When driving you have to pay careful attention to everything going on around you. The risk of an accident is not just your own driving but the actions of those who you share the road with. Trucks are a common sight on the highways and, with the size and scope of the shipping industry, can be a daily occurrence as you go to work or drive to the store. Due to being such a common sight, trucks can easily blend in with the rest of the traffic. But trucks present a severe hazard when they are involved in an accident. Truck drivers are as susceptible to accidents as any other driver and, due to the nature of their work, they spend a great deal of time on the road. If you’ve been involved in an accident involving a truck, your property damage and injuries can be quite serious. In such a situation, hiring truck accident lawyers in Houston is one of the most important steps you can take.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents often have the same root cause as any other type of automobile accident: a lapse in judgment or simply human error. However, due to the size of trucks, these accidents are more severe and the nature of the industry can produce situations where the chance for errors increases. These causes can include:
- Fatigue: the trucking industry operates on very tight timelines and this puts a lot of pressure on truckers to get their cargo where it needs to go as quickly as possible. While federal law mandates driving limits and enforces time periods for rest and recovery, some truckers will ignore these laws to make better time. Driving when fatigued greatly increases the odds of an accident.
- Distraction: long haul trucking can be boring, lonely, and monotonous. Many parts of the country are sparsely populated with miles of nothing in-between larger cities. This can cause truck drivers to try to relieve their boredom by eating, texting, making phone calls, and doing other activities that can take their eyes off the road. These distractions can easily lead to accidents as it only takes a second for a distraction to cause an automobile accident.
- Mechanical Issues: many trucking companies run on tight budgets. This can lead to cut corners and improper maintenance. In an attempt to save time, save money, and get back on the road, some trucking companies do not perform the level of maintenance and repairs needed to keep their fleet in safe operating condition.
- Bad Driving Habits: another cause of truck accidents is bad driving habits. Like any other driver, some truckers develop bad habits that can lead to accidents. These include speeding, changing lanes without checking, traveling too close to other vehicles, not using turn signals, road rage, and more.
- Impairment: many automobile accidents have some type of impairment as a cause of driver carelessness or error. Driver impairment can include drug use, alcohol, or other types of impairment such as fatigue.
Why Truck Accidents Are So Severe
Auto accidents in general are quite traumatic events and those involving trucks even more so. Every year, 1 in 10 automotive accident deaths involve a large truck. The reasons for this can include truck driver error due to a lack of training, fatigue, and mechanical issues such as brake failure. A fully loaded tractor-trailer is nearly twenty times as heavy as the average car with a weight of 80,000 pounds versus 4,000 pounds. This creates an accident situation where a passenger vehicle simply cannot survive the impact force and size of the other vehicle. Add to this the fact that most trucks are slow to respond and require long stopping distances and you have a situation where an error or outside road hazards can easily lead to an accident.
Why You Need an Attorney
When you’ve been hurt in an automobile accident, it can be hard to know what to do next. Your most pressing concerns are, of course, your recovery and any impact the accident may have on your responsibilities such as your job, finances, or family. When you’ve been hurt through no fault of your own, you want to be made whole and get the compensation you are due. When you’ve been in an accident with a truck (and, by extension, a trucking company) you may have to deal with a team of corporate lawyers. That’s why you need an attorney to fight for your rights. The experience, care, knowledge, and attention to detail an expert brings to your case ensures you have your side heard, receive the compensation you are due, and are fairly represented.
The Case Process
When you hire an attorney, they start organizing your case and collecting information. Your attorney will collect supporting evidence such as police reports, witness statements, video, pictures, and expert witnesses. Once your medical treatment has been billed all associated costs will be used as part of your claim. If the insurance company cannot come to a satisfactory agreement, the next step is for your attorney to file a lawsuit and start formal legal proceedings. Do note, that a trial may still not happen as many lawsuits do lead to settlements.
An automobile accident involving a truck can be a highly stressful and traumatic event. It can also be especially frustrating when you’ve done nothing wrong and been hurt by the carelessness of another person. If you or a member of your family has been hurt in a truck-related accident, you have a right to fair and just representation and should contact an attorney to get the assistance you need and the results you deserve.