Causes of Truck Accidents

July 1, 2024 | Thomas L. Stroble
Causes of Truck Accidents

Truck accidents can change lives in an instant. When a big rig crashes, the results are often devastating. Victims may face serious injuries, high medical bills, and lost income.

If you suffered an injury in a truck accident, you need support. A truck accident lawyer can explain your rights and options. An attorney can fight to get you the money you deserve for your injuries and losses. Here, we will explain the common causes of truck crashes and how an attorney can assist you.

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Driver Fatigue: A Major Danger on the Roads

Truck drivers often work long hours on the road. This can lead to extreme tiredness behind the wheel. When a driver is drowsy, their reaction times slow down. They may have trouble focusing on the road. In the worst cases, an exhausted driver might fall asleep while driving.

Fatigue makes truck drivers much more likely to cause crashes. A tired trucker may drift into other lanes or fail to notice stopped traffic ahead. They might not see a car in their blind spot when changing lanes. The results can kill others.

Rules exist to prevent driver fatigue, but they aren't always followed. Trucking companies sometimes pressure drivers to go beyond safe limits. Drivers may falsify their logs to work extra hours. When this happens, the company may share the blame for any accidents caused by a tired driver.

Tell your lawyer if you suspect driver fatigue played a role in your truck accident. An attorney can investigate the driver's hours and logs. They may find evidence that fatigue contributed to the crash. This can strengthen your case for compensation.

Distracted Driving: A Growing Problem

Close-up photo of a truck driver using a smartphone while driving. A dangerous moment in transport showcasing an irresponsible driver.

Distracted driving is dangerous for any vehicle. For large trucks, it's especially risky. Truck drivers have a big responsibility to stay focused on the road. But like anyone else, they can be tempted by distractions.

Even a few seconds of distraction can have serious consequences. In that short time, a truck traveling at highway speeds covers a lot of ground. If traffic suddenly slows or a hazard appears, a distracted trucker may not react in time.

Truck drivers are banned from texting while driving and can only use hands-free phones in limited ways. However, some truckers still break these rules, and others may get distracted by things that the law does not explicitly ban.

After a truck accident, your lawyer will look for signs of distracted driving. They may request the trucker's cell phone records or data from in-cab devices. Eyewitness accounts can also reveal if the driver was distracted. This evidence can be beneficial in proving the truck driver was at fault.

Speeding and Reckless Driving

Big trucks need more time and distance to stop than smaller vehicles. When truck drivers speed, they make their rigs even harder to control. A speeding truck is more likely to jackknife or roll over if the driver has to brake suddenly. High speeds also increase the impact force in a crash, leading to worse injuries.

Some truck drivers speed to meet tight deadlines. Others may drive aggressively, tailgating or making unsafe lane changes. This kind of reckless behavior puts everyone on the road at risk.

Speeding and reckless driving often leave clear evidence. Your truck accident lawyer can gather police reports, witness statements, and data from the truck's black box. This information can show if the trucker was going too fast or driving dangerously before the crash.

You may have a strong case if speeding or reckless driving caused your accident. A lawyer can use this evidence to argue that you can hold the truck driver and their employer responsible for your injuries.

Poor Vehicle Maintenance

Trucks need regular maintenance to stay safe on the roads. Brakes, tires, lights, and other parts must be checked often and fixed when needed. Trucking companies or drivers skipping these important checks can lead to serious accidents.

Bad brakes might not stop a truck in time to avoid a crash. Worn-out tires are more likely to blow out, causing the driver to lose control. Broken lights or signals can make it hard for other drivers to know what a truck is doing.

After a truck accident, your lawyer will want to look at the truck's maintenance records. They'll check if all required inspections were done. If they find that poor maintenance led to your crash, it can help your case. The trucking company might be held responsible for not keeping their vehicles safe.

Sometimes, truck part makers are to blame for accidents. If a part was badly designed or made, it might fail even with good maintenance. In these cases, your lawyer might suggest suing the company that made the faulty part.

Improper Cargo Loading

Forklift operating on a loading dock.

Trucks carry all kinds of goods across the country. How that cargo is loaded matters a lot for safety. When a truck's load isn't secured right, it can cause big problems on the road.

An unbalanced load might make a truck tip over on sharp turns. Loose cargo can fall off the truck, creating dangers for other drivers. Overloaded trucks are harder to stop and more likely to have brake failures.

Loading rules exist to prevent these problems. But sometimes, workers rush and don't follow the rules. Other times, a trucking company might try to save money by overloading their trucks.

If improper loading causes your accident, your truck accident lawyer will work to prove it. They might talk to loading dock workers or check loading records. They can also bring in experts to show how bad loading led to the crash.

This kind of evidence can be very important for your case. It can show that the trucking company or loading crew, not just the driver, shares the blame for what happened to you.

Truck drivers often have to deal with bad weather. Rain, snow, ice, and strong winds can make driving a big rig very dangerous. Trucks need even more time and space to stop safely in these conditions. They're also more likely to jackknife or slide on slippery roads.

While no one controls the weather, drivers and trucking companies are still responsible for driving safely in bad conditions. This might mean slowing down, pulling over to wait out storms, or planning routes to avoid the worst weather.

