Even though there are many reasons that truck accidents occur, one of the most common causes is the truck driver making a mistake. In 2014, around 87% of truck accidents were caused by a driver making a critical mistake, which could be anything from falling asleep while driving to operating the truck at well over the speed limit. If you were injured as a result of a truck accident, it’s important that you find out the exact cause.
Driver Fatigue and Distracted Driving
Likely the most common driver mistake that leads to a truck accident is driver fatigue. It’s important to understand that truck drivers are tasked with driving larger vehicles for long hours. In the event that a truck driver becomes fatigued and drowsy, their reaction times will worsen. It’s also possible for a truck driver to fall asleep completely while driving. Any level of fatigue increases the likelihood of a truck accident.
The FMCSA limits the number of hours a driver can operate a truck in a given day or week. For instance, a driver is only able to work for as much as 14 hours per day and operate a vehicle for up to 11 hours per day. Truck drivers are also unable to continue working for a short period of time after working seven consecutive days for a total of 60 hours. There are times when truck drivers or the companies they work for will violate these rules, which increases the possibility of fatigue.
Another common driver mistake involves any instance of distracted driving. When a truck driver takes a moment to eat, drink, text, or call someone, they will invariably become distracted. Even if a driver is only distracted for a few seconds, an accident could happen. A driver’s mind and eyes must be kept on the road at all times to mitigate the chances of an accident. During the few seconds that a truck driver is distracted, they could bump into a vehicle or accidentally run a red light.
Speeding Issues and Blind Spots
Speeding issues are very common mistakes for truck drivers to make. Because of the flow of traffic on a highway, it’s easy to go well over the speed limit. However, fully loaded trucks can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds, which is why injuries are much more likely to occur during a truck accident.
Among the more difficult aspects of driving a large truck is that drivers must take blind spots into account. Blind spots are areas beside or directly behind the truck that the driver is unable to see even when using mirrors. If a driver isn’t paying full attention to the road, they may not see a vehicle moving into a blind spot, which could lead to an accident if the truck driver attempts to change lanes.
Brake Malfunctions and Truck Rollovers
While brake malfunctions are usually caused by poor maintenance, there are also times when the trucking company that employs the driver will choose to reduce the power of the front brakes to save a small amount of money. They may also make some adjustments to the brakes in order to lessen the amount of wear and tear that the brakes go through. In some situations, a trucking company or driver may take the truck on the road when the brakes need to be repaired or replaced. If the brakes fail while the driver is operating their truck, it will be difficult or impossible for them to come to a full stop before impacting another vehicle.
Another common driver mistake to look out for involves truck rollovers. This type of accident can occur with larger trucks that require even weight distribution. Rollovers can be the result of some of the driver mistakes mentioned in this article. If a truck driver goes around a corner too quickly or drives well over the speed limit, the current truck’s load could become improperly distributed, which heightens the risk that a rollover occurs. If other vehicles are nearby when this happens, vehicle damage and injuries are likely.
Types of Compensation You Could Seek
Whether you file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company or are looking to file a lawsuit against the driver, it’s important that you understand the types of compensation you could seek. Anyone who’s injured in a truck accident will likely have a high number of bills to pay while the healing process is ongoing. Your medical expenses can quickly balloon if you’ve been severely injured.
If you believe that another driver was responsible for the accident and your injuries, you could file a lawsuit. When you file a lawsuit, there are many different types of compensation that you could seek. The amount and types of compensation you end up receiving largely depend on the extent of your injuries and the fault of the driver. The primary types of compensation you can seek from a lawsuit include:
- Loss of income
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Disability expenses
It’s also possible for you to seek more general compensatory damages pertaining to the emotional or mental damage that your injuries brought about. These damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Mental anguish
- Lower quality of life
Our trucking accident attorneys can help you determine what types of compensation apply to you and your case. Keep in mind that the pain and suffering compensation you can receive depends on numerous factors. This type of compensation is oftentimes awarded because of how injuries can adversely affect a person’s emotional and mental well-being. Some of the symptoms that can result from emotional distress include severe anxiety, mood swings, insomnia, and memory problems.
As for medical expenses, it’s important to understand that insurance claims and lawsuits will seek compensation for past and future medical expenses pertaining to the accident. If you have yet to fully heal by the time you receive a settlement offer, the value of your future medical expenses could be calculated based on testimony from your primary doctor. No matter what legal option you would like to pursue, it’s highly recommended that you consult with a trucking accident attorney to determine what your next step should be.
Why You Should Speak With a New Jersey Trucking Accident Lawyer
Whether your injuries are minor or severe, treating injuries caused by a truck accident can be costly. Along with emergency treatment, diagnostic tests, and doctor’s appointments, you’ll also be tasked with paying expenses related to any emergency surgeries, prescription medications, or physical therapy that you require to heal. While it’s possible to file a basic insurance claim with the other driver’s insurance provider, they may not offer the amount of compensation you believe you’re owed.
In this situation, it’s highly recommended that you get in touch with one of our New Jersey trucking accident lawyers. We can help you determine what your best course of action is. When representing a client, one of the first steps we take is to conduct an extensive accident investigation, which is necessary to gather evidence and identify who was at fault for the accident. When you request our legal representation, we can immediately start helping you build a strong case.
If you have recently sustained injuries of any severity as a result of being involved in a truck accident, call our New Jersey trucking accident lawyers at (732) 394-1549 to schedule an initial consultation.