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Experienced Truck Accident Attorney in Phoenix, AZ

Unsecured and improperly secured cargo loads are a significant contributor to truck accidents in Arizona, and throughout the United States.  According to a study conducted by the AAA Foundation, between 2011 and 2014, a failure to properly secure loads led to more than 200,000 crashes, 39,000 injuries, and 500 deaths.

If you have sustained injuries in a truck accident that was caused by an unsecured or improperly secured cargo load, then Arizona law may entitle you to compensation.  Contact us at Hirsch & Lyon to learn more about how we can help.

Risks Posed by Unsecured Cargo

Unsecured and improperly secured cargo on trucks pose major accident risks to others on the roadway, including but not limited to:

  • Heightened probability of a rollover accident
  • Reduced maneuverability of truck
  • Unexpected and inconsistent impact on maneuverability of truck
  • Danger of loose cargo exiting the truck and colliding with others

Multiple Liability Sources

When litigating a truck accident dispute centered around the damages caused by unsecured or improperly secured cargo, you may be faced with significant challenges (and opportunities) due to the nature of the accident — simply put, responsibility for an unsecured or improperly secured cargo load does not typically rest on the shoulders of a single defendant.  In fact, there may be multiple defendants on whom liability can be imposed:

  • Drivers and their employers
  • Cargo loaders and their employers

How does this work in real-world terms?  Consider the following example.

Suppose that you are seriously injured by a truck in an accident where the cargo was improperly secured, causing it to shift during operation and develop into a rollover collision situation.  You investigate the case further and discover that there are multiple defendants who can be held liable: 1) the cargo loaders, for negligently failing to secure the cargo so that it was balanced in the truck; 2) their employers, under a theory of vicarious liability or perhaps for their own independent negligence in failing to exercise due care in hiring/supervising the cargo loading employees; 3) the driver, for negligently failing to inspect the cargo and ensure that it was loaded properly; and 4) their employers, under a theory of vicarious liability or perhaps for their own independent negligence in failing to exercise due care in hiring/supervising the driver employee.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon for a Free Consultation

Hirsch & Lyon is a boutique personal injury firm with an exclusive focus on handling personal injury cases.  Our attorneys boast over seven decades of combined experience representing plaintiffs and have a long track record of success in securing favorable results through trial verdicts and negotiated settlements.

There are many firms operating in the personal injury space, but we set ourselves apart through our specialized advocacy, commitment to client-oriented service, and discounted contingency fees.  From the start of an engagement, we strive to develop a close and transparent relationship so that we can further their interests more effectively as the dispute progresses.

If you have any questions, or are interested in moving forward with your claims, we encourage you to get in touch.  Call us at 602-535-1900 or send us a message through our online form to request a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Phoenix truck accident attorney at our firm.

Multi-vehicle pileups (also known as “chain reaction accidents”) are not uncommon on busy roadways in Arizona, and in the United States at-large.  When a motor vehicle accident occurs, then — depending on the conditions of the road and the average speed at which cars, trucks, and motorcycles are moving — a pileup could quite easily develop, causing the initial event to spiral out-of-control and affect a much larger group of people.

If you’ve been harmed in a multi-vehicle pileup, you may be feeling confused and somewhat overwhelmed by the prospect of litigation, and for good reason.  It may be unclear where you should even begin — there could be several different drivers who you believe are responsible for causing your injuries.

Multi-vehicle pileup liability can be simplified through the application of basic causation principles.  Let’s take a quick look.

Understanding the Chain of Causation

In multi-vehicle pileups, the core issue is that of the chain of causation.  Defendants may only be held liable if their actions substantially contribute to the injuries you suffered, and if the chain of causation “linking” their actions to your injuries is continuous.

Concurrent Causation

Arizona law does not shield defendants from liability simply because others were simultaneously negligent, reckless, or intentionally engaged in misconduct.  If there are multiple causes to an accident (as is typical in a multi-vehicle pileup where several cars and trucks might fail to exercise reasonable care and thereby contribute to the pileup), then each defendant responsible for contributing to the accident can be held liable.

Determining whether a defendant has substantially contributed to an injury requires an evaluation of but-for causation.  In other words, if the injury would not have occurred “but for” the defendant’s negligence, recklessness, or wrongful misconduct, then their actions may be counted among the substantial causes of the injury.

For example, imagine that a multi-vehicle pileup begins to form.  It is a low-speed pileup, so you have fortunately not suffered a major injury.  Then, a speeding truck slams into the pile and causes a car to flip onto your hood, leading to severe injuries.  The truck is not the sole cause of your injuries but is certainly a “but for” concurrent cause.

Intervening Causation

Intervening causation is a defense used by many drivers when circumstances allow.  If the causal chain is severed, then the defendant can avoid liability.  The causal chain can only be severed if the subsequent, intervening events were not reasonably foreseeable.

For example, let’s return to the multi-vehicle pileup scenario above.  One of the low-speed defendants might argue that the speeding truck slamming into the pileup was an intervening cause, and that the truck driver should be held fully responsible for the damages.  This might not be a fair argument, however, as one could counter-argue that by causing a pileup on the roadway, it is reasonably foreseeable that a large vehicle could collide with the disabled vehicles and cause additional harm.

