Although all car accidents are scary, tractor-trailer collisions are particularly terrifying due to the sheer size and weight of the semis involved. Because these large trucks ship an enormous amount of freight across the nation every day, these accidents are unfortunately becoming increasingly common.
The victims of tractor-trailer accidents often sustain devastating injuries, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, paralysis, loss of limbs, massive internal trauma, and permanent disability. Because these injuries can change your life forever, you are entitled to compensation to give you the best shot at being whole again.
What Causes Semi Accidents?
There are a number of reasons why tractor-trailers are responsible for so many tragic accidents. Most of these reasons are directly related to the massive size of these vehicles or dangers that frequently arise in long-haul trucking.
- Excessive Speed. Truck drivers often work against tight deadlines. As a result, they are tempted to drive at excessive speeds that endanger both themselves and the drivers around them. When truckers drive too fast, they are more likely to lose control and less likely to regain it in time to avoid crashing into another vehicle. Like trains, it takes them much longer to slow down than a standard passenger car.
- Driver fatigue. Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration imposes hours-of-service rules that require truckers to take breaks and drive no more than 70 hours per week, these rules depend on driver compliance. Where there is a rule, there is always a temptation to break it. Unfortunately, drivers are pressured to work faster and longer to make deliveries on time. When driver fatigue causes truckers to make mistakes, other drivers suffer the consequences.
- Driver distraction. For truck drivers, the inside of the tractor-trailer often serves as a mobile office and home away from home. Because they spend so much time in their vehicles, truckers often engage in behavior that compromises their ability to drive safely. There have been a number of stories in the media about truck drivers causing accidents while texting or posting on social media. These distractions might provide a quick moment of fun, but they often lead to disaster and even death.
- Poor maintenance. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires drivers and carriers to conduct routine tractor-trailer maintenance, including roadside checks, post-trip inspection reports, and periodic inspections. Additionally, certain equipment, such as brakes, must be regularly inspected to maintain safety standards. Failure to carry out this maintenance can cause preventable accidents.
- Inadequate driver training. Safely driving an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer requires special skill and specific training. Without the proper training, drivers are more likely to make dangerous and deadly errors.
Who Is Responsible?
Tractor-trailer collisions are different than ordinary car accidents. Because these cases involve severe injuries and higher insurance limits, they are much more complex than standard motor vehicle accident cases. Additionally, there are typically multiple defendants responsible for varying degrees of negligence. Responsible parties can include the driver, the carrier, and the carrier’s insurance company.
- The driver. Drivers can be held accountable for unsafe operation, such as excessive speed, violating federal hours-of-service rules, and reckless behavior.
- The carrier. Victims can sue carriers for a variety of reasons, including negligent hiring practices, failure to maintain equipment and vehicles, and bad corporate policies that encourage drivers to break federal regulations or risk termination.
- Insurance companies. Plaintiffs injured in tractor-trailer collisions can also sue a carrier’s insurance company directly.
Additionally, victims might also be able to file lawsuits against equipment manufacturers, loading companies, and other third parties.
Mike Brown Law – Experience and Dedication
My law firm is focused on getting the best results for my clients. I understand that these accidents happen in a split second but that the effects last a lifetime. In some tragic cases, they cut a promising life short. If you have been involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer, I will help you pursue justice against the individuals and corporations responsible and work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. Call me today at (706) 731-9925 to discuss your case.
We provide personalized and dedicated representation for injury victims and others in the following matters: