Truck accidents are typically catastrophic. When a big rig truck collides with an average-size car, the car can crumple like an accordion. The fatality rate is so high that about 5,000 Americans die every year in truck accidents.
So what causes truck accidents? The reasons are almost too many to number, and multiple factors contribute to accidents. Nevertheless, below are descriptions of some of the most common causes of truck accidents.
What Types of Trucks Cause Most Truck Accidents?
When people talk about truck accidents, most are thinking of big rig, 18-wheeler trucks. These kinds of trucks certainly do more than their share of damage. A fully-loaded 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Other types of trucks also causes devastating accidents, including:
- Cement trucks
- Dump trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Flatbed trucks
- Tow trucks
- Delivery trucks
Truck drivers cause many, if not most, truck accidents by violating one, or more, of a multitude of state and federal regulations that govern the trucking industry. No matter what kind of truck caused the accident that injured you, Stracci Law Group knows how to fight for your right to fair compensation. It is likely that you don’t realize how much your claim is worth, but we can help you make this determination.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident in Indiana?
Who is liable in a truck accident? The truck driver is not the only party who can be held liable for an Indiana truck accident. Depending on the circumstances, other possible parties might include (but are not necessarily limited to):
- The driver of another vehicle
- The trucking company that hired the driver or loaded the cargo
- An alcohol vendor (a bar) that sold alcohol to a driver who caused a DUI accident
- A government agency
Truck accident liability might be distributed among more than one party under certain circumstances.
Driver-Related Causes of Truck Accidents
The most obvious causes of truck accidents lie with a driver, either the driver of the truck or the driver of another vehicle. The following are some of the main causes of accidents caused by truck drivers.
Truck drivers are often under pressure to work long hours. Although the law requires truck drivers to take a certain amount of rest, some drivers ignore this. It is difficult to imagine a traffic situation more dangerous than sharing the highway with a truck driver who is asleep at the wheel.
Driving While Intoxicated
Truck drivers hold commercial driver’s licenses, and the standards of intoxication are considerably stricter than they are for other drivers. In Indiana, the holder of a commercial driver’s license is committing an infraction when driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.04% or higher--half the level that will get an average driver arrested for OWI. You can use such an infraction to win a personal injury claim against the driver.
Reckless driving includes many different types of careless behavior including speeding, ignoring traffic signals, reckless passing on a two-lane road, tailgating, etc.
Truck drivers are just as vulnerable as anyone else to the temptations of distracted driving behaviors such as texting and talking on a cell phone. Although they don’t use CB radios as much as they did in previous years, most trucks are still equipped with them. Even listening to music to ease the boredom of a long journey can constitute distracted driving.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Poor vehicle maintenance causes many truck accidents. Worn tires, for example, can cause blowouts, with deadly consequences. Whether or not this is the fault of the driver depends on who was responsible for maintaining the truck. Normally this is the truck driver, but not always.
Poor Cargo Loading
Poor cargo loading can cause cargo to fall into the roadway at high speeds, or even cause the entire truck to tip over. Sometimes cargo loading is the driver’s responsibility, but sometimes it is a trucking company or even a third party who is responsible. The driver should at least check the cargo, however.
Causes of Truck Accidents Not Generally Attributable to the Driver
Not all truck accidents are the fault of the truck driver (or any other driver, for that matter). Below are some other common causes of truck accidents.
Poor road maintenance can easily cause a truck accident. In particular, road construction can cause accidents, and so can confusing traffic signals or unexpected detours. A government might be liable for failing to erect a sign indicating a hazard in the road, for example.
Heavy rain can cause slick roads, and various weather conditions can adversely affect visibility. While in some cases an accident caused by bad weather conditions can be chalked up to an “act of God”, in other cases a defendant can be identified. Inexcusable delay in salting the roads in icy conditions can make it almost impossible for a heavy truck to stop quickly, for example.
Unrealistic Time Constraints
Some trucking companies put a great deal of pressure on drivers to move cargo quickly, so as to maximize their own profits. A driver who responds to this pressure by driving too fast is partly responsible for any resulting accident. Nevertheless, the trucking company might also bear significant liability.
Poor Driver Training
Poor training is not a cause of truck accidents that is usually attributable to the driver, because it is the trainer rather than the trainee who is responsible for providing adequate driver training. An ill-trained driver might not even be aware of their lack of skills.
We Will Fight for Your Rights
If you have been injured in a truck accident, or if your loved one has died in such an accident, every day that passes without you taking action weakens your claim for compensation. Contact Stracci Law Group immediately for a free case consultation by calling 219-525-1000, or by completing our online contact form.
We serve clients in Crown Point [46307, 46308], Hammond [46320, 46323], Merrillville [46410, 46411], and everywhere else in Northwest Indiana.