Due to the large size and weight of most commercial trucks, truck drivers are required to have a CDL or commercial driving license. In order to obtain the license, the truck driver must pass additional tests including a medical examination deeming the driver fit to drive. In addition to learning how to avoid accidents by reading the Commercial Driver's License Manual, Federal laws have been put in place to avoid potentially dangerous situations.
Nevertheless, many truck drivers ignore federal regulations on the number of hours they can drive in order to ensure that their cargo is delivered on time. This causes many potential hazards on the road.
Have you or a loved one suffered serious injuries and damages in a commercial trucking accident? Call the New Hampshire truck accident lawyer at the Injury Law Center®.Driver Fatigue & Other Common Causes of Accidents
Due to the size and weight of large big rigs, 18-wheelers, and tractor trailer trucks, drivers and passengers in standard size vehicles are in an extremely vulnerable position if an accident occurs.
The most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Driver fatigue, exhaustion, lack of sleep
- Rushed Deliveries
- Speeding or driving too fast for road conditions
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Inexperienced drivers or drivers with a history of dangerous or reckless driving
- Unsafe reflectors, lights, and other safety equipment
- Poorly maintained vehicles or brakes
- Failing to inspect the vehicle prior to departure
- Driver distraction or inattention from stress, cell phones, onboard computers etc.
- Failing to load cargo properly
- Failing to compensate for blind spots
- Backing up carelessly
- Stopping suddenly
To combat driver fatigue, federal regulations limit the number of hours a truck driver may drive. To avoid mechanical malfunctions, truck drivers are required to inspect their vehicles before each trip. To avoid roll-overs and other hazards, trucks have specific weight loads and should not exceed their weight limit capacity. Weight stations along major highways serve the purpose of verifying that trucks are not carrying beyond their capacity.Liability in 18-Wheeler Accidents
Truck drivers have a legal responsibility to drive safely at all times, ensure that all cargo is loaded properly, and make sure the truck in properly maintained and repaired on a regular basis. Truck drivers can be held liable for personal injuries and wrongful death caused by the failure to use due care in the operation of their trucks.
Employers are also vicariously liable for the negligence of their truck drivers especially if they:
- Hired an unqualified driver
- Hired a driver with a reckless driving record
- Failed to provide proper training / instruction
- Did not enforce hour regulations
- Encouraged truckers to violate regulations to meet delivery schedules
In some cases, the former owners of the trucks can be held liable if they failed to maintain and repair the trucks on a regular basis prior to the sale of the truck. If the cargo was not loaded properly, third party loading companies can be held liable for improperly loading the truck. In some cases, a defect in a truck part or component is the cause of the accident. In those cases, the manufacturer of the defective product would be held liable.Injuries Often Resulting From Truck Crashes
Because of the size and weight of the trucks, even low impact collisions can cause severe damage to a standard passenger vehicle. Truck rollovers, hazardous spills, fuel fires, and other consequences of a truck accident can cause additional accidents on the roadway and increase the severity of the injuries sustained in such accidents.
Victims of truck accidents stand to face a number of injuries that could permanently alter or decrease the quality of their life. Traumatic brain injury is a very common and often life altering and debilitating injury that one can sustain in a truck accident. Spinal cord injuries including paralysis could leave the victim with a lifetime of medical bills and rehabilitation costs. Nerve damage, amputations, and crushed organs are just a few more common injuries caused by truck accidents. In accidents where a fire or explosion occurs, severe burns can occur. Sometimes burns are so severe that they result in permanent scarring and in some cases death.
When permanently life altering injuries and/or death occurs in an accident, it is not only the victim of the accident who is affected. The spouse, children, family and friends of the accident victim can suddenly find their lives unimaginably altered. Suddenly a child loses a parent or a spouse loses their partner. The family loses the companionship and income of the injured victim. This can be a very difficult time for everyone involved and can require significant change to family life including constant care for a brain injured or paralyzed family member, exorbitant ongoing medical costs, significant decrease in family income, loss of companionship and emotional support and more. Our attorneys are here to help families of accident victims through these difficult times.Trusted Counsel is Just a Phone Call Away
Our New Hampshire personal injury lawyer has been handling truck cases for years and is experienced in handling the unique needs of victims and their families as they struggle to recover and adapt to life-altering injuries. We have the resources and skill to help injured victims and their families recover compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, future medical bills, lost wages, decreased quality of life, loss of consortium, and in very tragic cases, wrongful death.
To set up a free consultation with a truck accident attorney in New Hampshire who is truly invested in serving your needs, please contact the Injury Law Center® at (603) 883-4100.