Commercial / Semi-Truck Accidents
Auto Accidents Involving a Commercial Semi Truck
Getting into an accident with a semi truck or 18-wheeler can be very traumatizing for everyone involved. If you have recently been involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle in the state of Arizona, you are going to need the professional experience of a Phoenix semi truck accident attorney. Your attorney will be able to help you receive compensation for your injuries and damages done to your commercial vehicle.
As a citizen, we have all seen news footage related to passenger car accidents. What is even rarer is to see an accident on the news that involves a semi-truck or an 18-wheeler. These specific types of accidents are normally much more serious due to the fact that commercial vehicles can carry 10,000 pounds or more in cargo. The truck, including the cargo weight, more than likely exceeds 80,000 pounds or more where passenger vehicles are only around 3,000 pounds. In saying that, it is very easy to determine how a larger vehicle can be more dangerous in an accident than the smaller vehicles because when a big rig truck is hauling a hazardous load, the risk of death and serious injuries increases greatly with every mistake made.
Because of the catastrophic accidents, these trucks can cause in a collision and the chances of death and severe injuries, you will need a highly-motivated Phoenix car accident attorney. The injury attorney assigned to you at Hutzler Law will fight on your behalf to get you the compensation amount you deserve.
Recent Statistics of Semi-Truck Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had released statistics of commercial truck accidents in the year 2018. The reports and statistics had stated that in 2018 alone, there were over 164,660 vehicle accidents that involved semi truck, with 79,950 reported injuries and 4,720 fatalities. In comparison to 2017, there were 154,673 vehicle accidents, 76,015 reported injuries, but an increase of fatalities to 4,865.
Not included in those statistics above are the number of accidents and fatalities involving a bus. In 2018, there were over 18,350 injuries related to a bus accident, 310 of those resulting in a fatality.
Since there are an estimated 2.7 million tractor-trailer / semi trucks on the road, the odds of an accident involving a semi truck greatly increase. But what are some reasons why these accidents even occur? Continue reading to find out. If you or a family member have been involved in one of these accidents, the compensation you deserve is just a phone call away.
Common Reasons Semi Truck Accidents Can Occur
The reasons why Arizona truck accidents happen are unmeasurable and one of these reasons being that a semi-truck collided with another vehicle on the road. Typically, there are a variety of situations and factors that come into play with an accident involving a semi-truck such as the driver of the big rig not using safety precautions or following laws related to 18-wheelers and the speed limit.
Studies have shown that at least one driver-related factor was responsible for 32% of the large truck accidents that involved fatalities in 2017. This is compared to the factors that resulted in 54% of passenger vehicle drivers in fatal crashes.
- Speeding was the most frequently reported factor in driver-related fatalities
- Distraction or inattention was the second most commonly given cause for large truck drivers.
- ‘Impairment’ including fatigue, alcohol and Illness, was the second most common reason for passenger vehicle drivers.
- Truck driver fatigue accident statistics show over-tiredness alone was the cause of 60 deaths in 2017.4
If a truck driver does not obey the signs and signals, makes unsafe maneuvers, fail to yield to all oncoming traffic and shows unsafe changing of lanes, they could potentially be the cause of an accident. Other causes of semi-truck accidents involve lack of sleep, driving under the influence, faulty loading of their cargo, and poor training for semi-truck driving. Whatever the cause may be, it is crucial to avoid these problems at all costs.
Where 18-wheelers are large in size and heavy in weight, driving them unsafely can make them that much more lethal to other drivers on the road. A big rig driver should always have quick reaction times, excellent reflexes, and always on high alert as soon as they sit behind the wheel. Normally, Arizona truck accidents happen because of driver error. When an error is made by a big rig driver, they are presented with more weight and vehicle to regain control of which causes their response time to be hindered due to the size of their vehicle.
Drivers of a semi-truck are always faced with fatigue during a long trip. This can create a rather large problem when it comes to handling a semi appropriately and safely. Due to the time they spend on the road driving, semi-truck drivers often become fatigued easily and doze off with no warning. Truck drivers are now prohibited from being on the road for any more than the 11-hour driving limit, after 10 consecutive hours off-duty, to help avoid any accidents due to fatigue or falling asleep while they are behind the wheel.
Drivers of a semi are also prohibited when it comes to driving more than 60 hours total within 7/8 consecutive day time-frame. After driving a total of seven or eight days, semi-truck drivers have to rest for a total of 34 hours. In saying that, a common occurrence for trucking businesses is to turn their head when drivers at their company break these laws to meet the demands of their employer. What truck drivers do not realize is that even pushing themselves an extra hour or two is extremely dangerous to everyone on the road around them.
