Trucks are heavy vehicles used to transport goods across vast distances. However, it puts truck drivers at risk of accidents because this transport mode causes havoc when it crashes. It might slam into a loaded car directly, killing or severely injuring the occupants. It can significantly affect the drivers, other road users, and the productivity of the transporting company. This article explores the various facets of truck driver accidents. We also highlight the vital role of a personal injury attorney in defending the rights and interests of the parties involved in a truck accident. Hiring the services of an experienced attorney is essential to ensure that accident victims receive fair compensation without hassles.
Causes of truck driver accidents
Many types of truck driver accidents occur across the nation. When a big truck starts to fold in half, the cab and the trailer form a 90-degree angle, it causes a jackknifing incident. Jackknifing happens by abrupt braking and could be fatal. Likewise, T-bone collisions or rear-end crashes occur when the driver slams on the brakes and another vehicle strikes, misjudging the stopping distance. Truck accidents often obstruct a section of the road and increase the risk of more collisions. Factors contributing to truck accidents range from human error to external circumstances. Understanding these factors is crucial for promoting safety on the roads. Here is a discussion on them.
Speeding reduces a truck driver’s potential to react promptly to changing road conditions or unexpected obstacles. It extends the distance needed to stop the vehicle, increasing the chances of rear-end accidents. Additionally, speeding amplifies the force of impact during a crash, worsening conditions and resulting in substantial damage. Overall, a large, heavy truck and a vehicle moving at a high rate of speed can have disastrous effects, including personal injuries and loss of property.
Distractions can significantly increase the risk of truck accidents by taking the driver’s focus off the road. A truck driver’s ability to recognize and respond to hazards gets hampered by distracting activities, like talking/texting on mobile phones, eating, or using a navigation system. Since commercial trucks are large and heavy, they almost double the effects of distracted driving on the road. Devastating accidents can occur from even a momentary lapse in concentration, putting the truck driver and other road users at high risk.
Impaired driving is a condition wherein drivers travel after alcohol, drug, or sedative medicine use. Impairment affects their ability to make quick decisions, maintain adequate speed, and respond to unexpected conditions on the road. Since DUI (driving under the influence) truck drivers experience reduced judgment, coordination, and reaction time, they significantly increase the risk of truck accidents. The euphoric sensation while impaired makes it difficult for them to operate their vehicle safely. It endangers the safety of truck drivers, other vehicle drivers, and people on the road.
Lack of experience
Safe truck operations require efficient braking methods, defensive driving techniques, and emergency maneuvers. Due to insufficient training and lack of experience, truck drivers may make errors while navigating turns, gauging distances, or foreseeing potential road hazards. They may also be unfamiliar with handling the size and weight of commercial trucks. As a result, they can cause severe collisions, catastrophic injuries, and even death. To prevent truck driving accidents, one must undergo proper training and practice.
Mechanical failures in commercial trucks can lead to severe road accidents because they impair the vehicular functions to operate safely. This mechanical failure can occur due to faulty brakes, steering system malfunctions, engine defects, or tire blowouts. Due to malfunctioned equipment, drivers may experience reduced braking capacity, loss of control, and abrupt changes in the vehicle’s handling features. Such circumstances increase the likelihood of a collision, particularly in high-speed scenarios or in adverse weather conditions. Proper vehicle maintenance, adequate inspections, and prompt repairs are critical to avoiding mechanical failure-related accidents.
Truckload exceeding the weighing limit impairs the vehicle’s maneuverability, braking effectiveness, and stability. Since controlling the truck with overloaded cargo is challenging, it raises the possibility of rollovers or jackknifing. Additionally, the added weight may put undue strain on the truck’s brakes, suspension, and tires, which could result in malfunctions and tire blowouts. With these elements, accidents may occur and put other road users in danger.
Inclement weather conditions
Due to reduced visibility caused by heavy rain, fog, snow, or other adverse weather conditions, truck drivers struggle to see the road and react to hazards promptly. Rain or ice-covered surfaces can cause loss of control and longer stopping distances. Consequently, they increase the chance of skidding or jackknifing. Such conditions increase the likelihood of collisions with other vehicles and road hazards, posing a significant risk to all involved parties.
Potential injuries sustained by truck drivers after an accident
Truck driver accidents can cause injuries ranging from mild to critical. Seeking immediate medical aid following the accident is essential to diagnose and treat these injuries. The extent of the problem depends on factors such as the speed of the vehicles, safety measures taken by the driver, the point of impact, and the presence of airbags or seat belts. The potential injuries that can occur in a truck driver accident include the following:
Various body parts may sustain fractures due to the forceful collision that a large commercial truck has with another vehicle or object. Arms, legs, ribs, pelvis, and facial bones are a few common affected areas. The severity of these fractures can range from minor hairline fractures to more severe breaks requiring surgical intervention and extensive rehabilitation. In most truck driver accidents, the recovery process for broken bones may necessitate casting, surgery, physical therapy, and long-term medical care.
