Thousands of people are injured or killed yearly in truck accidents. Truck accidents are different from normal car accidents in several ways. For starters, the outcome is usually far more disastrous for all parties involved. Additionally, the claims process is more complex than a passenger vehicle accident.
In this article, we’ll go over some of the top causes of truck accidents and common injuries that result from them.
Truck Driver Fatigue
Truck drivers often face pressure to work long hours to meet deadlines. Some drivers even violate federal regulations on the limit for driving hours.
All truck drivers must follow federal laws that regulate how many hours they can drive without a break. These laws are in place to ensure that truck drivers do not get burnt out or keep driving while fatigued. Sadly, many drivers continue to drive even when they are tired. A truck driver falling asleep at the wheel can lead to a fatal collision.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of all traffic accidents. But when a truck driver is distracted, the outcome can be deadly.
Distracted driving is dangerous, irresponsible, and illegal. Examples of distracted driving include texting, eating, changing the song on the radio, or watching a video while driving. Anything that takes away from the driver’s visual, manual, or cognitive attention to the road is considered a distraction.
It only takes a few seconds for a truck driver to take their eyes off the road and cause a major collision. This will result in hundreds of thousands of dollars of property damage, injuries, or, worst case, multiple fatalities.
Drunk or Impaired Driving
Drunk driving is another common cause of trucking accidents. Truck drivers driving for 11 to 12 hours at a time might feel the urge to get drunk after driving for a long period. But drinking under the influence beyond the legal limit is a felony for all drivers.
Additionally, the legal BAC limit for truck drivers differs from all other drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) clearly states that the limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) for commercially licensed drivers is .04%. That’s half the normal BAC limit for drivers, which is .08%. Moreover, it’s illegal for truck drivers to do any of the following:
- Drink alcohol within four hours of operating a commercial vehicle for their company
- Drinking while on duty
- Drinking while driving
Reckless Truck Maneuvering
Commercial trucks like 18-wheelers are massive. The average semi-truck in the US is about 72 feet long. That’s about five times the size of an average sedan, at around 14 feet long. So imagine the impact of a reckless truck driver compared to a reckless car driver. The results can be extremely dangerous for everyone on the road. Reckless truck driving behaviors include speeding and making turns without enough clearance.
Lack of Proper Truck Maintenance
Large commercial trucks like tractor-trailers and semi-trucks need to be in good condition to ensure road safety. By law, drivers and trucking companies are required to adequately and properly maintain their trucks.
Trucks need regular maintenance to be in good condition. An improperly maintained truck with faulty brakes could cause a deadly crash.
Poor Weather Conditions
No one likes to drive in inclement weather conditions. Ice, rain, snow, fog, sleet are a detriment to any driver. But they are especially hazardous for truck drivers who handle a vehicle that weighs thousands of pounds.
A truck could slip into another lane if the roads are slippery or veer completely off the road. Other common accidents from slick roads and bad weather conditions include jackknifes and sideswipes. Both types of accidents often result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities.
The reduced visibility caused by fog or heavy rain could collide with a passenger vehicle, causing an underride accident. They might also miss vital traffic signs and consequently cause a collision.
Failure to Properly Load Cargo
Poorly loaded cargo can fly off the truck and into the road. This can be extremely dangerous at high speeds. In addition, spontaneous flying objects on the road often lead to multi-car pileup accidents.
Sometimes it’s the driver’s responsibility to load the cargo, but that’s not always the case. Instead, it could have been the trucking company or a third party that owned the cargo and loaded it poorly. Whatever the case, a Denver truck accident lawyer can help you investigate to determine all liable parties.
Unexpected Road Hazards
Unexpected hazards on the road, like a pothole or a maintenance hold missing a cover, can cause deadly truck accidents. In fact, road hazards cause one-third of all truck accidents.
A driver who encounters an unexpected road hazard might react by swerving, which can lead the truck to skid or rollover. Unfortunately, the outcome of this type of accident is seldom minor.
Inadequate or Improper Driver Training
Sometimes trucking companies forgo proper testing and training when hiring truck drivers. Whatever the reason for cutting corners, hiring inexperienced or untrained drivers is dangerous. If a driver on the road doesn’t have proper training or testing, they are more likely to make mistakes and endanger the lives of other drivers.
Negligent Employment Practices
Sometimes, the trucking company can be found negligent if they fail to properly screen their employee. For example, failing to do a background check or contact a reference that would have shown a driver has a history of drinking and driving would be negligence on the company’s part.
