Any accident involving an automobile has the potential for tragedy, but the risks are only exacerbated when there is a truck involved. The huge size and heavy nature of these vehicles mean that any accident can be truly devastating. 2018 saw 121 truck fatalities, which included a wide range of causes and roots.
What Are the Causes of Truck Accidents?
A wide range of incidents can cause truck accidents, and these include both driver errors and mechanical faults. Some of the most common causes include:
- Improper Use of Lanes: this ranked as one of the most common causes of trucking accidents in 2018, with improper lane management being responsible for 13.4% of all crashes in that year. The large size of trucks means that their blind spot is severely compromised, so extra care needs to be taken when changing or switching lanes. If a driver is distracted or not paying attention when changing lanes, they may fail to notice a car creeping upon them. This can result in a serious accident.
- A Driver Who is Under the Influence: drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol are always a serious danger to others on the road; trucks are especially hazardous if they are being operated at less than full capacity. Any truck driver operating under the influence of an intoxicating substance can be a serious catalyst for accidents.
- Speeding: trucks are heavier than other vehicles and, therefore, have an increased stopping distance. Traveling at a highspeed means that the vehicle in question needs to allow extra distance when preparing to stop. A driver speeding, then, can increase risk of them being involved in an accident.
- Defective Equipment or Mechanical Fault: taking good care of a truck is crucial for ensuring safety on the road, and a mechanical fault or issue can have serious repercussions. Brake failures can be fatal, especially if weather conditions are unfavourable or the driver has built up speed. Steering issues can also cause serious problems. Drivers must also ensure that tires are roadworthy; a single blowout could cause the operator to lose control of the vehicle—a prime cause of accidents on highways and other high-speed roads. It is the responsibility of the trucking company and the individual driver to ensure that any truck on the road is in a roadworthy condition.
In some cases, liability may also fall onto the manufacturer of the truck or any mechanics or repair technicians who have been involved in checking the vehicle. If the problem should have been picked up or anticipated and failure to do so resulted in the accident, these parties could find themselves liable.
- Poor Weather Conditions: adverse weather conditions can also play a part in accidents, as visibility can be compromised. Rain or snow can also cause the surface of the road to become slippery and increase the chances of a wreck.
- Inadequate Training: driving a large truck or 18-wheeler requires specialist training. Failure to ensure that this is carried out may effectively compromise the driver’s confidence. Their lack of confidence could result in mistakes and confusion, leading to an increased risk of accidents.
Can I Pursue a Case Against a Truck Driver?
According to Alabama legislation, a trucking accident victim will be able to pursue damages and compensation if it can be proven that the driver of the truck was liable for the accident and the subsequent injuries. This is usually through reckless driving or negligence, as in the case of speeding or a mechanical error.
The law states that:
“Any person who drives any vehicle carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of persons or property, or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property, shall be guilty of reckless driving.”
Proving that the driver was at fault is the key to unlocking your case and can allow you to claim the damages, costs, and compensation you deserve.
What Should My Next Steps Be?
If you have been involved in an accident with a truck, your first step should be to contact an experienced, qualified attorney. Here at Pharr & Associates Injury Attorneys, we have worked hard to help victims of trucking accidents across Alabama to achieve the justice they deserve. Contact the team today and see how we can help you take those first steps.