Have you been injured in a truck accident? You may be entitled to compensation. Contact a truck accident lawyer for a free, no-obligation consultation at (602) 845-9090.
When a large truck is involved in a traffic crash, the results can be serious, even deadly. Big rigs, semis, tractor-trailers and other large trucks are big and heavy. They are harder to maneuver and take longer to stop than cars. The destructive force of an out-of-control truck is considerably greater than a regular car. That is why big trucks are much more likely to be involved in deadly accidents.
In 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one out of nine traffic fatalities were caused by a crash with a large truck. Most of the injuries and fatalities resulting from truck accidents are suffered by drivers and passengers in other vehicles. The victims and their families must face a life-changing tragedy while the truck driver walks away with minor injuries. Our truck accident lawyers help the victims of truck crashes and their loved ones.
Your Arizona Trucking Lawyer can Help Determine the Cause of Your Trucking Accident
It is important for drivers of large trucks, including semi trucks, 18 wheelers and two trucks, to be particularly careful when operating their trucks because of the increased potential for serious and deadly injuries in crashes. It is also important for trucking companies to regularly inspect and maintain their trucks in good working conditions, including ensuring that all required safety equipment is properly working.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates the trucking industry in the United Sates, has issued regulations to help improve trucking safety. These regulations address various areas of safety, including the process for hiring truck drivers, annual safety reviews of drivers, inspection and maintenance requirements for trucks, limits on the number of hours that a truck driver can drive, testing for the use of alcohol and drugs, safety equipment requirements and record-keeping requirements.
Despite all the legal safety requirements, many serious and deadly trucking accidents occur each year. Some of the reasons for these accidents include:
- Driver Fatigue. One of the biggest reasons for trucking accidents is tired drivers. Tractor trailer truck drivers are often paid based on the number of miles they drive. They have a financial incentive to drive tired. The more they drive, the more money they make. To help combat driver fatigue, the federal government has issued “hours of service” regulations that limit the number of continuous hours that truck drivers can drive. After a truck crash, it is important to obtain the driver’s log book and other evidence to determine if the hours of service regulations were violated.
- Driver Negligence. Truck drivers are required to follow traffic laws. To drive a large truck with a gross vehicle rating of 26,001 or more pounds for commercial use – for example, a semi, tractor trailer or tow truck – a driver must first obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Commercial driver’s licenses are issued by states, but the federal government has established minimum requirements that must be met to obtain a CDL.
- Drug and Alcohol Use. A truck driver that is impaired is more likely to cause an accident. According to NHTSA, in 2008, 2% of drivers of large trucks that were involved in deadly traffic accidents had blood alcohol levels of .08 or higher. Driving a commercial vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol can result in a three-year suspension of the drive’s CDL. Our truck accident lawyers would pursue the driver, the trucking company and their insurance companies to obtain compensation for injuries to truck accident victims in a truck accident lawsuit.
- Speeding. A large, speeding truck is like a deadly missile. An empty tractor trailer typically weighs over 30,000 pounds, and a fully-loaded tractor trailer combination can be 80,000. That’s 40 tons! The faster it travels, the more damage it can inflict. An 18-wheel truck traveling at 70 miles per hour has twice as much energy compared to one traveling at 50 mph.
- Improper Loading. A trailer that is not properly loaded may make the truck and trailer harder to maneuver and more likely to crash. Improper loading an increase the chances the trailer will tip over.
- Improper Inspection. Failure to conduct a proper inspection can result in an overlooked safety problem or malfunctioning equipment.
- Improper Maintenance. If critical equipment such as brakes and tires are not properly maintained, the company that was responsible and/or the company that owns the truck can be held accountable for their negligence.
- Defective Truck or Truck Parts. If the truck is defectively designed or defectively manufactured, the manufacturers and sellers of the truck and/or truck parts may be liable for resulting accidents.
- Employer Negligence. Trucking companies have an obligation to hire drivers that are properly licensed, trained and qualified. Federal regulations require them to monitor their drivers and conduct safety reviews. Employers that fail to follow the governmental regulations or otherwise act negligently can be sued in a trucking accident lawsuit. Employers are also legally responsible for the negligence of the drivers they hire while those drivers are in the course of working for the company.
The Importance of Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accident lawsuits are complicated. A knowledgeable, experienced Arizona crash accident lawyer knows how to properly investigate a trucking accident and pursue the responsible parties to make sure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
Here are some important factors in trucking lawsuits and how a truck accident attorney can help:
- Who is Responsible for your Trucking Crash? The investigation conducted by your trucking lawyer will help determine who is responsible for your injuries. More than one party may be at fault. Responsible parties may include the driver of the truck, the owner of the truck, the trucking company, the company responsible for maintaining the truck, the company that loaded the truck, the company that inspected the truck, manufacturers of the truck and/or truck parts and governmental entities responsible for the road on which the accident occurred.
- Leveling the Playing Field. A large company can spend a lot of money to try to avoid legal liability and negative publicity. You can level the playing field and take away their financial advantage by hiring your own team of experts. Your Arizona trucking lawyer may hire a team of engineers, accident reconstructionists, investigators, medical professionals and other experts that are required to prove your case. Your attorney will be able to understand and navigate the federal and state laws that apply to your case.
- Preserving Critical Evidence. After a trucking accident, it is important to make sure critical evidence is preserved. This can include the truck, the “black box” recorder in the truck, the other vehicles involved in the crash, the driver’s log books, company records relating to the truck and other key materials. Your trucking accident attorney can help to acquire and preserve critical evidence before it is destroyed or lost.
- Destruction and Falsification of Evidence. Did you know that trucking companies may be able to legally destroy critical evidence required to prove your case? Legal regulations require companies to hold records for a certain period of time and then they can destroy them. In some cases, companies have purposefully destroyed evidence such as records, bad tires and other items. Drivers have been caught falsifying and changing their log books to avoid liability. A truck accident lawyer will be familiar with the tricks used by drivers and trucking companies and how to expose them. If we discover that evidence was destroyed, we can ask the judge and jury to presume that evidence would have been harmful the person or company that destroyed it.
The Sooner the Better When Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer
It is important to hire a truck accident lawyer right away. After a serious truck crash, you should expect that the trucking company and their insurers will have their investigators and other experts on the scene right away to try to avoid liability. The sooner you get your legal team on board, the sooner they can start working for you.
Your claims are subject to deadlines called statutes of limitation. If a government entity is involved — because, for example, their failure to properly maintain a road caused or contributed to your accident — the time deadline for making a claim is much shorter.
The trucking company may try to get you to not hire a lawyer or delay the process long enough so that they can destroy evidence. Don’t be fooled by their tricks. Their representatives work for the company, not for you, and their goal is to pay you as little as possible. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not get paid unless we recover for you. We work for you, and our goal is to maximize your monetary recovery.
Contact Arizona Truck Crash Lawyers
A trucking crash can change your life forever. When you hire an experienced Arizona trucking accident lawyer, you can focus on your emotional and physical recover while we focus on your legal case. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call (602) 845-9090.