Common Injuries After Truck Accidents
Some of the most common injuries after a truck accident include the following:
Neck and Back Injuries
Neck and back injuries are common in crashes with massive impact force, like from a truck. The injuries can range from mild neck pain to a dislocated disc. However, truck accident victims rarely walk away with minor injuries.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Perhaps the most frightening injury is a spinal cord injury because the symptoms are not immediately noticeable. Therefore, you need prompt and proper medical testing to diagnose a spinal cord injury. An untreated spinal cord injury could cause ongoing mobility issues or paralysis.
Whiplash is the most common neck injury in a car accident. But severe whiplash often results from truck accidents due to the greater force of the collision. When the head is violently jolted forward and back, it can strain the neck. But when the impact of a truck causes whiplash, it can be much more painful. Whiplash symptoms include neck pain, numbness in the upper extremities, upper body aches, and limited range of motion in the neck.
Burns are another common injury that results from truck accidents. The sheer size of trucks makes them more likely to explode or catch fire after a crash.
As a result, the fire can spread to the truck or the other vehicles involved in the crash. As a result, the passengers could get severe burns. If they are trapped in the car, they might die. Burn victims usually need emergency and intensive medical care. Additionally, burn care requires a long hospital stay and extensive treatment.
Internal injuries can be deadly. The scary thing is that we can’t see them since they are internal. That’s why getting immediate medical attention after a truck accident is important. Then you can rule out any severe injuries or get treated if you have any.
While airbags and seatbelts are designed to save passengers’ lives, they can cause harm and injuries. They often cause blunt force injuries in the midsection, chest, shoulder, and back area.
For example, if the seatbelt strains your hip area, it might damage the internal organs, including the bladder, liver, spleen, or kidneys. Or you could experience internal bleeding. Whatever the case, internal injuries require immediate medical care.
Amputations are common in major truck accidents where the passenger vehicle gets crushed by or under the truck. They require extensive medical treatment and adaptive devices for injury victims to regain normal mobility.
Lacerations, Abrasions, and Bruises
While bruises and cuts are less serious than other injuries, severe cases necessitate medical attention. Truck accident victims who get lacerations, cuts, and bruises often get severe ones.
Broken glass, jagged metal, or any loose objects in the car can inflict deep wounds on the occupants of a passenger vehicle. With multiple cuts and open wounds, they can get fatal infections or permanent scarring and disfigurement.
Establishing Liability in a Denver Truck Accident Case
Establishing fault in a truck accident case is more complex than an accident involving two passenger vehicles. That’s because several different parties could be held legally accountable for the victims’ damages and losses. Possible liable parties in a truck accident case include:
- The truck driver
- Owner of the truck or tractor-trailer
- The owner of the cargo
- The cargo loading company
- The truck manufacturer
- A local authority that failed to maintain the roadways
- Or a combination of several
While making multiple claims can help increase your compensation amount, it will be a longer and more complex process. Whatever the case, you should hold all liable parties accountable and get the full and fair compensation you deserve.
That’s when a Denver truck accident attorney can be highly advantageous to have on your side. They will help you identify all liable parties. Other ways a truck accident attorney can help you include:
- Investigating and gathering evidence
- Official police reports of the incident
- Photos of the accident scene, injuries, and property damages
- Witness statements
- Medical documentation
- Proof of loss
- All medical expenses
- Identify accountable parties and corresponding insurance companies
- Handle all negotiations with insurance companies and defense lawyers
- We can take your case to court if the insurance company refuses to give a fair settlement.
What Damages Can I Seek After A Truck Accident in Denver?
If you were involved in a semi-truck, commercial truck, tractor-trailer, or big rig accident, you might be entitled to seek compensation for the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation cost
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Any damaged goods in your vehicle from the accident, such as electronics
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of consortium (if your loved one died in the truck accident)
The compensation amount you can seek will depend on various factors like the severity of your injuries, the extent to which your injuries have affected your life, the cost of your medical care, and how strong your evidence is to support your claim.
Contact an Experienced Denver Truck Accident Lawyer
If you need legal advice after sustaining injuries in a truck accident, we can help. Our team of experienced truck accident lawyers knows how to handle these complex cases. And we have the resources needed to investigate and gather evidence to build you a winning case strategy. But, most importantly, we fight tirelessly to ensure you get full and fair compensation.
We offer a free initial consultation, so call us today.