spine injury for many acts of negligence.

  • Inadequate truck maintenance
  • Negligent hiring or training practices
  • Pressuring drivers to meet deadlines
  • Breaking federal laws
  • Dangerous load securement

The trucking company will also be responsible for the actions and inadequacies of its drivers. If a negligent or reckless truck driver caused the spinal cord injury, therefore, the trucking company could be vicariously liable. Another potentially liable party could be a product manufacturer if a defective seat belt or a different vehicle part caused the spine injury. A Dallas spinal cord injury lawyer can help truck accident victims recognize whether or not someone else is liable for damages after a serious spinal cord injury.

Posted by admin at 8:36 pm

Could You Report a Reckless Semi Truck Driver?

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Semi truck drivers have high standards of care they must obey behind the wheel. Like other drivers, they must follow roadway rules and speed limits. They must also meet federal guidelines for safe and prudent driving. A negligent, careless or reckless semi truck driver could endanger everyone else on the road. If you notice reckless driving behaviors from a truck driver in Dallas, report the driver to the authorities. Reporting a reckless semi truck driver or unsafe rig could prevent a catastrophic truck accident. If you have been hurt by a careless big rig driver speak to a Dallas truck accident lawyer.

How to Report a Truck Driver for Endangerment or Reckless/Dangerous Driving

Reckless driving exceeds the parameters of negligent driving. Driver negligence is unintentional. A truck driver may not notice he or she is exceeding the speed limit or not paying enough attention to the road. Reckless driving, on the other hand, demonstrates a marked lack of regard for the consequences of the driver’s actions. A reckless truck driver shows a wanton disregard for the safety of others. Reckless or dangerous driving can include texting and driving, tailgating, excessive speeding, weaving through traffic or illegal passing.

Reckless endangerment is even more serious than reckless driving. It is when a truck driver engages in conduct that creates a significant risk of serious injuries or death to others. Reckless endangerment is a crime in Texas and most other states. Examples of reckless endangerment by a truck driver can vary from driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol to operating a truck without being qualified to do so. As a motor vehicle driver, if you notice a truck driver that may be guilty of reckless driving or reckless endangerment, you can report the driver to the authorities.

If the truck driver appears to be putting other people’s lives in danger, call 911 to report a safety emergency. Keep your distance while you describe the situation and give the police information such as the truck’s license plate number. If it is a nonemergency situation, contact the Department of Transportation (DOT) directly. You may complain online or over the phone at (855) 368-4200. The DOT can send officers to detain the truck driver or otherwise investigate the situation. Reporting a reckless truck driver could prevent a serious or deadly accident in Dallas.

Preventing Semi Truck Accidents

It is largely up to the trucking company and its drivers to prevent semi truck accidents. They are the parties responsible for ensuring the safety of its big rigs, as well as its drivers and other employees. A trucking company must follow strict standards of care during procedures such as hiring drivers, training them and testing for drugs. The trucking company is also in charge of fleet maintenance and repairs. Any breaches of duty within these standards could contribute to a semi truck accident.

As a passenger vehicle driver, you could also have the power to prevent a semi truck accident. Stay alert and pay attention while driving around Dallas. A truck driver could exhibit signs of negligent or reckless driving prior to causing an accident. If you notice a truck driver drifting between lanes, weaving through traffic, speeding, ignoring roadway rules, falling asleep behind the wheel or otherwise driving recklessly, report him or her to the correct authorities. You may be the reason the police revoke the driver’s commercial license or penalize the trucking company, taking the dangerous truck or driver off the road.

You should also report any noticeable equipment or truck maintenance problems. If the truck appears in a state of disrepair, with worn-out tires, for example, report what you see to the DOT. Give the truck number during your phone call to help the DOT track down the correct semi truck. Unsafe equipment or a truck in poor condition could ultimately cause an accident. Poorly maintained big rigs or reckless drivers always bear reporting in Texas. Talk to a Dallas personal injury lawyer if you have been endangered or hurt by a reckless driver.