Liability is Proportionally Assessed

Arizona previously applied what is known as “joint and several liability,” which imposed full liability (for all damages) on each of the defendants in a case, no matter how much fault they actually contributed.  This was quite useful in the multi-vehicle pileup context, as the injured plaintiff could pursue recovery against any one of the defendants on the basis of their ability to pay the damages.

These days, however, Arizona has abolished joint and several liability.  Instead, each defendant is only responsible for damages proportional to their own fault contribution.  For example, if you are injured by three vehicles, and each is 33.3 percent at-fault, then you could recover 33.3 percent of your total damages from each of those driver defendants — no more than that.

Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced Phoenix Truck Accident Lawyer

Hirsch & Lyon is a Phoenix-based personal injury litigation firm with extensive experience handling various motor vehicle lawsuits, including those that primarily involve car, truck, and motorcycle accidents.  We are well-equipped to help clients navigate the complexities of a multi-vehicle pileup accident, and to secure maximum available compensation in such disputes.

Ready to connect to an experienced Phoenix truck accident lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon?  Call 602-535-1900 or send us a message through our website.  Consultation is free, confidential, and no-obligation, so don’t delay.  It’s important that you secure legal assistance as soon as possible.

If you’ve injured in an accident due to a commercial truck driver’s negligence, then Arizona law may entitle you to significant compensation.

When litigating a claim against a commercial truck driver — and thanks to the application of vicarious liability principles, their employer — you may find that establishing negligence is somewhat “easier” to do than litigating a claim against a non-commercial driver.  As a general rule, professionals in all walks of life are held to a stricter standard of care in skill/knowledge areas than the average person.

Let’s take a quick peek at why this dynamic exists.

Negligence Basics and the Standard of Care

In order to prove the defendant’s negligence, you will have to show that they violated the applicable standard of care under the circumstances, and that in doing so, they substantially contributed to your injuries.  The standard of care (in truck accidents and in other contexts) is that of a reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances.

How does this work?

When a defendant injures you in an accident, for example, the court will evaluate what a reasonably prudent person would have done had they been put in the same or similar circumstances.  This is a rather “fuzzy” determination, depending on the case.  Suppose that a driver gets into a collision after quickly changing the channel on their radio player — it may not be obvious that a reasonably prudent person under the same or similar circumstances would not have taken their eyes off the road for a second to change the station.

Commercial drivers (i.e., truckers) may be held to a higher standard due to their role as professionals.

Professional Skillset and Knowledge Play a Significant Role

Negligence is a violation of the standard of care, which is a measure of what a reasonably prudent person would have done under the same or similar circumstances, but there’s an important caveat — those circumstances are not just external, but also internal.

If the defendant is a professional truck driver with a commercial license and years of experience and specialized training, then the jury is well within their rights to evaluate that information with regard to the standard of care.  Fairly evaluating a reasonably prudent person under the same or similar circumstances must necessarily involve a professional driver, as those are the circumstances applicable to the case.  If the defendant is driving an eighteen wheeler truck, for example, it would hardly be representative of the case at-hand for the court to compare the defendant to an imagined “non-commercial driver” who is operating the same vehicle under the same road conditions.

Thus, the advanced training and knowledge of the commercial trucker defendant is almost certainly going to be advantageous for your claims, as the defendant will naturally be expected to exercise a higher level of caution and skill.

Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Phoenix Truck Accident Lawyer

Hirsch & Lyon is a boutique personal injury litigation firm located in Phoenix, AZ, and serving injured plaintiffs throughout the state of Arizona.

We have extensive experience litigating claims on behalf of those who have been harmed due to the fault of another in various motor vehicle accident scenarios, from truck accidents to car accidents — in fact, we exclusively handle such disputes.  Our focus on personal injury cases makes us especially well-equipped to navigate the complexities of truck accident litigation (involving commercial truck drivers and their employers) and to secure maximum compensation for our clients.

If you’d like to learn more about your claims and how best to move forward on the road to recovery, call 602-535-1900 or send us a message through our website to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Phoenix truck accident lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon today.

Though truck accident claims can be a challenge to litigate, there are a number of unique opportunities available to those who are plaintiffs in such litigation.

For example, if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a commercial trucker, then you could be entitled to bring an action for damages against their employer pursuant to vicarious liability principles.

Among these various opportunities is the electronic logging device (ELD) that has been federally mandated for commercial drivers who are required to prepare hours-of-service records for their work.

Let’s take a closer look.

What is an Electronic Logging Device?

Recently, federal legislation (that has been in the works since 2012) has come into effect.  The legislation mandates that an ELD be installed for commercial drivers — including truckers — to keep track of various data points that are intended to help manage driver “cheating” and minimize the safety risks typical of the industry, such as over-scheduling.  An ELD keeps track of a driver’s hours logged (and speed), among other data.

How does an ELD help?

