Truck Accidents

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Truck accident

Because of their size and weight, truck accidents, especially big-rig trucks, tend to be much more severe than an accident between two passenger vehicles. Often, it can be because of equipment failure, a passenger vehicle being in a truck’s blind spot and therefore not visible while the truck driver is making a turn, or even due to the truck jackknifing from a sudden stop or sharp turn. In addition to serious injuries, more factors are at play, as well. Because truck drivers are more often than not driving on behalf of a trucking company, more than one defendant may be involved in the case, making determining liability even more difficult.

Dealing with your injuries is already incredibly difficult after a truck accident. Having to deal with a trucking company’s lawyers and insurance companies should be the last thing on your plate. Instead, contact a highly talented truck accident lawyer. They will handle your case while you focus on your recovery, negotiate with the insurance companies, and ensure you get the highest amount of legal care and representation possible for your case.

Statute of Limitations in Truck Accident Cases

In Maryland and Washington D.C., the statute of limitations to file a truck accident suit is within three years of the date it occurred, as it is with other personal injury cases, unless another provision in the Code provides a different time period in which to file (§5-101). In Virginia, the statute of limitations is within two years of the date the accident occurred. This means that a person who has been involved in an accident with a truck has three years (two years in Virginia) from the date the accident occurred to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Trucking Laws

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration placed limits on the amount of time a truck driver can spend operating their vehicle on both a daily and weekly basis. Drivers can spend no more than eleven hours a day driving, must take a thirty minute break during the first eight hours of their shift, and can drive no more than seventy hours per week, after which they must take thirty four hours off.

However, in order to save on expenses, a lot of companies will pay by the mile and won’t compensate for on-duty inspections and maintenance. Other companies may also skirt around labor laws in order to maximize profits and reduce turnaround time. This may push drivers to work longer hours and drive further at faster speeds than they otherwise would drive at, which can lead to accidents caused by speeding, exhaustion, and reckless driving, among other things.

Causes of Truck Accidents

Because of their size, big rigs have greater limitations than a regular passenger vehicle. In addition to needing up to forty percent more road space to brake, trucks have more difficulty maneuvering, including making wide right turns, as well as dealing with buckling, or “jackknifing”, if they make too sharp a turn or if they come to a sudden stop. Wind turbulence is another danger with trucks. A small car may be buffeted by the turbulence and end up veering into the truck, or they may be driving too close to the truck’s blind spots, called “no-zones”. These no-zones are on the rear left and right, and directly behind the truck to a certain distance. It is very difficult, if not impossible, for the driver of a truck to see a car in one of their no-zones. Rollover accidents play another role. Making too sharp of a turn, adverse weather conditions, or swerving to avoid another motorist or vehicle in the road can all lead to the truck overbalancing and falling to one side.

A big rig truck is considered speeding if it is traveling over fifty five miles per hour. Trucks of that size need far greater space to come to a complete stop, and often, if the driver brakes too quickly, they jackknife and sometimes overturn. Substandard inspection can also play a role in truck accidents. If trucks that are defective or unsafe are not inspected properly by the appropriate people, it can lead to devastating consequences for anyone involved in an accident, including but not limited to catastrophic injury, traumatic brain injury (TBI), paralysis, accidental amputation, and even death.

DUI and Truck Accidents

Of 168 fatally injured truck drivers, sixty seven percent tested positive for at least one drug and thirty three percent had alcohol or psychoactive drugs in their system. These are clearly preventable occurrences, and yet truck drivers will imbibe or consume alcohol and drugs prior to or while driving. This creates extremely dangerous situations, not only for themselves, but for every other driver on the road with them.

Generally, all drivers are subjected to regular drug and alcohol screening. Though alcohol is a common factor in many truck accidents, it is not the only cause of drivers being caught driving under the influence. According to the Insurance Institute for Traffic Safety, fifteen percent of drivers were found with marijuana in their system, twelve percent tested positive for non-prescription stimulants, five percent tested positive for prescription stimulants, and two percent tested positive for cocaine.

Marijuana can play a significant factor in truck accidents along the roadways. It can affect concentration and perception up to twenty fours after being consumed. The New England Journal of Medicine found that of the drivers who were stopped for reckless driving without alcohol as a factor, forty five percent had marijuana in their system and twenty five percent tested positive for cocaine.

For people who are involved in an accident with a truck driver who is under the influence of alcohol or another drug, this can have devastating consequences. A highly skilled truck accident lawyer will put countless hours into researching the accident, negotiating with insurance companies, and ensuring that those at fault pay the damages owed in the case.

Steps to Take after a Truck Accident

Immediately after a truck accident, someone may be feeling scared, confused, in pain, and overwhelmed. The very first thing they should do is contact the police. Since multiple defendants may be involved, having a police report of the accident will be incredibly helpful to the truck accident case that will later be filed in the court system. Obtaining as much information as possible from the driver and any witnesses that may be present is also important. This includes contact information, insurance, names, and anything else that pertains to the case, or that may be needed in future. Taking pictures and videos of the accident and the surrounding location is the third step someone should take, if they are able to. After, they should seek medical attention and contact a highly talented truck accident attorney.

A truck accident attorney will be familiar with the law and the court system, including judges, other attorneys who may be involved in the case, and have a general idea of how the location may play into the damages someone may potentially be awarded.

Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer Today

Being involved in a truck accident is a stressful experience. Contact our team of highly trained and talented truck accident attorneys today for your free consultation. They will handle your case with the utmost dignity and respect, and fight tirelessly for the damages you deserve while you focus on your recovery.

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