Posted by admin at 4:06 pm

How Many Hours Are Truck Drivers Legally Allowed to Drive?

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Commercial truck drivers have special rules and laws they must obey. Since they control vehicles that can exceed 80,000 pounds for a living, they must respect these rules for the safety of everyone on the roadway. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issues these rules for all truck companies and drivers in the country to follow. One of these rules limits the hours of service a truck driver may legally work at a time before taking a break. The hours of service rule aims to reduce the risk of drowsy driving.

FMCSA Hours of Service Regulations

A tired driver is a risk to everyone on the road. Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk or impaired driving. Truck drivers are more at risk of drowsy driving than typical motorists for several reasons: they drive alone for long hours, often work nights, have to sleep on the road and may suffer from sleep apnea. For this reason, the FMCSA enforces strict hours of service regulations.

  • Work vs. duty periods. Work according to the FMCSA is a workweek, while duty period is a workday. Since many truck drivers do not work conventional 9:00 to 5:00 hours, the FMSCA bases its regulations on actual hours worked rather than days or hours of the week.
  • Seven-day work period. Truck drivers may work seven days in a row but cannot work more than 60 hours on duty in those seven days. If they do work seven consecutive days, they must break for at least 34 consecutive hours before beginning another seven-day work period.
  • 14-hour duty period. The maximum duty period for a truck driver is 14 hours. Within this period, a driver may only drive for 11 hours. After 8 hours, the driver must take a 30-minute break. After 14 hours, the driver must take a 10-hour break before another duty period.
  • Rest breaks. A commercial driver may only drive if 8 hours or less have passed since the last 30-minute break. A rest break can refer to time off-duty or in the truck’s sleeper berth.

If a truck driver starts his workday at 6:00 a.m., he must take at least a 30-minute break at 2:00 p.m., after 8 hours on duty. Then, he may drive another three hours with or without additional breaks. Once the trucker reaches 11 driving hours and/or 14 total hours on duty, he must stop and sleep or perform other non-driving duties for at least 10 hours before starting another 14-hour duty period.

What Happens if These Are Violated?

A truck driver needs to obey the hours of service regulations. Otherwise, he or she could run the risk of driving tired. Drowsy driving kills. A drowsy truck driver may not have the reflexes or reaction times to successfully stop or maneuver to avoid an accident. A tired trucker may fall asleep behind the wheel, fail to stop or cause a rear-end collision. Drowsy driving can cause catastrophic truck accidents such as truck rollovers, override accidents and head-on collisions.

If an investigation of an accident or a review of a driver’s electronic logging device finds he or she violated the FMCSA’s hours of service rules, the driver and carrier could face penalties. A police officer or an authority from the federal government could assess penalties such as fines at both the state and federal levels. The driver or trucking company could also suffer a reduction in its safety rating. Finally, the driver could face mandatory revocation of his or her driving privileges until the completion of a rest break.

If a truck driver who has violated the hours of service rule causes a truck accident, the trucking company could be liable for damages. The company could be responsible for the negligent actions of its driver, including hours of service violations. The company may have to pay for victims’ medical expenses, lost income, property damages, and other losses. A Dallas truck accident attorney can help you find compensation for your injuries.

Posted by admin at 3:55 pm

Is There a Problem With Sleep Apnea Among Truck Drivers?

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Sleep apnea is a condition in which the sleeper experiences obstructed airways repeatedly during sleep. Some people may have obstructive sleep apnea, in which blockages in the upper airway reduce or stop airflow. Others may have central sleep apnea, in which the brain stops sending signals for the need to breathe. Sleep apnea suffers may experience interrupted sleep and feel more tired during the day.

As someone whose career relies on the ability to safely operate heavy equipment, it is clear how sleep apnea could be dangerous. Sleep interruptions due to this condition could make a commercial driver unfit to be behind the wheel. Studies on the rate of sleep apnea among truck drivers shows disturbing trends and correlations that could put lives at risk. Get the facts on sleep apnea and commercial trucking here.

