Truck accidents are not only quite common, but they tend to give rise to more severe injuries than other types of auto accidents, in major part because the impact force caused by a truck tends to be much higher on average. As such, it’s critically important that truck drivers are considerate of unique the risks involved in operating their vehicles, and that they drive appropriately so as to minimize those risks to the best degree possible.
If you have suffered injuries in a truck accident scenario, then you may have a right of action against the truck driver — and potentially even their employer — for damages under Arizona law. In Arizona, and elsewhere, truck accidents (whether involving a commercial truck or a personal vehicle) may be caused by a range of negligence-related factors.
Consider the following.
Improper Cargo Loading
Improper cargo loading is perhaps one of the most common causes of truck accidents, as it can lead to rollover risks. Truck drivers — along with cargo loaders, supervisors, etc. — must make reasonable efforts to ensure that cargo has been loaded appropriately so as to avoid a heightened rollover risk. This applies to non-commercial contexts, too. For example, if the defendant has rented a U-Haul truck, and decides to load all their heavy furniture to one side of the truck, then that could lead to a rollover accident.
Failure to Properly Maintain Vehicle
Trucks must be adequately maintained to prevent mechanical issues that could lead to an accident on the road. In the commercial context, a number of state and federal regulations govern inspections — failure to adhere to these rules may expose the driver and their employer to significant liability.
Intoxication, Stimulant Use, and Exhausted Driving
Intoxicated driving (i.e., intoxication through drugs or alcohol) is a common factor leading to truck accidents, and in many scenarios is a response to the exhausting schedules imposed on truck drivers. In an effort to stay awake or better manage their emotions (that have suffered due to exhaustion), some truck drivers may consume alcohol, or take various drugs and stimulants. This can give the truck driver a false, positive impression of their ability to control the vehicle, however, when the safer option would simply be to rest.
Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to bring an action against the employer if the employer knew or reasonably should have known that the driver in question would be taking drugs while operating the truck.
In some cases, employers may fail to perform comprehensive, adequate background checks of their truck drivers, which can lead to situations where a truck driver does not have a valid license to operate a particular class of commercial vehicle. An improperly-licensed driver is a dangerous one — others on the roadway may be exposed to an unreasonable risk of injury due to the driver’s lack of experience and/or assumed incompetence, given that they have not been qualified by the government.
In the commercial context, truck drivers are often seriously strained by their employers to perform their job duties within highly time-crunched schedules, and as such, may feel as though they have to “speed” in order to accomplish their tasks before the deadline passes. As compensation (and job security) can be linked to timeliness, the pressure to speed is rather significant.
Speeding trucks present an even greater danger on roadways than speeding cars and motorcycles, for obvious reasons — a speeding truck carries a sizable mass, and thus requires more space to come to a complete stop. This is particularly true when the truck is loaded down with heavy cargo. When a truck is excessively speeding, it may not be capable of engaging an immediate stop in the event of sudden road interference (i.e., a car pulls in front of the truck while it is speeding).
Schedule a Free Consultation
Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have decades of experience handling auto accident claims involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, and pedestrians. We understand that otherwise straightforward injury lawsuits can be complicated by a range of factors that arise during litigation, and as such, we have dedicated our practice to personal injury, specifically — this focus has given us deep insight into what makes for an effective truck accident claim.
We are results-oriented, and believe that our unique, specialized approach to litigation has paid significant dividends. Over the years, we have secured well over 100 million dollars on behalf of injured clients, through favorable verdicts and negotiated settlements. Further, we offer discounted contingency fees, so our clients can keep more of what they receive.
Interested in learning more about your claims and the steps necessary to effectively secure damages? Call (602) 535-1900 or submit an online claim evaluation form to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a seasoned attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon. We look forward to assisting you.