Accidents Involving a Semi Truck – 18 Wheeler
We often hear about vehicle collisions that involve passenger cars; however, accidents involving semi trucks or 18 wheelers are not equally publicized. An accident with a semi-truck and a passenger car is often more serious in nature. These trucks can carry over 10,000 pounds of cargo at any given time. With the weight of their load, the truck can exceed 80,000 pounds! When up against a small 3,000-pound standard vehicle; the semi truck can and will do massive damage. A big rig carrying hazardous cargo increases the risk of both massive injuries and fatalities. Because of the possible catastrophic damage it is advised to have an aggressive Phoenix car accident lawyer such as Cantor Crane fighting to seek the best possible settlement for your injuries. Continue reading to learn more information about accidents with semi-trucks.
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Highway Safety Reports
According to a 2014 truck accident report issued by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than half a million trucks were involved in major accidents. Of these accidents, there were over 3,600 deaths and 10’s of thousands of injuries. Statistics show when there are more trucks on the roads, there will be more accidents and fatalities. On the bright side, there have been an overall 30-40% decrease of fatalities from crashes involving semi trucks since 2000. The number of deaths in 2009 were at the lowest since 1975.
There is always a party at fault when a truck and passenger vehicle collides. When there is clear evidence that the actions of another individual caused the injury or death of a person, the surviving family member may be able to receive compensation. When injured in an accident, things like pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and medical expenses are taken into consideration for the compensation package.
Is There A Legal Claim?
To be deemed a “truck accident” in the legal world, the vehicle must have a weight greater than 10,000 pounds. There must be injuries to an individual, a death or property damage to be considered for a claim. These accidents are generally caused by one party or the other. To receive compensation from the truck driver, the following criteria must be met:
- The Accident was due to the reckless nature or deliberate act of another driver.
- A truck accident caused injury or death to the victim.
- There are compensation damages due to the victim because of injury.
Proving negligence is the biggest hurdle that any legal team must conquer. There are numerous ways to prove negligence, such as police reports, witness testimonies, and photographs. Expert witnesses may also be called in to strengthen the case. If the driver of the truck was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, any evidence to support the altered state can be used in court. If you are unsure if you have a case, a legal professional from Cantor Crane can help sort through the evidence and give you legal advice.
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Potential Causes of Arizona Truck Accidents
There are numerous reasons why semi trucks collide with other vehicles. Typically, there are a variety of circumstances and contributing factors that are to blame. In most cases, the reason for the accident is the driver was not following the laws, or they were not using safe driving skills. Speeding is the number one cause of semi truck accidents. Other issues include not stopping at a stop sign, unsafe turns, not yielding to oncoming traffic, and changing lanes unsafely.
Due to the large size and massive weight of these trucks, there are greater risks associated with reckless driving. The driver of a big truck must have faster reaction times and be on high alert when driving. Unfortunately, many of the incidents of Arizona truck accidents are caused by the driver’s error. If they do make a mistake when behind the wheel, the massive size of the vehicle inhibits their response time. Most accidents are caused by exhaustion, intoxication, driving recklessly, loading errors or insufficient training.
Fatigue is a big problem when it comes to affecting the average semi driver. These drivers spend a great deal of time behind the wheel. They become desensitized to their environment and find it easy to doze off to sleep. Truckers are not allowed to drive more than 14 hours in a 24 hour period without stopping. They are additionally not allowed to have more than 60 hours of driving time within a seven day period. If they have been on the road for a period of seven or eight days; they must take a break of 34 hours without driving. However, some companies break the law to meet the work demands.
Equipment failure is another common cause of a semi accident. In an effort to reduce collisions, trucking companies must perform regular maintenance on their vehicles. They must inspect their brakes, tires, fuel line, chassis, lighting, engine, and hitch. Though negligence is the generally the reason for a trucking accident, it can also be blamed on poor road conditions or a faulty road design. If the road was not being properly maintained and was the cause of the accident, the government may be blamed for the accident.
One other potential cause could be a semi-truck driver is under the influence of alcohol, narcotic drugs or prescription drugs.
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Truck Accident Injuries
Whenever there are injuries in a trucking accident, they are usually serious or fatal. If a victim does survive the crash, it is likely they will be disabled or have incapacitating injuries, like paralysis. The most common injuries associated with semi crashes are:
- Brain Injury – When objects make contact with the head, it often causes traumatic brain injuries. Brain injuries can also occur if the head moves dramatically and the brain bounces off the skull’s walls.
- Spinal Injury – Spinal injuries occur when the lower spine or neck are moved or hit during the crash. This often results in total or partial paralysis.
- Back Injury – Herniated discs are the most common back injury. These injuries can take years of physical therapy to help the condition.
- Burns – Burns not only cause excruciating pain, but they also disfigure the body.
- Fractures, Cuts, and Bruises – Though fractures, bruises and cuts are not as severe as other injuries, they usually accompany major injuries. When looking for compensation in a case, no detail can be left out.
Why You Need Legal Representation!
When you or a loved one have been injured in a semi truck accident, time is of the essence. Not all cases have a legal claim. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is responsible for making sure that all bus, truck and motorcoach companies regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation are compliant with all safety regulations (FMCSR). Cantor Crane specializes in semi truck accidents. If you think you may have a claim and want legal advice, call us today to see how we can help (602) 254-2701.