3 Risk Factors for Developing Sleep Apnea

Although anyone could develop obstructive sleep apnea, certain factors can increase the likelihood of getting this condition. Some have to do with age, while others relate to lifestyle. Your chances of developing sleep apnea increase if you have a family history of this condition or of snoring, a large neck circumference, large tonsils, and a small lower jaw. The following, however, are three of the most prevalent risk factors:

  1. Men are up to three times more likely than women to develop sleep apnea, according to the Mayo Clinic. Central sleep apnea is more frequent in men than women. However, women may increase their risk if they are obese.
  2. Being overweight has one of the most significant correlations with sleep apnea. Obesity impacts sleep apnea by constructing one’s airways with extra fatty deposits around the neck. Obesity can obstruct breathing while a person tries to sleep.
  3. Middle-age. Sleep apnea is more common in middle-aged and older adults than younger people. As sleepers age and develop conditions such as congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, the need to take sedatives, the risk of sleep apnea increases.

All three of these risk factors are prevalent amongst employees in commercial truck driving. The trucking industry today is mostly male, with the number of female workers driving trucks hovering only around 4-6%. Obesity is more common in truckers than other types of workers (69% vs. 31%, respectively), due to long hours sitting and having to settle for unhealthy meals on the road. Most truck drivers are middle-aged as well, with millennials statistically reluctant to join the trade. Thus, the most common factors in truck driving and sleep apnea are one in the same.

The Dangers of Sleep Apnea in Truckers

The rate of sleep apnea in truckers puts everyone on the road in danger. It’s a common enough problem that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the organization in charge of commercial trucking safety, has a page dedicated to the condition. Although President Trump recently canceled the requirement for sleep apnea screening in truck drivers, it is still a serious safety risk of which everyone should be aware.

As a truck driver, learn how to recognize the symptoms of sleep apnea and seek help if you believe you have this condition. You can manage sleep apnea and avoid drowsy driving. As a driver, pay attention when driving around truckers in Texas. Signs of a drowsy driver include drifting between lanes, coming to sudden stops, and driving off the road.

Keep your distance from commercial trucks and call the police to report the vehicle if you see signs of erratic truck driving behaviors. If you get into an accident with a trucker who has sleep apnea, the company could be liable for your damages. Contact a Dallas truck accident lawyer for more information.

Posted by admin at 6:48 pm

How Do Big Rig Accidents Happen in Winter?

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Winter presents many challenges to drivers of all types of vehicles, but truck drivers who handle large tractor-trailers or big rigs need to be extra cautious on winter roads. Big rig accidents are some of the most damaging motor vehicle collisions possible and typically result in extensive damages for all parties involved. This winter, it’s vital for everyone to know how big rig accidents happen during the colder months. According to annual averages collected by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, about 21% of vehicle crashes logged over a 10-year period involved poor weather conditions.

Speeding

Speeding is generally dangerous for all drivers in any situation, but for big rigs the danger is exponentially greater. A tractor-trailer needs much more time and distance to come to a stop from high speed than a smaller passenger vehicle due to its heavy weight and large size. Speeding on roads with patches of ice or pools of water can be exceptionally dangerous. High winds also pose a risk to truck drivers driving tractor-trailers with empty trailers. These vehicles have high centers of gravity, and strong wind can be enough to cause a tip-over. Traveling at high speeds, especially around curves, compounds this danger.

Poor Visibility

It’s more difficult for all drivers to see in fog, rain, snow, or any other type of precipitation. Drivers should engage safety features such as lights and wipers as necessary and use extra caution during inclement weather. A study from AAA conducted over a five-year period concluded that rain contributed to more than 9% of crashes. Rain is dangerous, because it not only affects the quality of the road surface and vehicle tire traction but also impedes visibility.

During any type of limited visibility, all drivers should use extra caution and adjust their speeds as necessary. In some states, police have the power to conduct traffic stops if a driver is “traveling too fast for conditions.” For example, the posted speed limit on a stretch of road is 55 mph, and a driver is traveling at 52 mph during a severe storm. A police officer may conduct a traffic stop because it is too dangerous to travel at or near the posted speed limit.

