While many accidents can happen on any roadways, there is one type of devastating accident that most often occurs on state highways and interstates: the truck accident. Because trucks are heavy vehicles traveling at high speeds, any collisions that occur can be disastrous. In addition to this, while many common private automobiles have several safety features to protect the driver, these features may be inadequate when subjected to the pressure of such a large force. Truck accidents can leave a person severely injured, or worse.
Truck Accidents and Liability
When a person suffers an injury from a trucking accident, they may be entitled to compensation, depending on the specifics of the situation. Accidents are common on the road, however, many can be prevented if a driver had simply taken greater care in their duty to pay attention to the road and other drivers. Failure to do so can place a truck driver, their cargo, and every other car on the road in danger. In addition, trucks are commonly part of a fleet or a larger company's service for shipping. A shipping company should have certain standards for how their vehicles are kept, and how well their drivers are trained. Violations of these standards can not only cause accidents but also shows a lack of care, which may be argued in court.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
There are a number of reasons why a truck driver can get into an accident. While accidents happen every day, at times the cause of these accidents goes deeper than mere happenstance. Sometimes, the driver could have taken better care to avoid the accident. In court, this may be referred to as negligence. Some common causes of trucking accidents include:
- Driver Error: A common cause of any accident is a driver's failure to pay proper attention to the road and their surroundings. The lumbering and unwieldy nature of large trucks require a driver to take some extra care when doing things like changing lanes or maintaining speed. A truck driver that doesn't pay attention or exceeds the speed limit may have been negligent in causing an accident.
- Fatigued Driving: Commercial truck driving, as a profession, often entails strict deadlines and extremely long hours on the road. This can lead to a high degree of driver fatigue, which can interfere with a driver's ability to properly operate their vehicle. Many trucking companies instate mandatory check-ins and rest. However, drivers that fail to adhere, or companies that fail to enforce these safety measures may be considered negligent.
- Poor Vehicle Maintenance: While the everyday driver is responsible for ensuring that their vehicle is fit to drive on the roads, a trucking company is responsible for ensuring that their fleeted vehicles are road worthy. A truck that falls into disrepair on the road can have difficulty stopping, or may even end up flipping over. The consequences of either of these events can be catastrophic.
- Distracted Driving: A truck driver who allows himself to be distracted by a cell phone or other device on the road is likely not only violating a law and possibly his company's policy but also endangering every other driver on the road.
- Impaired Driving: One common cause of accidents nationwide is impaired driving. If a truck driver is impaired on the road, they are not only committing a crime but also putting themselves and everyone else at risk.
Common Injuries Seen in Truck Accidents
Truck injuries are serious incidents that can cause several injuries, or even death, in some cases. The weight, power, and speed necessary for these vehicles to pull their cargo can lead to disaster in the event of a collision. Some injuries that are common to trucking accidents can include:
- Serious Injuries: A truck accident can cause a person to suffer broken bones, bruising, and other injuries, to varying degrees.
- Traumatic Injuries: A traumatic injury is an injury that endangers a person's life. These types of injuries require immediate emergency medical care.
- Permanent Injuries: A truck that collides with a smaller vehicle can cause an injury that results in permanent disability to a person.
- Death: Sadly, because of the very nature of these types of accidents, death may result from a truck collision.
Any of these injuries may, depending on the situation, warrant the filing of a lawsuit against a trucking company or its drivers.
Common Damages Claimed in Truck Accidents
If a person chooses to file a case over what happened to them, the case will typically revolve around either a personal injury claim or a wrongful death claim. When a lawsuit is filed, the victim of the negligent act is referred to as the "plaintiff" while the person who is accused of the negligent act is known as the "defendant." A lawsuit can claim a number of monetary awards from the defendant, as well as necessitate certain steps for preventing a similar situation from occurring in the future. Some common forms of damages seen in truck accidents include:
- Medical Costs: Truck accident injuries can be particularly severe, and often entail hospital stays or repeat doctor's visits, which can lead to a mountain of medical bills.
- Funeral Costs: When a person loses their life in a truck accident, their family may file a wrongful death suit, and claim the funeral costs as damages.
- Loss of Property/Property Damage: Truck accidents are particularly severe and can severely damage or completely destroy any vehicles caught in the fray. Trucking companies can be demanded to pay repair and replacement costs for vehicles.
- Loss of Income: If a person loses their life in a truck accident and their family depended on them for support, the family may file loss of income damages as part of their wrongful death claim. Also, if a person is disabled and unable to work as a result of an accident, they can file loss of income.
- Non-economic Damages: Non-economic damages are those that cannot typically be measured in terms of finance, and may include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and possibly certain demands of the defendant to take future preventive actions.
- Punitive Damages: In cases of extreme or egregious wrongdoing, a person may make the demand for punitive damages, which are meant to serve as a sort of financial punishment, especially to corporations.
Contact a Saratoga Springs Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in New York, contact D'Orazio Peterson today.