5 Common Causes of Truck Accidents

An accident with a semi or tractor-trailer truck can be disastrous for everyone involved. Walking away from an accident of this magnitude is nothing short of a miracle. The majority of the time trucking accidents cause severe injuries that completely alter a person’s quality of life.

Victims of trucking accidents need experienced representation to get the compensation they need for their medical expenses, pain and suffering. While many attorneys handle auto accident cases, crashes involving large trucks require a different level of investigation. Attorneys must understand the nuances of trucking laws to hold all guilty parties involved liable, so the maximum compensation can be secured for victims.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a large truck, the attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek have the knowledge and experience to build a strong case that may secure compensation for your injuries. Speeding Semi TruckTo learn more about your legal rights contact us at 832-690-7000.

5 Causes of Truck Accidents

After horrific accidents like these, the question often is how did this happen? The unfortunate truth is that despite the minor details, truck accident causes are surprisingly similar. 3,744 people lost their lives in truck accidents across the country in 2014, and of these over 60% involved tractor trailers.

5 glaring causes of truck accidents are:

1. Driver Inattention

Back in 2011, an inattentive driver of a heavy truck collided with an Amtrak train in Nevada. Besides driver inattention, another factor contributing to this accident was the truck’s poorly maintained brakes. The collision completely annihilated the tractor-trailer, destroyed several passenger railcars, and ignited a fire that destroyed two more. It took the lives of the truck driver, the conductor and 4 passengers while injuring 15 others. All this destruction was caused by a mere 5 second glance away from the road.

The lesson to be learned here is the importance of focusing on your drive, especially if you operate large vehicles.

2. Driver Fatigue

According to an older study published in Nature International Weekly Journal of Science, even moderate levels of fatigue produce higher levels of performance impairment than intoxication from alcohol or drugs. For truck drivers, operating on 5 hours or less of sleep for days in a row is comparable to driving drunk.

Federal law specifies how many hours a truck driver can drive in a 24-hour period. If the driver exceeds this and causes a crash, the driver can be held accountable by law. Additionally, the trucking company may be at fault, especially if the company was aware that drivers were exceeding their allowed driving hours.

3. Unsafe Cargo

Driver attentiveness and vehicle maintenance is critical to avoid unsafe cargo crashes. If a truck is driving too fast for road and weather conditions, the result can be a frightening and potentially deadly rollover crash. Because trucks have a high center of gravity, they are less stable than passenger vehicles.

Depending on the type of cargo the truck is carrying, an abrupt turn can shift the load, which may result in a crash. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), over 94% of rollovers occur in trucks with a partial load.

Not only do physics play a part in unsafe cargo conditions, the cargo itself may be unsafe – especially when the cargo contains hazardous materials. If you are hit by a truck with unsafe cargo, you may be able to hold the shipper responsible, in addition to the truck driver and the trucking company.

4. Driving Under the Influence

No matter the contents of a semi, driving a commercial truck carries a much higher risk for devastation than your family sedan. This is especially true when it comes to drinking and driving. In fact, the FMCSA regulations limit the BAC to half the legal limit – 0.04. Regulations also state that a driver may not drive within four hours of consuming any alcoholic beverage.

Commercial drivers are required to submit to random drug and alcohol testing after an accident or if there is reason to suspect them of drinking on the job. Still, truck accidents involving inebriated drivers happen often. The Texas Department of Transportation reported 1,041 people lost their lives to drunk driving accidents in 2014.

If you’ve been in an accident with a suspected drunk truck driver, please do not hesitate to contact the authorities immediately.

5. Improper Training

Handling a vehicle with a high center of gravity that weighs over 80,000 pounds, especially around tight corners and long stretches of road takes considerable skill. Experienced truckers often advise their peers on the dangers of becoming complacent behind the wheel after decades of being on the road – and these are career drivers. An inexperienced driver behind the wheel may unintentionally wreak havoc on those they share the road with should they make even the slightest miscalculation.

Unfortunately, the only way to truly tell if an accident was due to driver inexperience is by investigating the driver’s qualification file (DQF). Trucking companies are very reluctant to hand these files over and may flat out deny turning it over should you make the request yourself. However, a skilled truck accident attorney can use the power of the law to unearth the facts about the driver involved in your accident.

do you still have questions?

contact our office to speak to a lawyer.

