It is a very serious situation when the driver of a passenger vehicle is involved in a collision with a big-rig truck. Often the driver of the passenger vehicle is seriously injured because of the difference in the size and weight of the two vehicles. Because of the seriousness of the injuries, it is important the passenger vehicle driver is properly represented in a case against the driver and the trucking company.
Common Types of Collisions
Common types of truck collisions include, but are not limited to:
- Swinging Turn Crash: This can occur when a truck driver makes a wide-turn to accommodate the long trailer of the truck but inadvertently causes the truck to cross over the median lines of the roadway. An collision occurs if the truck then collides with vehicles on either side of it. Also, a common occurrence, is that the truck driver will swing from the inside lane to the outside lane to make a right-hand turn but not adequately single the turn to any drivers behind the truck in the inside lane.
- Truck Rollover: This type of collision results after a truck tips over onto its side or roof. Trucks are especially vulnerable to rollovers due to their higher center of gravity.
- Under-Ride Collision: This type of collision occurs when a smaller vehicle runs into the rear of a truck due to a number of reasons including faulty rear brakes on the truck or because the truck driver slowed unexpectedly. In the under-ride scenario the passenger vehicle ends up getting stuck underneath due to the major height discrepancy.
- Lost Load Collision: This can occur when the truck’s cargo is not properly secured to the truck, resulting in the cargo flying off the truck and colliding with other vehicles.
- Rear-End Collision: A rear-end collision can occur when a truck driver fails to allow for enough distance to safely bring his/her truck to a stop behind another vehicle, then colliding into the rear of the vehicle. Due to the increased size and weight of trucks, this type of collision can be extremely dangerous.
Causes of Truck Collisions
Common causes of truck collisions include, but are not limited to:
- Speeding: Due to the increased weight of a truck, drivers must account for extra breaking distance, especially when speeding.
- Driver Fatigue: Though there are federal and state limits on the maximum number of hours a truck driver can drive, drivers still can become fatigued (and therefore less alert) when driving long hours.
- Improper Route: If a driver takes an improper route, he/she can cause a collision by driving on roads that are too narrow or curved for a truck to travel on.
- Improper Loading: An improperly loaded truck can increase the likelihood of a truck tipping over, and can also affect the ease of braking and/or handling.
- Improper Maintenance: A truck’s safety equipment must be regularly inspected and properly maintained. In the absence of such inspection and/or maintenance, collisions are much more likely to occur.
Proper Representation on Trucking Case
The trucking industry is used to dealing with the aftermath of a trucking collision and has standard practices and procedures that it follows. By contrast, the driver of a car involved in a trucking collision may not know what to do and can therefore quickly get in over his head when trying to hold a truck driver or employer responsible for the collision. As such, proper representation is key when trying to make sure that justice is obtained for the injured driver.
A qualified law firm will work with the driver to:
- Investigate the trucking company’s records, as well as the truck driver’s driving record, and ensure that the relevant logs and records have been maintained.
- Hire proper experts to examine the incident and the trucking company’s practices. Such experts include accident reconstructionists, trucking safety standards experts, etc.
- Investigate the practices of the trucking company to ensure that the truck was properly inspected and maintained, and the truck driver was sufficiently trained and managed.
- Ensure that the driver’s injuries are properly investigated, including the driver’s medical care, medical costs, and losses in future wages. Relatedly, a qualified attorney will try to ensure that any award properly accounts for the driver’s medical costs, losses in present and future wages, and pain and suffering.
- Investigate whether the trucking equipment passed safety checks and that the equipment was used correctly.
- Collect and examine vital evidence related to the collision in order to best protect the injured driver.
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