We at Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience, LLC, have been providing the community with legal representation for vehicle accidents for 60 years. Accidents involving vehicles of all kinds are something that happens to many, but when they happen, your rights are involved. We’re here to help you protect your rights when you're involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler. You can learn more with a free consultation with a Mesa truck accident lawyer at our firm and how we help you protect your rights.
Contact us online or at (480) 999-9181 after your accident to learn more about our firm and how we can help you. We’ve recovered millions of dollars for injured clients successfully in damages like medical bills, lost wages, and more.
Arizona Commercial Truck Accident Statistics
Chances are good that you don't put much thought into the odds of your having an accident with a semi, much less another vehicle. But there is always a chance that you'll find yourself on the receiving end of a bad decision made by the driver who's handling an 18-wheeler. The state of Arizona has almost 5 million privately owned vehicles and over 525,000 commercial vehicles on the road. The odds are based on the number of registrations, but that doesn't take into account the number of semis that come from other states.
Here are the types of accidents and their odds of happening anywhere in the state at any given time:
- Semi-truck with or without trailer: 1.019 percent
- Concrete mixer trucks: .023 percent
- Dump trucks: .082 percent
- Tanker trucks: .016 percent
- Wrecker/tow trucks: .053 percent
- Other truck combinations: 3.149 percent
- Commercial/non-commercial bus: .360 percent
Taking these odds at face value would imply that your odds of getting into an accident with any one of these types of vehicles are very low, but you can't rely on the odds to protect you from getting into an accident. The reason being is because the odds still exist that you're going to be involved in a collision with a semi-truck. And when you find yourself in an accident with an 18-wheeler, the odds of you having a bad outcome are high.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Take a moment to consider the size of a semi-truck when compared to the average automobile. It's not hard to see that the semi is much larger than the car and can easily crush the car at speed. Even low-speed collisions can result in serious injuries due to the physics behind the operation of the semi. When the truck, also known as a tractor, gets moving forward, it's drawing a lot of weight behind it in the trailer. That weight can push the tractor forward even if the load is balanced and the truck is moving at a slow rate of speed. Take into consideration the mass of the semi-truck and the momentum behind it when it's in motion and you can get an idea of just how catastrophic the damage to a car can be along with the injuries sustained by the occupants inside the car.
Some of the more common truck accident injuries include:
- Soft tissue injuries caused by whiplash, seat belt, or airbag
- Spine and neck injuries from the impact throwing the body back and forth into the seat and seat belt
- Broken bones
- Head and brain injuries
As previously mentioned, physics is not in your favor when you are in an accident involving a truck. Your body is going to get thrown around even if it's restrained by a seat belt. The forces generated by the truck are much greater than you might think, and those forces are transmitted through your body upon impact. Truck drivers and their companies are aware of the damage their vehicles inflict on smaller cars and their occupants, but they still flaunt safety rules, putting others on the road at risk.
As a result, these injuries can be more serious and are known as catastrophic injuries, or injuries that can be long-term or permanent. While recovering from a more minor injury like whiplash or a sprain can take just days, catastrophic injuries can take months and years and require extensive medical treatment. Truck accidents often cause injuries that require victims to alter their way of life, like paralysis or traumatic brain injuries.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
If you are injured in a trucking accident, determining who is responsible and what caused the accident can become a complicated affair. While you probably were not the one at fault, getting any kind of compensation from the trucker’s insurance companies tends to be a long, painful process.
There are many factors that go into determining liability, including the owner of the vehicle, the driver, trucking laws, the maintenance of the truck, road conditions, and more. You need a Mesa truck accident attorney you can trust to navigate the federal and Arizona state laws associated with commercial trucks and investigate the accident to discern the cause to get you the compensation you deserve for injuries, lost wages, and property damage.
Here are the most common causes of truck accidents.
Truck Driver Negligence
Many truck accidents are caused by the negligent actions of truckers. Some accidents are caused by improperly secured cargo, overloaded trucks, equipment failure, over-sized vehicles, or fatigue. However, the most common forms of truck driver negligence are:
- Drug use, including prescription, illicit and over-the-counter medications
- Failure to check blind spots
- Failure to signal or other illegal moving actions
- Underestimating the level of evasive action necessary to avoid a collision
- Aggressive or reckless driving
Weather and Road Conditions
While Phoenix residents may never have to experience icy roads and wintery conditions in the heart of the valley, there are still many other weather and road hazards that can make the road dangerous for truck drivers and the motorists around them.
