There are some enormous trucks on US roads, and if one hits you in an accident, the full force of its weight can cause serious injuries, if you even survive. Truck drivers are highly trained and the companies that operate the trucks are regulated by state and Federal governments.
With Federal rules alone there are safety regulations that must be followed, medical requirements for drivers, licenses and insurances that need to be purchased, and many other things that the operators can face stiff penalties for if they are found to be non-compliant. The state regulations can be even more stringent, and operators need to know and comply with them for all the states their trucks travel through.
Companies need to ensure that their trucks are well maintained and that the loads they are carrying do not exceed permitted weight limits. However, no matter how rigidly they stick to the rules, sometimes things will go wrong, and would you know what to do after an accident with a truck?
What Action To Take After A Truck Accident
The first thing to do after any kind of road accident, including those that involve trucks, is to check if anyone has suffered from any injuries, and to call the emergency services if they have. Most trucks have the company name emblazoned on the side, so make a note of any details shown, and of the registration number of the truck and any other vehicles. Obtain the names, contact details, and license numbers if all the drivers involved and the contact information for anyone that witnessed the accident. Take lots of photos, ones on your mobile phone will be acceptable. Photos can often be more useful to a truck accident attorney than written evidence, as they can visually show damage to vehicles, road conditions, and weather conditions at the time of the accident.
As soon as you are able to, contact a truck accident attorney so that they can advise you what to do and what not to do. Remember to let them know every little detail, as something that might seem minor to you can be a significant factor if you decide to pursue compensation.
What Causes Truck Accidents
Truck drivers have an excellent record for safety on US roads; if a driver does not maintain a good driving record, most operators would dismiss them. They drive hundreds of thousands of miles every year and most journeys are incident-free. Even so, there are still around half a million road accidents every year where a truck is involved. There are several reasons for truck accidents, just a few samples being:
- Tiredness – There are limits to how many hours a truck driver can spend behind the wheel, and how long they need to rest afterwards is also governed. Sometimes, drivers will push themselves to the limit of the permitted driving hours and become tired as a result. About one quarter of truck drivers admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel at least once.
- Speeding – Most truck drivers have the sense not to exceed speed limits because of the weight they know they have behind them. But of all the accidents involving trucks where a fatality occurred, the driver had at least one previous speeding conviction in over 20 percent of the cases. This compares to 18 percent for car drivers.
- Failure in Maintenance – If a truck is not regularly and safely maintained, something could fail and cause an accident. The same applies to the inspection process. All the trucks have to undergo safety inspections, and if a problem is missed, that could also cause an accident.
- Manufacturing Fault –There could be a problem in the manufacturing process of a truck. The way trucks are designed and built means that there are many fabricated parts included in its construction. They are more complex than ever, and if parts are not put together in the correct way, or a part is faulty, that could lead to an accident.
- Owner or Employer Negligence – Truck owners have a legal duty to maintain their vehicles and to hire competent drivers to operate them. They are also responsible for ensuring the staff employed to maintain them are suitably qualified. If they are negligent, the result could be an accident involving one of their trucks.
- Improper Loading –Whatever the truck is carrying has to be loaded in a proper manner. The weight needs to be evenly distributed so that cornering is not a problem.
- Alcohol and Drugs –Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a very common cause of road accidents in the US, but the percentage of truck drivers that cause accidents in this way is very low compared to other vehicle drivers.
Has Your Life Been Changed By A Truck Accident?
If your life has been changed because of injuries caused by a truck accident, you should speak with you accident attorney about claiming compensation. You could have suffered injuries mean you can no longer work, drive, or carry out the everyday tasks that we all take for granted. It could be that you need 24-hour care, or that you have to be retrained for some other type of work. The range of ways your life can be altered by a truck accident is huge, and you should be compensated for this.
All the costs involved in your care should also be reimbursed. Medical bills and carers can cost a lot of money, particularly if you need long-term care. Even for injuries that heal in a few weeks, your life can be turned upside down until you have recovered, and the emotional problems caused could go on for much longer.
The importance of using a reliable truck accident attorney to handle your compensation claim cannot be underestimated and finding the right one to help you should be a priority. If you have had your life changed by a truck accident, you should contact your accident attorney as soon as possible so that they can make sure no one, such as the truck operators or their insurers, tries to take advantage of your situation and pay you less compensation than you deserve.