Accidents involving semi trucks or other large commercial vehicles do not always get the attention that car accidents do, but, more often than not, they are much more severe accidents that have catastrophic results. Vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 lbs are considered trucks in the State of Arizona, but many trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 lbs. When you take into account that the average passenger vehicle weighs approximately 3,000 lbs, then you can understand how an accident involving a semi-truck and a passenger car can and will result in severe and catastrophic injuries and damages.
The trucking industry is an integral part of all of our everyday lives. These massive trucks are used to transport products and goods everywhere in our country. They are used for all types of items to be moved and carried from place to place, including all of the food that we eat to nourish our bodies, clothes and shoes that we wear every day, and many other products that we use in our everyday lives to survive. The fact is that these trucks are a necessary part of our survival, but for the people who are injured in a crash with a big rig truck, this comes at a high cost.
Trucking accidents have been known to injure and even kill thousands of individuals each year. These collisions are often caused by the negligence of either the passenger vehicles who share the roads with the trucks, the negligence of the truck drivers, the carelessness of trucking companies, or the poor management of routes. All of these issues result in a large number of injuries, accidents, and even deaths every year across the United States.
The Phoenix truck accident lawyers at Torgenson Law are here to help victims of these accidents. We are here to help explain your rights and to file lawsuits on your behalf for compensation if you or someone you love was injured as a result of a serious truck accident. We fight for you against the insurance companies to ensure that you can receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages that resulted from your truck accident. Call the attorneys at Torgenson Law today to discuss your accident with a dedicated truck accident specialist and find out if you have the right to pursue a personal injury claim.
Common Types of Truck Accidents in Arizona
Truck accidents are, more often than not, devastating due to the sheer size of the vehicle in question. The most common kinds of accidents in which semi trucks are involved include:
- Head-on Collisions – When a truck driver is involved in a head-on collision with another automobile, it often leaves the victim with disabilities that will last a lifetime, if they survive the crash at all.
- Truck Rollovers – When a truck driver loses control of his truck, it will often flip onto its side and slide across the road, taking innocent motorists with it.
- T-Bone – These crashes usually take place when a truck driver or another driver runs a red light or stop sign causing a catastrophic collision that generally results in severe injury or death.
- Jackknife – Jackknifing refers to when the truck’s trailer folds at its hinge and creates an acute angle with the cab of the truck. The two most common reasons that a semi-truck is involved in this type of accident include severe braking and skidding.
- Wide Turns – Also called a swinging turn, these types of wide turns occur when the truck driver swings his truck left to maneuver a right turn. When doing that, the semi can make contact with other cars to the right, pinning them between the sidewalk and the trailer.
- Blind Spots – Blind spots occur when the truck driver can not see the other vehicles on the road as they make a lane change, which puts the cars that are adjacent to the truck in extreme danger of being crushed, hit, or pushed off of the road.
- Rear-End Crashes – Because of the immense weight and size of these commercial vehicles alone, when a rear-end crash occurs, it usually involves significant property damage as well as catastrophic injuries that often result in loss of life.
- Lost Loads – When freight or cargo is not loaded correctly or tied down onto a truck’s trailer, the loads can shift or fall out or off of the trailer causing serious danger to other motorists who are sharing the roads with them.
- Under Ride – This occurs when a semi or large commercial vehicle comes to an abrupt stop causing smaller cars or trucks to become lodged underneath the trailer of the truck. These are some of the deadliest trucking accidents that occur on our roadways and are almost always catastrophic events.
Common Causes Of Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Similar to vehicle collisions and accidents, the primary reason for truck accidents is human negligence. It is true that the commercial trucking industry prioritizes the safety of others on the roadways. However, it is only natural that accidents still occur. There are specific reasons for the lack of general care and safety, which can include the hiring and training procedures of a given company, the maintenance of trucking fleets, and the specific load of a truck’s cargo. All of these can cause trucking accidents. Some of the most common causes of trucking accidents include:
- Tired truck drivers – Drivers of trucks have very rigorous working schedules and are pressured to meet deadlines, which requires long hours alone on the roadways. This leads to an extremely high risk of driving accidents due to exhausted drivers. Tired truck drivers often are unable to operate properly and control their heavy vehicles, and also have difficulty adapting to ever changing roadway situations promptly to avoid collisions.
- Distracted truck drivers – Truckers often have to multitask while operating their vehicles to accomplish more of what is required of them in their job. They also attempt to make their time spent on the roadways more entertaining. This may involve cell phone use, having conversations with other passengers, or eating and drinking on the road. These are all dangerous actions of driver negligence and can make the trucker distracted and unable to pay attention to their surroundings.
- Lack of training – A certain level of skill and knowledge is required to operate a trucking vehicle. Drivers undergo intensive training to learn how to use a large commercial truck. If a company does not correctly train new operators, the driver is liable to make mistakes while driving the truck on the open road. Sometimes, the lack of training is to get the driver on the road faster. This negligence could result in commercial truck drivers who are not adequately prepared to stop safely, turn, signal, or load and unload their cargo.
- Dangerous vehicles – Commercial trucks are huge vehicles, which can weigh more than 80,000 pounds. This makes these vehicles very dangerous and unsafe for other motorists on the road, and this is without possible maintenance lapses that can make these vehicles unsuitable for the roadways. It is the responsibility of the trucking company to adequately inspect, repair, and maintain all vehicles before they are taken onto the road.
