Truck Accident Information Across the United States
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2013, nearly 4,000 people were killed in collisions that involved large commercial trucks, and another 95,000 were injured. Seventy-nine percent of those killed in a large truck accident were occupants of the other vehicles, rather than the truck.
When you consider that a loaded truck can weigh 80,000 pounds, as compared to a passenger car or pickup which weighs around 3,500 pounds, you can understand why the fatalities are most often those in the passenger vehicles, rather than the truck driver.
In addition, in two percent of the fatal crashes, the truck driver had a BAC of .08 or higher, and drivers of large trucks had the highest percentage of prior collisions, as compared to drivers of other vehicles such as passenger cars, motorcycles, or light trucks.
The Complexities Associated with Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are much more complex than car accidents. Not only are the injuries from a truck accident much more severe, but there can be a number of defendants in a truck accident, including:
- The truck driver may have been at fault for a number of reasons, including being overly fatigued, driving recklessly, driving without sufficient experience, or distracted driving.
- The trucking company may have been at fault for hiring an inexperienced truck driver, allowing the truck driver to exceed his or her hours of service, or failing to conduct a thorough background check.
- The manufacturer of the truck could be held responsible if the truck, or a truck part, was defective in some way.
- The company responsible for truck maintenance could be responsible if the truck was not properly maintained, and the accident was a result of that improper maintenance.
- The loading company could be responsible if the truck was improperly loaded, or if the cargo was not properly secured.
When a truck accident occurs, the trucking company will have investigators on the scene almost immediately, along with a small army of attorneys to defend any charges against the trucker or the trucking company. For this reason, it is particularly important for those involved in a truck accident to have an experienced attorney by their side as soon as possible following the accident. Having an aggressive legal advocate in your corner can make all the difference in the outcome of your truck accident.
Factors Associated with Truck Accidents
There are a number of reasons for truck accidents. As noted, the truck driver could have been fatigued, distracted, or driving recklessly. Other factors include:
- Inclement weather conditions, such as wet or icy roads, can cause a truck to be involved in a serious accident, particularly when the driver does not take the weather and road conditions into account by decreasing his or her speed accordingly.
- Debris on the road, including the sand used on snowy and icy roads or road litter, can threaten the truck driver’s ability to safely navigate a large truck.
- Uneven roadways or potholes in the road can trigger a truck accident, particularly in an overloaded truck or one being driven by an inexperienced truck driver.
- In the city, pedestrians who cross the street unexpectedly in front of a large truck can cause the trucker to hit the brakes hard, resulting in a potential jackknife or rollover. Children are also extremely unpredictable, and in city conditions, can dart across the road, leaving the truck driver few good options.
- On more rural roads, animals on the roadways are a distinct hazard. Should the truck driver swerve to avoid hitting the animal, a severe collision can occur.
An overloaded truck can cause accidents from any of the following:
- Tires on the truck may burst from the excess weight.
- Brakes may wear excessively due to the friction caused by the overloading.
- Roads can collapse from trucks, which exceed the weight ratings.
- Trucks are more likely to rollover when the center of gravity is shifted from overloading.
- Excess weight adds momentum to a truck traveling downhill, and severely slows a truck traveling up an incline.
- Overloading a large truck shifts the weight to the rear of the truck, making steering much more difficult.
- Tanker trucks, which are only partially loaded with liquids, can slosh back and forth, upsetting the natural center of gravity of the truck.
When you consider that a truck traveling at 55 mph requires a full football field length to come to a complete stop, you can see how an unexpected roadway hazard could be responsible for a serious trucking accident. Many truck drivers drive too fast for roadway conditions because they are struggling to meet tight deadlines. Even a few miles of excess speed can result in a serious truck accident.
An Experienced Truck Accident Attorney Can Change the Outcome of Your Accident
With more than 16 years of experience in handling truck accidents, the Atlanta trucking accident attorneys at Evans Litigation and Trial Law know all of the ins and outs of truck accidents. We understand that you may be dealing with extensive medical expenses, and may have missed considerable time from work, making it almost impossible for you to pay even your most basic living expenses. Also, with Alfred’s experience in working with insurance companies, he knows their mindset and can help you beat them.
Our primary goals will be to ensure that the evidence from your truck accident is properly preserved, and to ensure that you receive the best settlement possible for your truck accident. Evans Litigation and Trial Law will give you the time to heal while handling all of the legal aspects of your truck accident. Call us today at 1-470-235-4069 or fill out our confidential contact form for more information.