Snow, Ice, and Sleet

One of the most prevalent dangers of driving in winter is icy or rain-slicked roads. Vehicles can lose traction with the road surface after hitting ice, snow, or water. Hydroplaning occurs when a vehicle’s tires skim across water on the road instead of the road itself, and snow and ice accumulation can make it difficult for a driver to stop or make necessary maneuvers. Winter precipitation can easily cause multi-vehicle collisions, resulting in significant damages, and determining fault for these incidents can be difficult.

Road surfaces may also sustain damage over time from typical wear and tear, but winter weather conditions can compound the dangers such damage presents. Damaged road surfaces may weaken further from expanding and contracting water as it freezes, thaws, and refreezes, and this may cause chunks of asphalt to separate from the road surface. Infrastructure damage is a common cause of truck accidents, and winter weather is one of the leading causes of infrastructure damage in the country.

Holiday Traffic Congestion

Winter coincides with the holiday season, and that means many more vehicles on the road than usual. Additional traffic congestion naturally leads to a higher risk of accidents, and there are generally more private and commercial drivers on the roads. Tractor-trailers help many companies restock their products for holiday shopping and several delivery services including UPS, FedEx, and the USPS handle the vast number of holiday gifts sent through the mail. This means not only are more private individuals driving passenger cars during the winter, vastly more large trucks and commercial vehicles are on the road as well.

It’s wise for all drivers to use extra caution during holiday season travel. Plan trips before leaving and take care in unfamiliar areas. Always drive defensively, and if you don’t feel comfortable driving in inclement winter weather, wait for conditions to improve before driving, if you can.

Posted by admin at 10:49 pm

What Should I Know About Commercial Truck Black Boxes?

Thursday, October 11, 2018

While many Americans are aware of black boxes in aircraft that can record flight data to help determine the cause of a crash, few may know that many commercial trucks feature black boxes as well. Most black boxes feature fireproof materials and multiple safeguards that allow them to survive even catastrophic crashes.

Black boxes record different types of vehicle data including speed, direction of travel, electrical interference, any disturbances to the vehicle’s systems, impacts, fuel consumption, and countless other variables that may contribute to crashes. Investigators often rely on black boxes to determine how catastrophic vehicle accidents happen when no one survives to offer a statement. They can also play a significant role in litigation for a commercial truck accident.

Black Boxes Help Prove Liability for Trucking Accidents

Modern tractor-trailers manufactured since the 1990s feature electronic control modules (ECMs) built into their engines. ECMs function very similarly to the black boxes found in commercial airliners and can help determine the cause of an accident. Commercial truck black boxes typically record and store data for a specified amount of time, usually 30 days. The black boxes can track a truck’s gas mileage, average RPMs, time spent traveling at high speeds, overall speed, idling time, airbag deployment, hard stops, GPS coordinates, and many other variables.

Truck manufacturers originally designed ECMs to discourage fraudulent warranty claims but ECMs have recently been more valuable as evidence in truck accident claims to help determine liability. Trucking companies can compare ECM data to driver logs to help with these investigations, and it’s important for injured claimants in truck accidents to secure legal representation as soon as possible. An attorney can help ensure a trucking company preserves potentially crucial black box data for use in a future lawsuit.

Most states generally uphold that the data contained in an ECM is the property of the vehicle’s owner. If a trucking company owns a truck involved in an accident, the trucking company technically has the right to destroy the ECM data. However, some states have enacted laws that prevent trucking companies from destroying ECM data when clear evidence that the data could be crucial to an official investigation exists. Trucking companies may also use tracking modules for their vehicles that record and store additional types of data. An attorney may request protection of these types of recording devices if they contain hours of service logs, pick up and unload times, or other data vital to an ongoing case.

How Can a Black Box Influence My Lawsuit?

