Car Accidents

Involving Semi-Trucks
Semi-truck accidents in the state of Arizona are a very serious occurrence. Due to the size of a tractor-trailer versus the size of most other vehicles, serious injuries are almost a guaranteed result when a collision occurs. Semi-truck crashes account for approximately 12% of all motor vehicle fatalities. In 98% of those cases, it was the driver of the smaller vehicle who was killed. Any claim that car accidents involving commercial tractor-trailers in Arizona are deadly is a drastic understatement. The primary reason for these fatalities is the massive weight and size difference between an 80,000 pound fully-loaded semi-truck and a 3,000-5,000 pound passenger vehicle.

Improper working conditions are also a common factor in many of these accidents. Trucking companies often place a high priority on speed of delivery rather than on safety. This can expose motorists to the risk of becoming victims of a serious truck crash. Even the best truck drivers with significant experience and the right training can still make errors and cause an accident on the highway. In the vast majority of tractor-trailer accident cases, the cause of the accident is negligence by the commercial driver. Often times the truck driver was not paying attention, speeding, following too close, or was distracted by something in the cab.

Some of the most common reasons for semi-truck accidents include:

  • Driving while tired or drowsy
  • Driving in an aggressive manner
  • Driving at excessive speeds
  • Disregarding weather conditions
  • Driving with a truck that has been overloaded
  • Driving a truck that has not had the proper maintenance
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

A semi-truck crash is not just a motor vehicle accident with bigger vehicles. This type of collision involves complex and highly-specialized litigation and requires an experienced attorney with the following qualifications:

  • Thorough understanding of the regulations that govern the commercial trucking industry
  • Awareness of unethical industry practices including destroying and altering critical evidence
  • Access to trucking accident experts who can quickly be dispatched to the scene of a semi-truck accident
  • Many years of experience and specialized training in handling commercial trucking accidents
  • Intimate familiarity with trucking industry customs and practices

Injuries from a Car Crash with a Semi-Truck

The injuries that a victim of a semi-truck accident typically suffers from can have a significant impact on the rest of their life. Some of the more common semi-truck accident injuries include:

  • Head and neck injuries
  • Serious brain injury
  • Permanent debilitating spinal cord damages
  • Loss of function of internal organs
  • Compound fractures and crushed bones

The medical fees and other economic costs of these types of injuries can easily exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention the physical and emotional toll these injuries take on the victim.

When you’ve been injured in a truck accident, it can change your entire life. Similarly, if someone you love is killed in this type of vehicle crash, the emotional and financial distress can be overwhelming.

Maintenance Of 18-Wheelers

Recently, there was a study done on the correlation between defective mechanical parts and equipment on semi-trucks and the likelihood of an accident. The findings of this study were released in a national report and were nothing short of shocking.

Researchers began looking at a number of semi-truck accidents and focused on trucks that were recently examined by the state highway patrol for dangerous and faulty problems. When several of these 18-wheelers were subsequently involved in accidents on the highway, experts involved in the study set out to determine the extent to which the defective parts caused the collisions.

The findings pointed to the fact that over three quarters of the trucks had defective parts. Of these trucks with defective parts, over half of them had defective brakes and another quarter of them had problems with their steering. Additionally, the poor condition of truck tires was a serious issue, particularly on the front of the big rigs. Only a third of the trucks in the study did not have defects.

The Problem Of Disappearing Evidence In Semi-Truck Accident Cases

Semi-truck accidents can be very complex because critical evidence can often conveniently “disappear.” Trucking companies have been known to send their investigators and experts to the scene of the accident within minutes of a collision to protect their driver and trucking company. The big-rig truck can be moved or evidence at the scene can be altered, which could make it harder to prove what caused the accident.

Other pieces of evidence that could be tampered with are the driver’s logbook or the on-board data recorder. These logbooks are maintained by drivers to record the number of hours they have been on the road and compliance with mandatory rest period requirements. These logbooks are routinely manipulated or altered for a variety of reasons including protecting the company in the case of an accident. A truck driver’s violation of these rules may be important to establishing negligence and proving that driver fatigue was a factor in the semi-truck crash.

Unfortunately, drivers may abuse hours of service rules to increase their earnings at the expense of safety. In the name of profit, trucking companies often look the other way or even encourage this practice. This results in many overly fatigued semi-truck drivers on the road. This fatigue is a common cause of many semi-truck accidents in Pima County and throughout the United States. When you are a victim of a trucking accident it is important that you have a team of investigators and semi-truck accident lawyers looking out for your best interests. Trucking companies will have enormous resources and experts at their disposal and you should too.

Federal Regulation Of Trucking Companies

Truckers are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which provides comprehensive rules that both driver and motor carrier must follow. There are a few exemptions from the regulations but if the truck travels state-to-state, the company and drivers have to comply with regulations.

Some of the regulations that are important in many 18-wheeler lawsuits are as follows:

  • 391 - Qualification of drivers - many times drivers are not fit to drive as provided by the minimum standards of the regulations.
  • 392 - Driving of vehicles - this section provides for pre- and post-trip inspections, the physical condition of the driver, and other important standards.
  • 393 - Deals with necessary safety requirements for the condition of commercial vehicles, such as brakes, lighting, and warning reflectors.
  • 395 - Provides the maximum on-duty and driving hours a driver can log.

Complete Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations can be found on the FMCSA website.

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Personal Injury Lawyers for

Car Accidents

Involving Semi-Trucks

If you've been injured in a semi-truck accident, it is essential that you call an experienced personal injury lawyer. Call Grabb & Durando. Our dedicated attorneys will fight for your rights and help ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve.

Call us today to schedule a free consultation with our car accident lawyers.