Common causes of truck accidents can include anything ranging from driver error to problems with the truck or its load.
Negligent actions by the truck driver
Here are some of the common ways that accidents may be caused by truck drivers:
Driving While Fatigued
Drowsy driving can impair a driver’s focus and reaction time on the road. Truck drivers put in long hours behind the wheel. Deadlines and incentives from their employers may push them to complete a run even when they are overly tired.
According to the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, commercial truck drivers have a higher risk of crashes caused by driver fatigue than other drivers.
Truck drivers are often in a hurry, working to meet the same deadlines and incentives that push them to drive even when they are tired. Unfortunately, excess speed makes it hard to control a large truck, which can lead to crashes. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), speed was a factor in 17% of truck crashes that involved a fatality of a large truck occupant.
According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, it is illegal to use a cell phone or any other portable electronic device while driving in New York. Commercial vehicle drivers who are texting, checking email, or talking on the phone while driving can easily cause an accident.
Truckers drive all over the country, which means they are often driving in places they are unfamiliar with. While locals may know better than to speed down a certain hill or to slow down for a curve in the road, truck drivers who are unfamiliar with an area may make driving mistakes that cause accidents.
Lack of Training
Without proper training, truck drivers can make driving mistakes or misjudgments. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 38% of long-haul truck drivers report that they did not receive adequate training at the beginning of their careers.
While no one controls the weather, truck drivers are responsible for driving safely even in inclement weather. High winds, snow, frozen rain, and other weather conditions can make driving hazardous. Truckers trying to stay on schedule may push through when they should pull over or may drive too fast for current weather conditions.
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Truck Accidents Caused by Problems With the Truck
Some car accidents result from problems with the truck, its load, or equipment. Here are some problems with the truck that can cause an accident:
- Equipment failure: Damaged or defective parts can lead to an accident, as can parts that are worn out. Brakes, windshields, and tires are just a few of the many parts that can cause a crash if they are in poor condition.
- Improper loading: For safe transportation, a truck’s load must be the right weight and height and must be properly distributed and secured. Improperly loaded trucks can roll over, veer off course, or the load can fall off in transit.
Truck Accidents the Trucking Company May Have Caused
The trucking company may be liable for an accident in several situations. If the truck driver was operating his rig for work purposes, chances are the trucking company is liable. This is due to vicarious liability laws, which state that employers are legally responsible for actions their employees take within the scope of their employment.
Trucking companies can also be directly liable for an accident if they:
- Hired an inexperienced driver or one with a history of accidents or reckless driving
- Pressured drivers to violate hours of service laws
- Failed to maintain their fleet and improper maintenance led to an accident
Many Parties May be Liable
Truck drivers, their employers, mechanics, and auto parts manufacturers can all be held legally liable if they contribute to a truck accident.
If you were hurt in a truck accident, you may face staggering bills for medical expenses and damage to your vehicle. Your injuries may keep you out of work, leaving you unable to pay your rent or other bills. Our team will identify all liable parties and work to hold them liable for your injuries and other losses.
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Time Limits After a Truck Accident
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident, you have a finite amount of time to file a lawsuit. New York’s statutes of limitations are as follows:
- New York Civil Practice Law and Rules (CVP) §214 sets the statute of limitations for personal injury at three years
- New York Estates, Powers, and Trust Law (EPT) §5-4.1 sets the statute of limitations for wrongful death at two years
Once the statute of limitations has passed, you may lose your right to seek damages through a suit even if you have a valid case. Do not wait to act after a truck accident.
Call Us Today for a Free Consultation
If you suffered from personal injuries or lost a loved one in a truck accident, the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP wants to help you recover damages. Call (516) 358-6900 today for a free consultation.