Another common cause of a semi-truck accident is the failure of equipment. A trucking company is required to maintain all of its trucks with routine checks where they will inspect the brakes, headlights, hitches, engine function, fuel lines, and the chassis. When an accident is caused due to equipment failure, chances are negligence lingers behind the problem. It is also common for equipment failure to be caused from poor terrain or a fault in the design of the road and if it is, in fact, the road condition that caused the accident because the road is lacking maintenance, the government could potentially be responsible the accident and all injuries.
Sadly, driving under the influence is a common occurrence with semi-truck drivers, as well as drivers of passenger vehicles. When a truck driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, an accident is almost bound to happen. When the accident occurs, it normally results in death or severe injuries. Therefore, leaving the victims in pain and suffering while not being able to provide for their family’s as they are unable to work. Just by choosing to pull over and take a break instead of driving under the influence could save the lives of many.
What Happens if a Semi-Truck Hits Me and They Keep Driving?
If you are hit by a semi-truck that keeps driving after the collision, it is important to keep your eye out for specifics. These specifics include the color of the truck, the carrier they are driving for, and any other identifying marks you may see. As you spot this information, it is important to write it down as quickly as possible or store it in your mobile device before you forget this crucial information.
If authority members find the truck and the person responsible, they will be looking at further charges, such as leaving the scene of an accident. They will also be held responsible for the damages of your vehicle and any injuries you sustained during the accident. By hiring an attorney here at Hutzler Law, you will be able to pursue your case with the courts to gain compensation for the accident and justice for your injuries.
Injuries Related to a Trucking Accident
Injuries sustained from a trucking accident are usually very serious and sometimes even fatal. If a victim survives the trucking accident, most likely, they will end up disabled or even incapacitated with paralysis or a severe brain injury which causes their body not to function properly. Below is a list of the most common trucking accident injuries.
- Traumatic brain injury– This occurs when your head hits an object in the vehicle or when your brain is shaken within the skull causing a brain bleed.
- Back injuries– These often are contributed to herniated discs which will require many physical therapy sessions.
- Burns– Burns that disfigure your body and causes severe pain.
- Fractures, bruises, and cuts– Very common and is usually accompanied by a series of other severe injuries.
Do I Have a Solid Case?
In order for your claim to be considered a semi-truck accident by an attorney, the big rig that was involved in the accident has to of weighed at the least, 10,000 pounds. Also, you and your passengers must have sustained injuries, died from the injuries, or have had property damage for your claim to be legitimate. If the accident is due to one of the party’s negligence, they are the ones at fault. The one at fault may be required to pay compensation to the opposite party if these situations occur:
- The opposite party was acting was reckless through with deliberate acts that caused the accident.
- The truck accident caused death or serious injuries.
- The victim’s property was severely damaged during the accident.
The largest obstacle with these cases is being able to prove the driver’s negligence, but there are always ways to do so. To prove their negligence, you must collect police reports, witness testimonies, photographs, and any other evidence related to the accident. If the first law enforcement officer on the scene or the truck driver has dashcam footage, your attorney can request the footage as evidence. If deemed to be necessary, the key witnesses can be called upon to help increase your chances of winning the case. If the driver of the semi-truck was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the evidence from the DUI can come in handy at court.
If you cannot figure out if you have a solid case in your hands, be sure to reach out to the legal professionals at Hutzler Law. These professionals can and will help you gather all the evidence you need for a solid case. By pursuing your case alone, there is always the possibility of forgetting information that is crucial to your case.
Compensation for an Accident Caused by a Semi Truck
When a big rig and a passenger vehicle gets into a collision, there is almost always a person who is at fault. If evidence leans towards the other driver is at fault in your semi-truck accident and it just so happens to cause any injuries or death, there is the possibility that you can receive compensation for the accident. You will need to contact an attorney for further information on the matter.
Injuries related to the trucking accident and other common damages like pain, medical bills, and lost income are all considered in court for your jury awarded compensation after you have won your case. You must provide your attorney with all hospital notes and evaluations. Once your attorney has the required information, it can then be passed along to the courts.
Hiring an Accident Attorney is Important
If you or your loved one has experienced injuries due to a semi-truck accident, it is critical that you seek out legal counsel to represent you and start your claim. Not all accidents will end up with compensation, but it is important to receive the perspective of a Phoenix injury attorney to acquire about a potential case. Hutzler Law takes pride in representing the victims of semi-truck accidents who are residing in the state of Arizona.
Contact us now at 602-345-1981 or fill out our fast and easy online contact form to receive a 100% free case consultation with no obligations necessary.