If a truck driver doesn't adjust to bad weather and causes a crash, they might be held responsible. Your lawyer will look at weather reports from the time of your accident. They'll also check if the driver was going too fast for the conditions or made other unsafe choices.

Sometimes, trucking companies push their drivers to keep moving in dangerous weather to meet deadlines. If this happened in your case, your lawyer might argue that the company shares the blame for putting profits before safety.

Drug and Alcohol Use

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is always dangerous. It's also against the law. Truckers have to follow strict rules about substance use. They get tested regularly and face serious penalties for breaking these rules.

But sadly, some truck drivers still use drugs or alcohol on the job. This can severely impact their ability to drive safely. Alcohol and drugs can slow reaction times, blur vision, and lead to poor decision-making. In a large truck, these effects can have catastrophic results.

If you suspect the truck driver in your accident was impaired, tell your lawyer immediately. They can request drug test results from after the crash. They might also look into the driver's history of substance use or the trucking company's testing practices.

Proving that a truck driver was under the influence can be a key part of your case. It clearly shows negligence and can lead to higher compensation for your injuries. Your truck accident lawyer will work hard to uncover this evidence if it exists.

Inadequate Driver Training

The truck driver steps his left leg onto the truck and lifts his body into the cabin.

Driving a big truck takes special skills and knowledge. Truckers need to know how to handle their vehicles in various situations. They also need to understand and follow many safety rules.

Some trucking companies don't provide enough training to their drivers. They might rush new drivers onto the road to save money or meet demand. This can lead to inexperienced truckers making dangerous mistakes.

Your lawyer will want to know if a lack of training contributed to your accident. They can investigate the trucking company's training programs and the driver's experience level. This information shows that the company failed to properly prepare its drivers, making them partly responsible for the crash.

Mechanical Failures

Even with good maintenance, trucks can sometimes have mechanical problems. These issues can lead to serious accidents if they happen at the wrong time.

You need a lawyer to determine responsibility when a mechanical failure causes a crash. You can blame the trucking company if they didn't maintain the vehicle well. You can hold the truck manufacturer liable if they made a faulty part. Sometimes, a repair shop might have done a bad job fixing the truck.

Your truck accident lawyer will bring in experts to examine the vehicle. These experts can often tell what went wrong and why. This information is important for determining who you can hold responsible for your injuries.

If a mechanical failure played a role in your accident, it's important to tell your lawyer. They can use this information to build a stronger case and seek compensation from all responsible parties.

Unsafe Road Conditions

Sometimes, the road itself can contribute to truck accidents. Poor road design, lack of proper signage, or bad maintenance can create hazards for all drivers, especially large trucks.

When road conditions cause or contribute to a truck accident, it can complicate your case. The government agency responsible for the road might share some blame. Your truck accident lawyer will investigate the crash site and gather evidence about the road conditions.

Document any unsafe road conditions as soon as possible after an accident. If you can, take photos or ask someone to do it for you. This evidence can be very helpful for your lawyer as they build your case.

Remember, even if road conditions are bad, the truck driver still must drive safely in those conditions. Your lawyer will consider all factors when determining who you can hold responsible for your injuries.

Violations of Traffic Laws

Round speed limit road sign for trucks against a blue, cloudy sky.

Truck drivers, like all drivers, must follow traffic laws. But sometimes, they break these rules.

When a truck driver breaks traffic laws and causes an accident, it's strong evidence of their fault. Your truck accident lawyer will look for signs that the driver violated traffic rules. They might use police reports, witness statements, or traffic camera footage to prove these violations.

If the truck driver received a ticket for a traffic violation related to your accident, it can greatly help your case. Your lawyer can use this as evidence that the driver was acting negligently.

It's important to note that truckers must follow additional rules beyond regular traffic laws. These include regulations about how long they can drive, when to take breaks, and how to secure their cargo. Violations of these special rules can also strengthen your case.

Get the Help You Need After a Truck Accident

Truck accidents can have devastating consequences. If you suffered an injury in a crash involving a big rig, you're likely facing many challenges. Medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering can all take a toll on you and your family.

Remember, you don't have to face these challenges alone. A truck accident lawyer can be your advocate during this difficult time. They can help you understand your rights, investigate your accident, and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Don't let the trucking company or their insurance provider pressure you into accepting less than you're owed. A skilled truck accident lawyer knows the true value of your claim and will work hard to get you fair compensation.

Time is of the essence in truck accident cases. Evidence can disappear quickly, and there are legal deadlines for filing claims. The sooner you contact a truck accident lawyer, the better your chance of building a strong case.

If you've suffered an injury in a truck accident, don't wait. Reach out to a truck accident lawyer today. Most offer free consultations, so you can get advice about your case without any financial risk.

Take the first step towards getting the help and compensation you need. Call a personal injury lawyer now to protect your rights and start on the path to recovery.

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Thomas L. Stroble Author Image

Thomas L. Stroble


Mr. Stroble is a highly accomplished graduate of Michigan State University, with degrees in both science and law. He specializes in commercial lawsuits and personal injury cases. Licensed to practice law in Michigan and even the U.S. Supreme Court, he’s a well-qualified legal expert. Besides his career in law, he loves outdoor activities and volunteers as a part-time police officer in Birmingham.

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