The most common causes of truck accidents can be attributed to the drivers or the trucking company. Truckers often cause crashes when driving while fatigued, distracted, or intoxicated, or acting in some other form of negligence. A trucking company may be liable when they prepare an excessive or unsecured load or fail to maintain the truck properly.
In 2020 in the United States, 4,965 people died, with an estimated 146,930 people injured in accidents involving large trucks. Concerning fatal accidents, approximately 71% of the fatalities were drivers or passengers of the other vehicle. In that same year in Nevada, there were 32 accidents involving trucks out of a total of 451 fatal accidents. Accidents involving trucks accounted for 7.1% of all fatal accidents that year.
If you are a victim who has suffered an injury in a trucking accident, medical treatment, surgeries rehabilitation, and disabilities might have resulted. A truck accident lawyer can help you to receive compensation for damages that you have suffered, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and mental and emotional distress.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Reno
If you have been in an accident involving a large truck, determining liability is an important issue in making a successful claim for compensation against an insurance company, an at-fault driver, or a trucking company. To bring an effective claim, you must show that the truck driver or trucking company was at fault. To do this, you will need to know what the cause of the accident is.
Common causes of truck accidents in Reno are:
Traveling negligence contributes to about 80% of trucking accidents. A driver is negligent when he or she fails to drive with adequate care, which can lead to and accident that causes injuries to drivers, passengers, or pedestrians. This includes distracted driving and not obeying the rules of the road or traffic laws.
Because truck drivers usually travel long distances, they often drive excessively long hours. Driving too long without adequate rest can cause drowsiness or sleepiness.
Driving while fatigued can have the same impact as alcohol on a person’s ability to drive. It reduces reaction time, as well as overall cognitive function.
To prevent these problems, federal law requires that drivers do not drive for more than 11 hours consecutively or be on duty for more than 14 hours at a time. When a driver is on duty, he or she must have 10 hours of rest after each full work day, and drivers are prohibited from exceeding 60 hours of working in a work week. However, sometimes drivers ignore these laws due to pressure and deadlines.
Because of long shifts while driving, it is easy for a truck driver to get distracted while behind the wheel. This can be in the form of eating, drinking, playing with a cell phone, or fiddling with the radio.
If a fully loaded truck is traveling at 65mph, it will take around 525 feet for it to stop. Even a few seconds of distraction can be dangerous. Around 35% of truck accidents are caused by a driver not being attentive on the road.
Truck drivers often speed to deliver their cargo on time, especially if there have been delays on the trip due to bad weather or traffic. Because trucks are so much heavier than passenger vehicles, it takes more time to stop. If a truck strikes another vehicle or pedestrian, it does so with more force than a passenger car. Speeding only increases this already amplified force of impact.
Alcohol and Drug Use
Alcohol or drug impairment is a significant risk factor for motor vehicle accidents. This can include over-the-counter prescriptions, street drugs, or alcohol. These inhibit a driver’s perception, slow down reaction times, and can cause drowsiness. Drug and alcohol use is noted as a key factor in 20% of truck crashes.
Defects caused by inadequate maintenance can quickly lead a truck to become unstable or create hidden dangers while driving, making it dangerous to operate.
Two of the most common parts on trucks that require regular maintenance are tires and brakes. If a truck suffers tire pressure loss, tread separation, or a blowout, the driver can lose control of the vehicle. If the tires are smooth or breaks are defective, the driver may not be able to stop the truck in time to avoid a collision or accident.
Other parts, including fuel lines, hydraulic systems, and electrical parts, need to work properly to ensure that the truck can drive safely. If any part is not properly maintained, the truck may become a danger to other vehicles and pedestrians.
There are laws specifying how much weight a truck is permitted to carry on its load. If a truck is overloaded, or the weight of the load is not distributed properly, the truck may become unstable to drive. This increases the chance of a driver losing control of the truck, as well as the chance of tire issues, such as a blowout. If the load is not secured properly, there is also a risk of the cargo falling into the road and becoming a danger to other cars.
Not all accidents involving a truck are due to the fault of the truck driver or trucking company. The driver of another vehicle may cause an accident by stopping too quickly, cutting off a large truck, or following too closely behind a truck, creating the risk of an under-ride crash. A driver may also cause a crash by entering into a blind spot.
Causes of Truck Accident Injuries
Large trucks can be 20 to 30 times heavier than passenger vehicles, meaning that in trucking accidents, there is likely to be significantly more damage and catastrophic harm than in an accident involving only passenger vehicles. Because of the difference in size, the passenger vehicle and its occupants are more susceptible to suffering damage and injury than the truck and its driver.
Truck accidents cause injuries through blunt force trauma, where the injured person makes impact with the inside of the car steering wheel, windshield, seat belt, or airbag, or is ejected from the car.
An accident might involve spilled cargo, a rollover where the truck tips over, or an undercarriage accident, leading the vehicle to be crushed under the track or its cargo. The vehicle itself might suffer some form of crumpling from its impact with the truck. This can lead to crushing injuries for the occupants of the vehicle.
Common Injuries From Commercial Truck Accidents
Because of the size of most trucks, the force of the accidents is much greater than in a normal collision, so trucking accidents lead to serious injuries. Common injuries from a truck accident include:
- Back, neck, and spinal cord injuries. Your head is not secured, while the rest of your body is strapped in by a seatbelt. This leaves your head vulnerable to snap forward while your body stays in place. This motion can lead to whiplash, as well as more serious injuries to the spinal cord. Spinal cord injuries can lead to paralysis, while whiplash can cause victims to suffer significant pain.
- Head and brain injuries. Your head is susceptible to violent jolts in an accident, which can lead to blunt-force trauma. The brain can move inside the head and make an impact with the side of the skull, which can cause a concussion or traumatic brain injury.
- Burns. Because a truck is much larger than a passenger vehicle, there are longer fuel lines and larger fuel tanks. In an accident, there is a high risk of the fuel tanks or lines rupturing. If this happens, fuel may cover the truck and surrounding cars which, if ignited, can lead to large fires that can cause serious burns.
- Amputation. Amputations can result from blunt force trauma from the impact, a severe burn, or from the crushing of limbs.
- Internal injuries. Blunt force trauma from an accident, or even the airbag, can cause injuries to your internal organs, including the bladder, spleen, liver, pancreas, or kidneys.
- Broken bones and lacerations. These injuries can result from shattered glass, sharp metal, or unrestrained objects inside the car. Broken bones and lacerations require treatment, and lacerations could result in disfiguring scarring.
Your first steps after a trucking accident should be to remain at the scene, as fleeing the scene of an accident is illegal. Next, report the accident so that police can create an accurate accident report. Gather evidence to support your claim, such as photos and videos. You should seek medical treatment to treat any injuries that you have suffered, and to create medical reports that can be used as evidence. Finally, you should contact a truck accident attorney who can protect your rights and help you to receive compensation for your accident.