A plaintiff’s attorney in a truck accident claim can file for a court order preventing the destruction of crucial data in a truck’s black box or ECM. If the truck driver or the trucking company is liable in any way for the plaintiff’s damages, the ECM data can help establish liability for all parties involved. For example, imagine a plaintiff suing a trucking company after claiming the truck driver made an illegal lane change and crashed into the claimant’s vehicle.

The ECM data may show that the truck’s computer logged a turn signal use right before the collision, countering the claim.

ECM data from consumer vehicles may also come into play in these cases. Many auto manufacturers include systems to record travel and crash data for use in investigations. Following the previous example, the claimant’s vehicle’s ECM data may show the claimant was traveling 20 mph over the speed limit immediately before the crash, establishing the claimant is at least partially liable for the incident.

If you are unsure if or how a black box could come into play for a truck accident claim, your attorney is the best resource for additional information. Your attorney can also file subpoenas for crucial data that can improve your odds of succeeding with a truck accident injury claim and handle insurance issues. Truck accidents often result in significant damages, and a black box is likely to be one of the most crucial forms of material evidence that will come into play in a truck accident lawsuit.

Posted by admin at 10:45 pm

Common Questions After Truck Accidents

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Motor vehicle accidents involving tractor-trailers and other large trucks often cause significant damage. A person who sustains injuries or other losses from a truck accident will likely have several questions about his or her rights and legal options for recovery. Anyone injured in a truck accident should ask these questions to determine the best next steps.

Who Is at Fault?

One of the most important factors in a truck accident is fault. If one driver, several drivers, or multiple parties bear liability for a truck accident, they are responsible for the resulting damages. When a person suffers injuries in a truck accident, he or she may file an insurance claim to recover medical expenses and other losses. An injured claimant’s insurer will want to know if any other parties bear liability for the claimant’s damages, and the insurer may pursue legal action against the at-fault party to recover the amount paid toward the claimant’s compensation.

In some cases, it may be more beneficial for an injured party to file a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault driver, especially in cases in which the injured party’s damages exceed the scope of any available insurance coverage. In other cases, a claimant’s fault for a claimed event may come into play. Many states follow comparative negligence laws that limit a plaintiff’s recovery if he or she bears liability for claimed damages. A plaintiff’s comparative negligence in a truck accident claim could diminish the claim’s value, resulting in less compensation for the plaintiff, in proportion to his or her percentage of fault for the incident.

How Much Is My Claim Worth?

If your truck accident claim falls within the scope of your insurance coverage or an at-fault driver’s insurance coverage, you will need to supply evidence of the extent of your claims and their eligibility under the policy in question. If you pursue a personal injury lawsuit for your truck accident damages, you will need to provide clear evidence of not only the extent of your losses, but also proof that the defendant is directly responsible for those losses.

Insurance will generally cover a claimant’s medical expenses and property damage, and additional coverage types may also apply depending on the specifics of a claimed event. If a claimed truck accident escalates to a personal injury lawsuit, the claimant will need to offer evidence of his or her economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages can include medical expenses, lost income, and property damage. Non-economic damages generally include pain and suffering compensation, and different courts use different methods for calculating pain and suffering damages in civil claims.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

A truck accident may result from the actions of one negligent party or several. It’s also possible for a defective product or the negligence of a third party to lead to a truck accident. An injured driver may not know the best course of action for legal recovery, and a reliable truck accident attorney will be a great asset in this situation. An attorney can help with insurance issues and build a strong case for a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent defendant or group of defendants. In the case of multiple defendants, a plaintiff’s attorney can consult with experts to determine each defendant’s level of liability for the plaintiff’s damages.

An attorney in a truck accident case can help an injured client maximize his or her recovery. Trucks are some of the largest vehicles on the road, and truck accidents typically lead to serious injuries, expensive property damage, and sometimes loss of life. Victims of truck accidents should handle their immediate medical concerns after experiencing these incidents and then consult experienced attorneys about their legal options.

Posted by admin at 10:42 pm