Due to the sheer size of a large commercial truck, a collision involving a truck often has catastrophic results. When an 80,000 pound fully loaded truck collides with a 3,500-pound passenger vehicle, the smaller vehicle is likely to be totally destroyed—or at least severely damaged. The people inside the vehicle can also be severely injured or even killed. Truck accident claims can be extremely complex, due not only to severe injuries but also due to the fact that there is often more than one defendant.
Because of these complexities, it is extremely important that you have a highly experienced truck accident attorney by your side, fighting for your rights. At Kadish Twersky, we truly care about your injuries and how those injuries are affecting your life now, as well as how they will affect your life in the future. The Kadish Twersky truck accident lawyers bring more than 75 years of solid legal experience to truck accident claims.
We always work aggressively to help our clients recover the damages they are entitled to receive; we have recently merged with Palace Law, which allows us to bring even more experience and legal knowledge to the table. Our team of highly experienced attorneys will represent you against powerful insurance companies, trucking companies, and even governmental agencies. At Kadish Twersky, we have the experience necessary to build a compelling truck accident claim on your behalf.
Truck Accidents Can Be Extremely Dangerous—Even Deadly
Although any vehicle accident can result in serious injuries or death when a passenger vehicle collides with a large commercial truck, the odds that the passengers inside the smaller vehicle will be severely injured increase exponentially. Consider the fact that the average truck and trailer can be as long as 75 feet, and you can clearly see how difficult it could be for a fully loaded truck to come to a quick stop. In fact, according to the International Institute of Highway Safety, a loaded tractor-trailer can take from 20-40 percent farther than cars to stop, with an even greater discrepancy on wet or slippery roads, or with poorly maintained brakes. Further statistics from the agency, in 2017, include:
- 4,102 people died in large truck crashes in 2017;
- Seventeen percent of those deaths were truck occupants, 68 percent were occupants of passenger vehicles, and 14 percent were bicyclists, motorcyclists or pedestrians;
- Sixteen percent of large truck crash deaths in 2017 occurred on a Saturday or Sunday, and
- Forty-nine percent of large truck crash deaths in 2017 occurred between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Fatigued Truck Drivers Continue Despite Updated Trucking Regulations
The trucking regulations were changed in 2012; truckers are now allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours, after 10 consecutive off-duty hours, and are not allowed to drive after 60/70 hours within 7/8 consecutive days. Because truck drivers only get paid for the time they are actively driving and delivering loads, they have significant incentive to keep two sets of logbooks. This allows truckers to stay on the road long past their allowed hours. Trucking companies, interested primarily in their financial bottom line, may turn a blind eye to drivers keeping two sets of logbooks. Fatigue is an extremely dangerous issue in the United States and an even more serious issue for truck drivers.
Fatigued Truck Drivers Cause Accidents
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, at least 13 percent of commercial motor vehicle drivers were fatigued at the time of their crash. The agency also found that being awake for 18 hours is equivalent to having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent—legal intoxication. A 2005 study reported by FMCSA found that three out of every four truck drivers reported making at least one type of driving error as a result of being overly fatigued. The FMCSA also estimates that the risk of a collision doubles from the 8th to the 10th hour of driving, doubling again between the 10th and the 11th hours of driving. Falling asleep or experiencing driver fatigue can lead to unnecessary risks, in turn causing accidents. Unrealistic expectations and schedules encourage drivers to drive too fast and drive fatigued and collisions are the result. Other causes of truck accidents include the following:
- Distracted driving is just as dangerous for truck drivers as for your average passenger car driver. Visual distractions occur when a driver takes his or her eyes away from the road. Looking at a cell phone, looking at the GPS, looking at the truck controls, or looking at the radio when changing stations are all examples of visual distraction. When you take your hands away from the wheel, you are engaging in manual distraction. When you are sending a text or eating with one hand, manual distraction is occurring. Finally, cognitive distraction occurs when you listen to music with headphones on, talk on your cell phone, daydream, or concentrate on a conversation with a passenger. In fact, sending a text can involve visual distraction, manual distraction, and cognitive distraction, which is why it is so dangerous.
- You might be surprised to learn that improperly secured cargo is a significant cause of truck accidents; large commercial trucks can carry lumber, live cargo (livestock), hazardous liquids, steel pipes, cardboard boxes, logs, bulk liquids, or any number of other items. Top-heavy items, when not properly secured, can come loose when a truck driver makes a sharp turn, spilling cargo across the road and likely causing multiple accidents.
Other causes of truck accidents include bad brakes, commercial truck under-ride accidents, inexperienced drivers, and impaired drivers.
Liability for a Truck Accident
As noted, determining liability for a truck accident can be difficult. The truck driver may have been at fault, whether due to fatigue, distraction, or another type of negligence. The trucking company may be responsible for sending a truck driver out on the road who is not properly trained, or for knowingly allowing the driver to drive more than the allowed hours. If the accident was the result of a poorly maintained truck, the maintenance company could be held liable. If the accident was the result of poorly secured cargo, the loading company might be at fault. Finally, the accident could be the result of a defective truck part, which would make the manufacturer liable. Many truck accidents have more than one liable party.
How Kadish Twersky Can Help
If you have been involved in a truck accident, you may be severely injured, possibly unable to work, and unable to pay your normal monthly expenses as well as your medical expenses. The Kadish Twersky truck accident attorneys will ensure the proper entity is held responsible for your injuries. We are accustomed to handling lawsuits with multiple defendants, therefore, we will know who to target in your truck accident claim. We strive to allow you to tend to your injuries and get back to your life, while we handle all the legal details, working aggressively for your future. Contact Kadish Twersky today for a comprehensive consultation regarding your truck accident.