- Missing cargo loads – Tractor-trailers can have open or closed cargo areas, depending on the items being shipped. These vehicles have cargo loading and securement requirements that are mandated by the United States government. Companies often fail to adhere to these regulations, sometimes out of negligence or with the intent to save time or money. This is a reckless action and could lead to lost cargo loads on the highway, which become unsafe road obstacles for other drivers.
If a commercial truck driver is intoxicated, fatigued, distracted, negligent, incompetent, or reckless while operating a truck involved in an accident or collision, it is crucial to contact a skilled Phoenix truck accident lawyer who has decades of experience successfully representing injured victims of trucking accidents. You should work with an experienced legal professional who has the time and resources needed to handle these types of complicated and complex claims, especially when you suspect that the commercial company is responsible due to unsafe business practices. These breaches of safe practices could involve rushing drivers to complete tight deadlines or failure to maintain commercial vehicles properly. Contact our Phoenix truck accident lawyers at Torgenson Law to discuss your accident and learn about your rights as an accident victim.
Federal Trucking Laws and Legislation
There are regulations created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that are made particularly for the commercial trucking industry. These rules are applied to every trucking company within the United States, as well as all their commercial drivers. These regulations are concerned with various issues that range from who can qualify to drive commercial vehicles to how companies in the industry are mandated to react in the event of an accident involving the company’s vehicles or drivers.
If a company or driver violates a federal regulation, this can be used as evidence of negligence in the event of a trucking accident. There are important laws to know about after being involved in a commercial trucking accident. These include:
- Commercial driver requirements – All commercial truck drivers must obtain a valid Class C driver’s license. They must also consent to pre-hiring drug tests, which then extends to random testing. Drivers must also concede to drug testing after accidents themselves, as well as if the company has reasonable cause against the driver. There is a requirement that operators fulfill physical and mental qualifications to drive commercial vehicles, and all drivers are required to pass background checks.
- Regulations for Hours of Service – These restrictions mandate the length of time a commercial truck driver can operate a vehicle before requiring him or her to take a break. Generally, commercial truckers are not able to exceed more than 11 hours after ten consecutive hours off-duty. Drivers may not drive beyond the 14th hour after 10 hours off. They can only operate if eight hours or fewer have passed after a half-hour sleeper berth period.
- Rules involving heavy loads and cargo securement – Commercial truck companies are required to adhere to all securement regulations to make sure that cargo is safely attached to the truck while in transit. Securement regulations mandate how a company must tie, harness, or restrain the cargo in open and closed truck beds. This is to minimize the chances of cargo getting loose and falling off the vehicle. Securement regulations change according to the type of shipment.
Commercial truck companies, along with their drivers, must adhere to federal trucking regulations. This legislation is in place to ensure the safety of the commercial driver and all motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians who share the roadways. Failing to adhere to these laws, either intentionally or accidentally, can result in an accident and possibly lead to liability on the part of the company for sustained damages. If you have other questions regarding the full scope of commercial trucking laws, please contact the offices of Torgenson Law to speak with a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer and see if you have a case.
Fighting the Insurers of Large Trucking Companies
Commercial trucking corporations are massive companies that hold a lot of power. Fighting them can be an arduous task, and this is especially the case when attempting to get compensated for an injury accident. A trusted and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help you level the playing field between you and one of these large insurance companies and help you get the financial compensation you deserve for the injuries and damages you sustained in an Arizona truck accident.
The large commercial trucking companies in the State of Arizona can hire top-of-the-line legal representation, to help ensure that they can defend themselves in civil lawsuits that are filed by the victims of crashes. This gives these companies an unfair advantage over everyday victims who are merely trying to prove that the company is at fault for the accident. It is essential that you retain a skilled and experienced Phoenix truck accident attorney from Torgenson Law so we can fight for you and your rights as a victim.
Our experienced personal injury lawyers at Torgenson Law will take over the communication with the commercial trucking company’s insurance representatives. We will fight for you to make sure that you receive the restitution that you deserve. We will negotiate the awarded settlement, using our experience with similar cases to get you the most for your claim. We have the ability and resources needed to take your case to trial in Arizona, if necessary, to get you the best settlement. We are not afraid to stand up against these companies. Call Torgenson Law today.
Truck Accident Lawyers in Arizona
A trucking accident is always a traumatic experience. These events can result in catastrophic injuries, lost income due to inability to work, expensive property damage, high medical bills, and even the death of a loved one. We believe that the negligence of commercial truck drivers, their companies, and all involved parties must come to justice in the event of a trucking accident. We want to give voice to all those who otherwise may not be able to do so during the negotiation process. Having someone who is experienced on your side will help ensure you get the largest settlement for your accident claim.
In 2016, 11,992 people’s lives were taken in the United States due to commercial trucking accidents, 3,986 of which took place in Arizona alone. The vast majority of these deaths, 66%, were the occupants of the passenger vehicles, while only 17% were the occupants of the commercial vehicles, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. The number of deaths related to trucking accidents increased by 27% from the year 2009, showing that the risk is growing in the United States.
When you work with the experienced Phoenix trucking accident attorneys at Torgenson Law, you will have a team of professionals who can guide you through every step of the legal process. We are here to help you navigate the sometimes confusing world of insurance companies. We understand that this is a difficult time for you, as you are dealing with the injuries and financial losses that are the result of a traumatic event in your life.
If you or a loved one has been affected by a commercial truck accident, please contact the offices of Torgenson Law today at (602) 833-2774 today to get the compensation you deserve. We are here to help you in your time of need, and we want you to know that we care about your recovery.