Trucking companies frequently incentivize their drivers to deliver cargo ahead of schedule, encouraging them to speed, violate road rules, and drive continuously for hours on end. When drivers become fatigued, they may be unable to concentrate on the road or fall asleep at the wheel, causing them to lose control of their vehicle. Unfortunately, serious accidents may happen as a result.
You may be eligible for monetary compensation if you suffered injuries in a truck accident that a negligent truck driver or trucking company caused. A skilled truck accident lawyer can take the appropriate legal steps by filing a personal injury claim with the truck driver or trucking company’s insurer and negotiating a settlement on your behalf. If the insurance company denies fault or otherwise refuses to make you a fair settlement offer, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and take your case to a civil jury trial or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding for an efficient resolution.
Types of Truck Accidents that Result from Truck Driver Fatigue
Trucking accidents stemming from driver fatigue often manifest in various ways, each presenting unique risks and challenges. The consequences of these accidents can be severe due to the extreme size and weight of commercial trucks, including tractor-trailers, big rigs, and 18-wheelers. Some of the most common types of truck accidents that result from driver fatigue include:
- Jackknife Accidents – Jackknifing occurs when a truck’s trailer swings out of alignment with the cab, forming an L or V shape. Fatigue can contribute to a driver’s inability to control their truck, leading to jackknife accidents. These incidents are particularly dangerous as they can block multiple lanes, causing subsequent collisions with other vehicles. They may also cause a truck to skid forward, colliding with numerous vehicles in its path.
- Head-On Collisions – Severe fatigue may cause a truck driver to lose control of their vehicle, resulting in a head-on collision. In this type of accident scenario, the front of a large truck hits the front of an oncoming vehicle travelling in the opposite direction. The effect of such accidents is often catastrophic due to the combined force of two large vehicles colliding head-on. These accidents may also lead to fatalities and serious injuries – especially for drivers and passengers on the receiving end.
- Lane Drifting or Weaving – Fatigue affects a driver’s focus and concentration, leading to lane drifting or weaving. Inattentive truck drivers may unintentionally cross into adjacent travel lanes or veer onto the road shoulder. These erratic movements often pose a significant risk to other vehicles on the road, increasing the likelihood of side-swipe collisions or even truck rollover accidents.
- Rear-End Collisions – Fatigue compromises a driver’s ability to maintain a proper following distance and react promptly to changes in traffic conditions. As a result, rear-end collisions are common in cases of driver fatigue. A fatigued truck driver may fail to notice slowed or stopped traffic ahead, leading to collisions with the vehicles in front of them.
- Off-Road Accidents – Fatigued drivers are more prone to running off the road, especially when the truck leaves the highway or freeway. Off-road accidents can result in collisions with guardrails, barriers, or other obstacles, potentially causing hazards for other road users.
- Rollover Accidents – Fatigue can seriously affect a driver’s ability to maintain control on sharp turns or curves, increasing the risk of rollover accidents. The high center of gravity in trucks makes them susceptible to tipping over when a driver cannot navigate curves effectively. If a large truck tips over, other vehicles may collide, resulting in a multi-vehicle pile-up.
- Multi-Vehicle Pile-ups – In extreme cases, a fatigued truck driver’s inability to react to changing road conditions may contribute to multi-vehicle pile-ups. The initial collision involving a fatigued truck driver may trigger a chain reaction involving numerous vehicles, resulting in widespread damage and injuries.
- Intersection Collisions – Fatigue-related errors in judgment may lead to collisions at busy traffic intersections. Truck drivers experiencing drowsiness might misjudge the timing of traffic signals, fail to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles at the proper times or make incorrect turns. These mistakes can result in intersection accidents with other vehicles.
If you suffered injuries in one of these truck accidents that resulted from driver fatigue, you need to consult with an experienced truck accident lawyer immediately. Your lawyer can file the appropriate legal claim on your behalf and begin settlement negotiations with insurance company adjusters.
Driver and Passenger Injuries in Truck Accidents
Truck accidents often result in severe injuries due to the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks. These collisions may lead to a wide range of injuries that vary in severity and long-term consequences for the accident victims. Some of the most common injuries that result from commercial truck accidents include:
- Neck and back whiplash injuries
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Complete and incomplete paralysis injuries
- Bone fractures
- Open cuts and lacerations
- Internal injuries
Moreover, the mental and psychological effects of a truck accident can extend beyond the physical injuries that an accident victim suffers. Many victims experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), characterized by persistent anxiety, flashbacks, and nightmares related to the traumatic event.
The recovery process for truck accident victims often involves extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and ongoing care. Physical, emotional, and financial burdens can also be overwhelming for injured accident victims, underscoring the importance of legal recourse to secure compensation for lost income, pain and suffering, and the overall effects on the accident victim’s life.
If you suffered any of these physical or mental injuries in a truck accident, your truck accident lawyer can handle the legal components of your claim or lawsuit while you focus on making a full medical recovery.
Maximizing Financial Compensation for Truck Accident Injuries
Truck accident victims have the right to pursue various types of monetary damages to compensate them for their accident’s physical, emotional, and financial effects. These damages that victims recover help rebuild their lives and cover the costs associated with injuries and other accident-related consequences. Available monetary damages in a truck accident claim or lawsuit include:
- Lost Wages – Reimbursement for income that the accident victim lost because of their inability to work immediately following the accident (and sometimes well into the future)
- Loss of Earning Capacity – If the accident victim’s injuries result in a diminished ability to earn income in the future, they may pursue damages to compensate for their loss of earning capacity. These damages are particularly relevant in cases where the accident victim’s injuries lead to long-term disabilities or impairments.
- Property Damage – Compensation for repair or replacement costs for the accident victim’s vehicle and personal belongings that suffered damage in the collision
- Future Damages – Truck accident victims may also seek monetary damages that anticipate future expenses and losses. These damages may include compensation for potential income losses if the injuries result in long-term disabilities or impairments.
- Loss of Consortium – Damages that the injured accident victim’s spouse or family member pursues for loss of companionship, support, and intimacy due to the victim’s injuries
- Pain and Suffering – Compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life resulting from the truck accident
An injured truck accident victim can also recover punitive damages, depending upon their jurisdiction. The purpose of these damages is to punish the at-fault truck driver or trucking company for gross negligence or intentional misconduct. These damages are less common and are typically only recoverable when the at-fault party’s actions are deemed particularly egregious.
Finally, in cases where a truck accident results in a fatality, surviving family members may pursue wrongful death damages. These damages can include monetary compensation for funeral and burial expenses, loss of future financial support, and loss of the deceased individual’s guidance, companionship, comfort, and care.
The pursuit and recovery of these monetary damages require a comprehensive understanding of the accident victim’s specific losses. An experienced truck accident lawyer near you can estimate your case’s value based on your injuries and the overall circumstances surrounding your accident. Your lawyer can then take the necessary steps to maximize your overall monetary award through a favourable settlement offer or litigation result in the court system.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident resulting from fatigue, the truck driver and the trucking company may be responsible. You should never try to negotiate with the insurance company by yourself. A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area can identify all potentially responsible parties in your accident case and take the appropriate legal measures to secure the financial compensation you need for your injuries and losses.
Throughout the proceedings, your lawyer can aggressively negotiate with insurance company representatives or litigate your case in court while representing you during various legal proceedings. Every step of the way, your lawyer can address your concerns and guide you to make informed and intelligent decisions.
You begin the process with a free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney. They can assess your rights and advise on the compensation you might expect. You can ask questions to determine whether this is the firm for you. Contact a law firm near you today.