CONTACT US TODAY

What to Do After a Truck Accident

Should you have the misfortune of being in or even witnessing a crash with a large truck, the very first thing to do is call 911 to get the police and medics on the scene right away. If you can safely do so, there are several steps you can take following a truck accident such as:

  • Take photos of the scene, including the location, damage to all vehicles involved and any injuries sustained.
  • Exchange insurance information with all parties involved.
  • Cooperate with police, but do not discuss details and definitely do not admit fault.
  • Seek medical attention to treat and document injuries.
  • Get a copy of the police report.
  • Do not give a statement or sign any documents from insurance companies without speaking to an attorney.

Remember that truck accidents are more complex than car accidents, in part because there are more players involved when it comes to liability. Insurance adjusters often work in the interest of saving their company money, as opposed to awarding the victim what is truly needed to cover the multitude of expensive injuries that a truck accident can cause.

Often individual insurance policies have award limits that are difficult to negotiate on your own, especially if you are in pain or grieving.

Testimonials

Read what our past clients have to say about our legal services. 

Daryl M.

5 star icon

“My experience with Mr. Skrabanek was honestly far better than all expectations that we had. He took care of us like we were family, making sure me and my wife always felt like a priority and walked us through all of the concerns that we had. If you are looking for a professional who truly cares for his clients you can stop the search. You won’t be disappointed.”

Denise J.

5 star icon

“Mike and his team helped me settle an injury claim case. I was informed and helped through every step and they were always professional and very responsive. I really enjoyed working with them.”

Victoria S.

5 star icon

“My attorney, Michael, did an amazing job with my case. He’s a straight shooter and has a vast knowledge of the law combined with an extensive amount of experience, making him a fantastic attorney. I fully recommend this firm.

Thank you Pierce Skrabenek!”

Gabriela C.

5 star icon

“Paul Skrabanek of the law firm Pierce Skrabanek was very professional and went above & beyond in handling my daughter's case. Very dedicated, worked diligently, and got justice for my family. If I could give a higher rating than 5 stars I would. Thank you and your firm for such tenacity.”

Raymond H.

5 star icon

“These guys are awesome, they were very informative from the beginning to end, working with them was super smooth, and I had all questions answered thoroughly. The whole team at this firm works to help in every way they can. They were able to get me the compensation I deserved and exceeded my expectations. If you’re ever in need of a stellar team to stand behind you and work for you, these guys are the ones you would want in your corner.

Thank you very much Paul and thank your team for me.”

Cam F.

5 star icon

“Working with Paul Skrabanek was a very positive experience. He helped me understand the legal process as someone who has never been a part of a lawsuit, and was able to get me settled quickly and painlessly! Loved working with Pierce Skrabanek law firm!”

Michele R.

5 star icon

Michael Pierce and his team, especially Krystle, were very professional, always available (even on weekends), and very knowledgeable. We appreciate their hard work on our case and the time they took to explain every detail as our case progressed. Mike is a phenomenal attorney and we highly recommend them for your legal needs.”

Beverly C.

5 star icon

“I found Mr. Skrabanek to be very trustworthy, creditable, and genuinely concerned about my well-being while I was going through this very difficult process. He showed constant concern for me being completely satisfied before making any final decisions.”

Diane T.

5 star icon

“Fantastic team of attorneys and staff dedicated to their clients. Michael Pierce is an outstanding trial attorney for personal injury cases.”

Deborah S.

5 star icon

“We watched, participated & listened to Paul Skrabanek fight for a settlement which we could be happy with. Just this month the case has been put to rest.”

Please fill out the form below for your

FREE CONSULTATION

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

How a Texas Truck Accident Attorney Can Help

Trucking accidents involve several laws and layers of government regulations. Successful litigation of these cases calls for a knowledgeable and thorough team of attorneys. The energy and diligence it takes to deal with insurance and trucking companies may be too much for an injured victim or bereaved family to handle.

The attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek have a solid record helping people in Houston and elsewhere in Texas. We’d like to help take the burden of legal issues off your shoulders, so you can focus on healing. Call us today 832-690-7000 or contact us online to learn more. There is no cost and no obligation to speak with an attorney about your rights, so you have nothing to lose.

Frequently Asked Questions