- Rain, dust storms, wind, fog, and glare limit roadway visibility and may cause heavy trucks to slide
- Uneven, bumpy or otherwise damaged roads can cause vehicles to shift into the wrong lane or cause tire failure
- Debris on the road can destroy passenger vehicle tires, causing the vehicle to slow or slide out of control, leaving inadequate time and distance for the truck to stop
- Rubbernecking and other unsafe driving practices around other car accidents make it difficult for drivers of large trucks to predict the actions of other drivers and respond in time
Disregarding Trucking Regulations
Most commercial truck drivers are paid by the mile, incentivizing drivers to go as far as they possibly can each day. However, some drivers stay behind the wheel for longer than is safe. Combine driver fatigue with employer-mandated quotas and you can see how an accident can occur.
Drivers must follow the hours of service rules set by the federal government that limit them to a maximum of eleven consecutive hours driving with a mandatory period for rest. However, there are always bound to be drivers who break these rules. A truck accident lawyer will investigate whether the driver was compliant with all federal and state trucking laws concerning commercial vehicles at the time of the accident.
Whether the commercial freight company is at fault for failing to provide regular preventative maintenance or the manufacturer is liable for producing a defective vehicle part, product defects are a leading cause in truck accidents. Brake failure, tire failure, and signal light malfunction are the most common defects reported in accidents involving semi-trucks.
Passenger-Vehicle Driver Negligence
Not all commercial truck accidents are the fault of the truck driver. Many motorists are unaware of the limited visibility of large trucks, and can cause accidents by:
- Passing on the right when a truck is attempting to make a right turn
- Making a left turn too slowly in front of an approaching oncoming truck
- Driving in a truck’s blind spots
- Pulling in front of a truck without accelerating sufficiently
- Changing lanes with inadequate space
- Failing to move a disabled vehicle onto the highway’s shoulder
- Driving between two commercial trucks
- Inadequate following distance
Not only do these actions endanger the driver at fault, but they also put everyone around them at risk. Many semi accidents involve multiple vehicles, and when one driver is reckless around large trucks, no driver nearby is truly safe.
What Can be Recovered After a Truck Accident in Mesa?
An accident with a semi can be devastating, even if you only suffered minor injuries. Your car may not be drivable because of the damage or you may have lost time at work because you were unable to get there due to injuries and/or a lack of vehicle. You can be made whole again in the form of compensation for the violation of your rights, especially the one where you have an implied right to always be free from harm.
To that end, you can make a demand of the offenders to compensate you for things that include:
- Repair or replacement of your vehicle
- Pain and suffering
- Compensation for lost wages
- Medical bills that aren't covered by insurance
- Punitive damages in the event the truck operator or company violated state and/or federal laws that caused the accident
- Emotional distress you suffered from the trauma of the accident
Your Mesa truck accident lawyer will work hard on your behalf to do what they can to help you recover damages from those who are at fault. We know trucking law in Arizona well. Our team of highly trained attorneys and investigators will get to the truth of the matter so you can get on with your life without worrying about how you're going to get back to normal.
Why Hire an Attorney for a Truck Accident?
Truck drivers are required to log their travel times in a written or electronic log. Federal transportation laws now require a majority of transport companies log their Record of Duty Status (RODS) via an electronic monitoring system. This system accurately logs the time by monitoring how long the engine has been running. It's designed to eliminate the problems that were rampant with written logs, but there are operators who are exempt from the law. Both systems use language that's specific to the industry and it's tough to decipher unless you're a Mesa truck accident lawyer who's trained in reading said logs.
Logs are important because they can help you prove that you weren't at fault. But if you don't know how to read them, you won't be able to use them effectively in your case, and you run the risk of losing your case. A truck accident attorney has spent time studying the language of the trucking industry and its laws and can effectively apply that knowledge to help you pursue your case.
Additionally, there are some situations where the truck driver isn’t ultimately responsible for damages. Trucking companies, cargo loaders, manufacturers, and more have been known to contribute to truck accidents, and our attorneys can thoroughly investigate your case to determine who is at fault. Putting an attorney to work on your behalf increases the likelihood of a better outcome for you.
"Jess was amazing. He instantly put my mind at ease on the handling of my case. If you want great results and to deal with great people, Jess Gulbrandsen is who you need to see after a car accident."Todd, Client
"I got into a real bad roll-over, and they did everything to their ability to get me what was right. I just want to give a huge thanks to Chris and Ria for all the wonderful help and time that they put into my case, as it was a long one."Matt, Client
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A Record of ResultsWe have recovered millions of dollars for injured clients throughout Arizona and are proud members of the prestigious Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Experience on Your SideFounded in 1961, we are among the oldest firms in the East Valley, proudly serving injured clients in our communities for 60 years.
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When you hire our firm, you will work with one attorney from start to finish, ensuring that your representation is intimately familiar with the details of your case.