The sudden impact of a truck collision can cause the driver’s head and neck to jerk quickly forward and backward. Whiplash is a sudden movement that causes strain on the neck’s soft tissues, muscles, and ligaments. Symptoms such as neck pain, headaches, stiffness, dizziness, and limited range of motion are prominent in truck drivers. Even though whiplash is a minor injury, it can cause pain and discomfort. So, it necessitates medical care, rest, and rehabilitation to ease symptoms and prevent further complications.
In truck driver collisions, head trauma is a primary concern. The forceful impact may push the driver’s head into the dashboard, windows, or steering wheel, inflicting head injuries. The severity of these traumatic injuries can range from minor concussions to brain stem damage. The immediate effects of head trauma can include headache, lightheadedness, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Cognitive impairments, short memory, speech or coordination problems, mood changes, and even permanent disabilities are among the long-term impacts based on your condition.
Due to the force and impact involved in truck driver accidents, the body can sustain internal damage. Internal injuries from blunt force trauma can affect various organs, including the liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, and intestines. Initially, symptoms may not be visible but could worsen gradually, causing internal bleeding, organ malfunction, or even life-threatening complications. Generally, the problem necessitates immediate medical attention involving diagnostic imaging tests to evaluate the injuries and choose the best treatment plan.
Spinal cord injuries
After a truck driver accident, the victim may experience spinal cord injuries due to a severe blow or trauma. There may be a partial or complete loss of motor function, sensory perception, and even paralysis below the affected site. The condition could significantly affect their mobility, independence, and life quality. Rehabilitation, medical interventions, and adaptive technologies are critical supports for people with such injuries.
The intense heat produced by truck collisions can cause severe burns that seriously harm the skin and underlying tissues. Burns vary based on severity, from first-degree burns affecting the epidermis to third-degree burns penetrating deep skin layers. These injuries require emergency medical care and specialized burn care, such as wound cleaning, dressings, or skin grafts. Burn injuries may have long-term physical and psychological repercussions, necessitating thorough rehabilitation.
The emotional well-being of those involved in truck driver accidents can suffer significantly. Numerous emotional and psychological problems may result from the trauma and stress of the accident. Truck drivers could experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and feelings of guilt or survivor’s guilt. The emotional toll could make it difficult for them to resume their regular activities or return to work. Drivers should seek assistance and counseling to address their emotional health.
Legal implications after a Chicago truck crash
Truck accidents could have legal consequences for the driver, the trucking company, and other parties who may be held liable. If the driver has acted negligently or recklessly, they may be issued traffic tickets or even charged with a crime, depending on the situation. Trucking companies may also be liable for mishaps if they did not adequately supervise or train their drivers, failed to perform necessary maintenance, or encouraged risky behaviors like excessive speeding or overloading. Additionally, if a third party’s products contributed to the accident, such as a producer of faulty vehicle parts, they might also be legally liable for the accident.
Establishing liability is a vital aspect following a truck driver accident for insurance claims and legal proceedings. It requires a thorough investigation to determine how the truck accident occurred and who is responsible for it. This process involves examining factors such as adherence to rules, driver negligence, maintenance records, and any potential flaws in the vehicle or its parts. Attorneys are essential for gathering information, completing official formalities, and managing insurance claims. A proficient attorney can negotiate with insurance providers to ensure fair reimbursement for lost wages, medical expenses, property damage, and emotional distress.
Truck accidents could involve complex insurance issues, but if failed to settle the claim, civil lawsuits are another option. This legal action aims to obtain restitution for the victims and hold accountable those who are at fault. However, some parties may negotiate a settlement before the trial to avoid drawn-out court proceedings. In such circumstances, attorneys on both sides will work together to reach an acceptable agreement with their clients. These negotiations involve estimating the extent of the damages to determine fair compensation. Most truck driver accident cases resolve this way, but in other situations, attorneys will represent their clients in court, presenting a compelling case to the jury.
Significance of Chicago truck accident attorneys
Numerous federal and state regulations apply to the trucking sector. Investigations into truck driver accidents may reveal breaches of the governing rules, such as insufficient maintenance, improper load securing, or hours-of-service violations. Such infractions may have legal repercussions that could affect liability, potential compensation, and the overall processing of a case. At Phillips Law Offices, our attorneys specialize in personal injury and trucking accident cases. They ensure compliance with the statute of limitations and other state laws. They can navigate the complexities of the legal system effectively and help resolve your matter in your best interests. Contact them at (312) 598-0917 or visit their official website for case evaluation and counseling. Our well-qualified attorneys can provide guidance, defend your rights, and advocate for fair compensation.