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Truck Accidents: Causing Terror On The Roads

January 4, 2014

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported a staggering figure of 368,000 truck accidents across the country in the year 2006. These resulted in 106,000 injuries and 4,995 casualties.


Fast forward to 2013-2014.


A police officer killed by a truck driver who was busy looking at photos on Facebook while maneuvering his truck. Police investigation has revealed that the trucker had intentionally kept his wallet on the dash camera to block the camera when he was looking at his phone. This obviously blocked his view of the dash camera and he rammed into three police cars and two fire trucks who were there on an emergency call, and caused the tragic death of a policeman.


Major dailies have reported an expected upsurge in the sales of trucks in the coming year 2014 due to increased demand. Speed, size and power of these colossal automobiles make them lethal when involved in a road accident causing injury, huge vehicle damage and loss of life as well.


While many causes of truck accidents can be enumerated, the most common ones are:


Aggressive Driving Decisions

Tailgating, flouting signs and regulations, speeding, driving carelessly in adverse conditions like bad roads, work zones, slippery roads, slopes, ditches, not paying attention to the no-zone (one-third of all truck accidents take place in the no-zones around the car) are all indicators of aggressive driving decisions. These are most often responsible for rear-end collisions, trucks rolling over on the side, smashing other vehicles, and other fatal crashes.


Equipment Failure

Lack of regular maintenance and inspection of trucks is one of the key reasons for equipment failure in vehicles which results in deadly accidents. Inspecting vehicles before each trip can prevent accidents. But unfortunately that does not happen. Brake defects become one of the major causes of truck accidents that endangers the driver's life as well as that of others on the road. Flaws in tires, engine components, steering, trailer dislocation and jackknifing are common culprits that cause fatal accidents.


Driver Fatigue and Alcohol and Drug Consumption

More and more cases of truck accidents are being attributed to fatigue of drivers. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, fatigue accounts for 13% of driver collisions. Unrealistic delivery standards force the truck drivers to be on roads for very long hours without rest. Lack of sleep and overwork makes the driver a lot less attentive and a lot more prone to accidents. Simultaneously it also increases the use of over the counter drugs, to beat stress and fatigue and maintain alertness.


However many of these drugs cause severe headaches, nausea, and actually drop in attention levels post their effect period. This is highly risky and in many states the driver can even be pulled up for DUI. Further many of the drivers also resort to alcohol consumption to beat stress which obviously affects their driving and endangers their lives as well as others on the road.


Distracted Driving

Close on the heels of fatigue comes distracted driving. The case mentioned at the beginning of the post was one of distracted driving that led to the loss of a life. Text messages, websites, phone calls, or something as simple as spilling hot coffee on yourself can swing your driving out of control in a second and before one even realizes it's an accident.


Dangers of distracted driving are immense in a truck, as the force and weight of these vehicles itself make it a great risk when it is spinning out of control.


While both truck drivers and other automobile drivers can be repeatedly alerted to maintain precaution and safety for themselves and others on the roads, what are the repercussions when you have been hit by a truck and have sustained injury and damages. Will you be compensated?


Yes you will.” The first step to take under such circumstances is to consult a truck accident lawyer in your state, one with previous experience in such cases. This needs to be done immediately as most states have certain statutes of limitations or time-frames in which you need to start court proceedings; once that time limit expires, you can do nothing.


Your lawyer will guide you on the compensation you are entitled to and how to get your rightful claim. Legal representation becomes necessary in such cases as most of the times you will be up against some mammoth automobile manufacturer and their equally shrewd insurance companies.


Legal assistance from your attorney will help you ascertain whether you should settle your case outside the courtroom or be going for trial instead.


After thorough investigation of the case and solid evidence to establish, it was the other party's fault, your lawyer will demand compensation for medical bills, lost wages, physical and mental pain and suffering and other damages. He will set up a watertight personal injury case. However, if the accident has led to the loss of life, a strong case of wrongful death can be established and the compensation must be provided to the immediate family.


A legal attorney will help you get the maximum compensation and strengthen your case by establishing the following main points.


Negligence: Your lawyer needs to entrench the fact that the accident was not your fault, that it was due to the negligence of the other party. What it means is that proving the liability of the other party in the accident is of supreme importance for you to claim compensation.


Financial Positioning: Simply ascertaining blame is not enough. Your lawyer needs to also look, that the party at fault has enough insurance coverage to pay for your damages or enough money personally to reimburse you. If the party has no means to reimburse, most likely you will get nothing. Let your attorney find out this important information first and foremost. It is also essential that the party at fault doesn't dupe you about its financial positioning to avoid making payments. Your attorney will look after these aspects.


Injuries: Your injuries caused and sustained due to the negligence of the other party will be your ultimate weapon to receive justice and fair compensation. Witness statements, videotapes of the accident and examination of the accident scene will play a key role in this area.


While rules and regulations are constantly being improvised to prevent the occurrence of truck accidents, there is no denying that these horrendous accidents are still happening on our highways, and those affected must be compensated. Though the physical pain and mental trauma they go through can never be compensated for, those at fault must at least cover the complete financial expenses. The lawyers must ensure to get the victims the best deal through a court trial or out-of-court settlement.


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