Like all other vehicle operators, truck drivers must follow all traffic laws and safety regulations while on the road. Similarly, the trucking companies that employ these drivers have an obligation to make sure that their trucks are safe at all times. They also have to ensure that their drivers operate the trucks in a careful manner. When truck drivers and trucking companies violate these duties of care—and an accident occurs—they and their insurance companies may be responsible for the resulting damages.
Truck accidents can lead to debilitating injuries, pain, suffering, and inconvenience. If you or a person you love suffered injuries in a recent truck accident, you should have experienced legal counsel in your corner representing you every step of the way.
If you are eligible, an experienced Edmonton truck accident lawyer in your area can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault truck driver or trucking company’s insurer on your behalf. Your lawyer can then begin settlement negotiations and, if necessary, file a lawsuit against all potentially responsible parties in the court system. Your lawyer will do everything possible to help you maximize the monetary compensation you recover for your truck accident injuries.
Performing the Necessary Repair Work
First, trucking companies must ensure that their vehicles are in the proper working condition. This includes ensuring that repair facilities make the necessary repairs on both tractors and trailers—and that they do so in a careful and workmanlike manner.
Trucking companies must also ensure that repair facilities perform routine maintenance on their trucks and trailers. When trucking companies fail to insist on the proper maintenance and repairs, and a truck accident occurs while a driver is out on the road, the trucking company may be fully or partially responsible for the resulting injuries and damages.
Following all Motor Carrier Regulations
Trucking companies, along with truck drivers, have a duty to comply with all national motor carrier regulations. These regulations typically pertain to truck weight limits and proper loading and unloading procedures. They also prescribe instructions for properly securing cargo to a truck bed.
When trucking companies fail to follow regulations regarding truck weight limits, the truck’s center of gravity may become offset while in motion. This is especially true when the truck travels at high speed. As a result, the truck may overturn in the roadway, causing a severe accident or chain-reaction collision.
Moreover, when trucking companies fail to ensure that drivers properly secure their cargo onto trailers, the payload may come loose and slide into the road when the trailer is in motion. As a result, the oncoming vehicle might hit the cargo, causing a severe accident.
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Supervising All Truck Drivers
Trucking companies also keep their vehicles safe by supervising truck drivers at all times. This supervision includes ensuring drivers comply with all continuing education requirements, certifications, and coursework. When trucking companies fail to properly supervise their drivers, and an accident occurs, the trucking company may be partially at-fault.
Hiring and Retaining Capable Drivers
Finally, trucking companies keep their vehicles safe by hiring and retaining only capable, safe drivers. Companies must not hire or retain a truck driver with prior moving violations or intoxicated driving convictions. If they do—and an accident occurs—the company may be responsible for the resulting injuries and damages.
You are not alone if you suffered injuries in a truck collision resulting from some type of trucking company negligence. A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area can go over all of your legal options with you and help you file a claim or a lawsuit that seeks the monetary damages you deserve.
Types of Truck Driver Negligence that Cause Serious Accidents
While trucking company negligence may cause or contribute to a severe accident, truck driver negligence is also a factor in most accident scenarios. A truck driver is negligent when they deviate from the prevailing standard of care—usually by violating some road rule or motor carrier regulation.
Some of the most common types of truck driver negligence that cause accidents include speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way, road rage, intoxicated driving, distracted driving, motor carrier violations, and driver fatigue.
Many roadways have separate speed limits that truck drivers must follow. When drivers significantly exceed the speed limit, they increase their chances of causing an accident. The same is true when truck drivers fail to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles at traffic intersections, including at stop signs, yield signs, and red traffic lights.
Truck drivers also cause serious accidents when they engage in road rage. Road rage is a driver’s inappropriate overreaction to a roadway scenario that arises. In many cases, truck drivers are in a hurry to arrive at their final destination ahead of schedule—usually because of a financial bonus from their trucking company.
When truck drivers are in a hurry, they may resort to aggressive driving maneuvers, including tailgating, aggressively weaving in and out of traffic, and failing to use turn signals appropriately. When drivers execute these maneuvers, they may inadvertently cause a crash that leads to severe injuries.
Intoxicated driving is another unfortunate cause of truck accidents. While passenger vehicle drivers are legally intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, truck drivers must not have any alcohol in their system while behind the wheel. In addition to receiving criminal penalties upon conviction, an intoxicated truck driver—and the trucking company that employs them—may be responsible for civil damages if the drunk driver causes an accident that leads to injuries. Alberta imposes administrative penalties when the BAC is 0.05 percent and higher.
Alcohol, in particular, can significantly impair a truck driver’s ability to operate their vehicle carefully. Alcohol is a depressant and substantially slows down a driver’s reaction time and ability to function. It can also limit the driver’s concentration and cause physical symptoms, including blurred vision. As a result, the driver may be unable to see an oncoming vehicle or pedestrian, causing a severe crash.
