Why Should You Hire A Truck Accident Attorney?
Truck accidents are different than accidents involving just passenger cars. Actually, the only thing trucks have in common with cars is that they both drive on the same roads. If you suffered significant injuries in a truck accident, you need to hire a truck accident lawyer who knows the specialized laws and regulations that apply to truck accidents and is experienced handling issues that arise in truck accidents.
You wouldn’t hire a dentist to perform spinal surgery, would you? Then don’t hire just any car accident lawyer when you need a professional truck accident attorney.
How are truck accident injury claims different from car accident cases?
First, the obvious difference is the immense size of most trucks compared with the small size of most cars. The injuries suffered in truck accidents are often more severe than most auto crashes.
The laws of physics make a 40-ton truck driving 65 miles per hour need 40% more roadway to stop than a car does. On wet or slippery roads, the distance is much farther. When a truck at that speed collides with a smaller car, the force of the crash is so great that it’s like a building fell on the passenger car. Personal injuries are horrific. (For a deeper look into the stopping distance of a tractor-trailer, look at this Car vs. Truck Stopping Distance Fact Sheet.
97% of vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck in 2019 were occupants of the passenger vehicles.
What does a truck accident lawyer need to know that other lawyers may not?
With more than two million eighteen-wheelers driving on America’s roads and highways, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacted hundreds of regulations governing every aspect of the trucking industry.
Trucks must be manufactured to meet specific minimum safety standards, carry modern computerized monitoring equipment, and be driven by professional commercial drivers licensed under nationally uniform training standards.
Your truck accident lawyer needs to know all these regulations just as a prosecutor knows criminal laws. A practicing truck accident attorney’s job is like conducting a civil prosecution of the truck driver, the trucking company, or the manufacturer whose negligence caused you to suffer your injuries.
Truck Accident Expertise is Needed (Causes of Crashes Other than Driver Negligence)
Unlike car accidents that are almost always the result of some driver’s negligence, truck accidents are much more complicated. Going through a red light, rear-ending another car because of inattention, or speeding faster than conditions allowed are all driver-related crashes.
Truck accidents often occur for reasons other than driver negligence. Of course, truck drivers are just like other drivers in that they get tired, they may get distracted, they may drive faster than is safe. But, sometimes truck accidents are caused by factors outside the driver’s control:
- due to inadequate scheduled maintenance
- due to faulty part manufacturing
- due to poorly trained or negligent mechanic
- due to under-inflation
- due to overloading
- tread detachment
- unrepaired defects or injuries from previous impacts
- mounting damage
- excessive age
- rust of internal steel cords
Equipment failure (other)
- due to the absence of required systematic preventative inspection (PMI), repair, maintenance
- wheel and axle misalignment
- oil and fluid leaks
- coupling (fifth-wheel) failure
- due to imbalanced tire pressure
- due to improperly loaded or overweight load
As an experienced truck accident law firm, Clauson Law remains up to date and fully informed of the most recent regulatory changes and enforcement protocols instituted by federal and state governments. We get all the technical data the big rig companies are required to digitally collect for each truck they have in action. And our experts know how to use it to prove what happened.
Your lawyer should not use your injury claim as on-the-job training.
An otherwise competent personal injury attorney may come to learn about some of the truck accident-related issues over time, but your injury case should not have to be a training ground for an inexperienced lawyer.
Representing a severely injured truck accident victim is not an activity for on-the-job training. You and your family need to work with an experienced professional who understands how to analyze the facts to find the person or company that is liable for the damages. Was the accident caused by equipment failure? Was that failure due to faulty design or manufacturing? Was it a good part badly installed?
Was it simply worn out and left in use from inadequate maintenance?
The answer to each question leads to a different defendant, perhaps one in another state who needs to be sued in an entirely different procedure.
The Clauson Law Firm knows what it takes to hold a trucking company or a truck manufacturer liable for their negligent conduct, the negligence that caused your severe injuries. Beyond our team’s legal knowledge of the local, state, and federal laws and regulations, we can associate with leading industry experts and specialized truck accident reconstruction scientists to prevent the trucking company from suppressing evidence an average personal injury lawyer might not know to even ask for.
Truck Accidents Caused by Truck Driver Negligence
A Clauson Law qualified truck accident lawyer knows how to dig out the truth about what caused the truck accident. Yes, some accidents are caused by company maintenance failures or by the truck manufacture’s negligence, most accidents are the result of the truck driver’s negligence.
The most common causes of serious truck accidents:
- driver fatigue (excess hours of service (HOS) in violation of federal regulations)
- distracted driving (telephone use, dialing, texting, setting instruments, eating)
- impaired driving (under the influence of alcohol or drugs [amphetamines to keep awake]
- speeding (to make up lost time and meet delivery schedules)
- poor training (high demand and high turnover means too many new recruits at the wheel)
- unfamiliar roads (driver not anticipating sharp curves, unexpected construction sites)
Types of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents happen more often on main roads than on highways. They most often happen on Thursdays between 3 pm and 6 pm. They happen less frequently on weekends than on weekdays.
Yes, these statistics give you an idea of how much study is done to track and understand how and when trucks are involved in serious accidents.
Most Common Truck Accident
- Rear-end collisions are the most common truck-involved accidents. This is true of passenger cars as well. The cause in both cases is usually following the lead car too closely and a speed leaving too little response time to avoid the crash. While many rear-end crashes may be minor, when an eighteen-wheel commercial truck hits you, major damage and injury almost always result.
- Head-on Collision – The force of two vehicles slamming head-on into each other is massive. When one vehicle is a truck, the smaller vehicle’s occupant frequently suffers fatal injuries.
- Jackknife / Underride Accident – When a tractor-trailer driver brakes, the cab of the truck often slows down faster than the trailer. The momentum of the trailer can bring the trailer sliding sideways so it forms a 90-degree angle with the cab.
This extraordinarily dangerous phenomenon can result in an oncoming car driving directly into the side of the trailer. When this type of collision happens, the car’s roof is often sheared off, killing the car’s occupants. Crashes like this are referred to as “underrides.” Currently, families of underride accident victims are lobbying for mandatory side rails to be placed on trailers. Underride fatalities could not happen with such rails in place.
Trucking Industry Profits and Safety
If you review the most common causes of truck accidents, we could reduce the number of serious truck accidents and lives saved with some easy-to-implement company policies.
Trucking companies can perform more complete inspections more frequently. This would eliminate many accidents caused by mechanical equipment defects, including many brake and tire failures.
Improved training of drivers, mechanics, and loading personnel would reduce driver errors and shoddy repair work that injure and kill other motorists and pedestrians.
Why don’t these reforms take place? Because each reform measure takes time and money away from existing operations and cuts into profits. More frequent and more thorough truck inspections mean the trucks are off the road longer. Trucks that are not running making less money. High driver demand and high turnover mean there is more incentive to get more drivers on the road faster. That means shorter training periods and fewer experienced drivers at the wheel.
Company delivery commitments create pressure on drivers to meet schedules, even if that means exceeding hours-of-service limits or safe speed limits.
If you or your family member was injured in a truck accident in North Carolina, contact the Clauson Law Firm, the professional truck accident law firm.