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 Phoenix and 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 Liability
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
Disregard of 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 far 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 Liability
Not all commercial truck accidents are the fault of the truck driver. Many motorists are unaware of the limited visibility of large trucks, causing 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 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.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, please contact our Mesa accident attorneys. Specializing in car and truck accidents in Mesa, Phoenix and the rest of the valley, our personal injury lawyers will fight for your right to compensation for injuries, pain and suffering, property damage, lost wages, and more. Contact Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience, PLC today for a free case evaluation.