Truck accidents may also occur when drivers operate their vehicles while distracted. A distracted truck driver fails to observe the word. Instead of watching the road, a driver might fiddle with a GPS navigation system or try to text while driving. When a truck driver turns their head or looks down, even for a second or two, that may be sufficient time for them to miss seeing a vehicle in the vicinity, negligently causing a collision.
Like trucking companies, truck drivers are also responsible for following all national motor carrier regulations. When they violate these regulations by exceeding load limits or failing to properly secure cargo onto a trailer, they may cause a truck rollover accident or chain-reaction collision, leading to severe injuries.
Finally, truck drivers may cause accidents when they operate their vehicles while fatigued. Many trucking companies incentivize their drivers to work long hours and deliver their cargo to its final destination ahead of schedule. Therefore, many drivers will resort to stimulants and other drugs to keep themselves awake for long hours. However, these drugs sometimes cause drivers to become sleepy while behind the wheel, limiting their concentration and delaying their reaction time to roadway situations. Moreover, if a driver falls utterly asleep at the wheel, they will lose control of their truck, potentially causing a severe crash.
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident that resulted from negligence, your lawyer can help you take the necessary legal action against the at-fault truck driver, as well as the trucking company that employs the driver.
What Happens with Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies who are Negligent?
When trucking companies are their employee drivers behave negligently, they can cause serious accidents, which in turn lead to debilitating injuries.
Some of the most common accidents that result from trucking company and driver negligence include:
- T-bone or broadside accidents, where the front of a large truck hits the side of an adjacent vehicle
- Rear-end collisions, where the front of a large truck hits the back of another vehicle, usually near a traffic intersection
- Sideswipe accidents occur when the side of a tractor-trailer strikes the side of another vehicle travelling in the same direction.
- Head-on collisions, where the front of a large truck strikes the front of an oncoming vehicle, leading to severe injuries and sometimes fatalities
If you or a person you love suffered injuries in one of these accidents that resulted from trucking company or driver negligence, your lawyer can help you file a claim or lawsuit with the appropriate insurance company and pursue the damages you deserve for your accident-related injuries.
Injuries That Truck Accident Victims Suffer Due to Negligence
When a large truck or tractor-trailer hits a much smaller passenger vehicle, it is almost always the passenger vehicle occupants who suffer the more severe injuries.
The injuries that a truck accident victim sustains often depend upon the force of the collision and the way the accident victim’s body moves inside their vehicle during the crash. For example, a part of the accident victim’s body might strike the steering wheel, headrest, dashboard, window, or door frame of their vehicle, causing debilitating injuries.
Some of the most common truck-accident injuries that victims suffer include traumatic head and brain damage, internal organ injuries, cuts and abrasions, bruises, soft tissue contusions, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and paralysis.
As soon as possible after a truck accident—and preferably on the same day—you should go to an emergency room or urgent care center located in your area. While you are there, the medical provider on duty can order the necessary MRIs, X-rays, and CAT scans to accurately diagnose your medical condition. If you need an emergency medical procedure, the doctor can schedule that for you. Moreover, the provider can recommend future care in the event your symptoms become worse.
While you focus your attention on recovering from your truck accident injuries, a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area can begin advocating for your legal interests. First, your lawyer can start to gather up your medical treatment records, medical bills, investigation documents, eyewitness statements, and photographs and assemble them into a settlement demand package for you. Once you finish your medical treatment, your lawyer can send these documents to the insurance company adjuster handling your claim and begin negotiating a fair settlement offer on your behalf.
Filing a Timely Truck Accident Claim or Lawsuit
Victims of truck accidents that result from trucking company and driver negligence only have two years from their accident date in which to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit for damages. This statute of limitations is a hard-and-fast deadline in most cases, and a late filing will lead to the court dismissing your case. If that happens, you will not be eligible to recover any monetary damages for your injuries.
One of the most important steps you can take to avoid missing a statute of limitations deadline is to contact a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer to represent you as soon as possible. If the statute of limitations is running short in your case, your lawyer can promptly file a lawsuit on your behalf and work to get you the monetary compensation you need.
Call a Truck Accident Lawyer in Your Area to Learn More
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident that resulted from trucking company or driver negligence, an experienced truck accident lawyer in your area can meet with you to discuss your accident circumstances—and the injuries you suffered. Your lawyer can then help you file a personal injury claim with the appropriate insurance company, negotiate with the settlement adjuster, and litigate your case in court if necessary.
Your lawyer can also represent you at all legal proceedings and aggressively advocate for your legal interests. Your lawyer will do everything they possibly can to maximize your potential damages, including compensation for your lost wages, inconvenience, pain, suffering, and mental distress. Most importantly, your lawyer can do this for you while you focus on the most important thing; recovering from your injuries. Reach out to a Edmonton personal injury lawyer.