Drivers cannot drive more than 11 hours a day, nor can they work more than 14 hours a day total.  Previously, drivers could “fudge the numbers” on their paper sheets by logging less than they actually worked, thus enabling them to travel a farther distance (so that they can be eligible for compensation bonuses) while remaining within the hourly maximum.  Now, with the ELD system in place, commercial drivers cannot log more than the maximum amount.  If they do, then the system will record the violation.

Multiple Avenues for Liability

As the plaintiff, you can utilize the ELD data in a multitude of ways to establish liability.

Suppose that you are attempting to show that the driver was negligent, and therefore liable for your injuries.  After evaluating the ELD data, you are able to demonstrate that the driver was operating their truck at an excessive speed at the time of the accident.  Alternatively, you might be able to show that the driver had violated their maximum hourly quota for the day and were therefore “fatigued,” contributing to the accident.

There may also be avenues for liability against the employer.  Following the implementation of ELD systems, many commercial truckers are being incentivized to drive even faster in order to achieve their mileage bonuses.  If the employer is aware that truckers are driving recklessly to satisfy a company bonus, then that employer may be held liable for not changing the incentive structure or retraining truckers appropriately.

Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Phoenix Truck Accident Lawyer

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have decades of experience advocating on behalf of those who have suffered serious injuries in various motor vehicle accidents, including truck accidents.

Given the impact forces associated with truck collisions, such accidents can quite easily lead to catastrophic injuries.  We are well aware of how much victims rely on successful litigation to recover damages that could help them pay off expenses and establish a sense of “normalcy” in their life once again.  As such, we invest a great deal of time into understanding every dispute and are relentless in representing the interests of our clients at every stage of the litigation process.  This client-centered approach has helped us recover over $100 million in damages since our founding.

Call 602-535-1900 or send us an online message to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Phoenix truck accident lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon today.  We look forward to assisting you.

Phoenix Truck Accident Lawyer

In the realm of motor vehicle accidents, truck accidents are uniquely dangerous — particularly those that involve large trucks that may be loaded with cargo.  Trucks tend to be heavier than other vehicles, and as such, the impact forces in an accident are likely to be much more severe.  The aggregate force of impact can lead to serious (if not catastrophic) injuries or even death.

Truck accidents can occur for a number of reasons, but among the more common types of truck accidents are those that are caused by improper cargo loading.  Improper cargo loading involves cargo that is not adequately secured (and is therefore prone to sliding or tumbling in the back of the truck), or cargo that has been placed in such a way that it creates a structural imbalance.

Let’s examine this issue more closely.

Improper Cargo Loading Can Create a Substantial Rollover Accident Risk

Improper cargo loading — whether the cargo has not been secured properly or has been placed in a manner that creates a fundamental weight imbalance — can lead to a rollover accident in many cases, particularly situations where the driver is taking a sharp turn.

Drivers may be additionally liable for failing to take into account their cargo load.  For example, if a truck driver is carrying a full load of cargo, they should be careful to slow down when taking turns and shifting lanes so as not to create a rollover accident.  Drivers must be considerate of the unique circumstances under which they are operating the vehicle.  Failure to do so could lead to significant civil liability.

Multiple Defendants May Be Liable, Depending on the Circumstances

Improper cargo loading may expose multiple defendants to civil liability, depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident.  Parties whose negligence may have contributed to improper cargo loading include, but are not necessarily limited, to the following:

  • Driver (who may not have properly evaluated the balance of cargo in their vehicle before setting off on their journey)
  • Physical laborers who loaded the cargo itself (who may have failed to follow the requisite procedures/plans ensuring that the cargo was properly loaded in a balanced manner)
  • Supervisors who failed to properly guide the cargo loading workers
  • Shipping company (who may not have established adequate protocols to limit the risk of improper cargo loading)
  • And more

This can be an incredible opportunity for the injured plaintiff, as it enables the plaintiff to secure a payout from multiple different sources in the event that one of the defendants does not have the resources to cover their damages in full.

Schedule a Free and Confidential Consultation With an Experienced Phoenix Truck Accident Lawyer

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have decades of experience representing the interests of those who have been injured in truck accidents, including those that resulted from improper cargo loading.  Improper cargo loading in the truck accident context exposes others on the roadways to an excessive and unreasonable risk of harm — trucks are already at a heightened risk of a rollover accident, and improper cargo loading can further exacerbate this risk.

We have a results-oriented approach to litigation.  It is our belief that aggressive and relentless representation is critical to securing justice, particularly in cases where the defendant is uncooperative or otherwise hostile to the client.  This approach has paid dividends over the years.  We have litigated numerous motor vehicle accident claims and have successfully obtained favorable verdicts and settlements on behalf of injured clients, with over $100 million recovered in total.

Interested?

Call 602-535-1900 or submit an online case evaluation form to schedule a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation with an experienced Phoenix truck accident lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon today.

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.

Inadequate Licensing

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.

Speeding

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.

In Arizona, if you have been injured in a car accident (or any other accident) due to the negligence of a defendant-driver who is an employee acting within the course and scope of their employment at the time of the accident, then you may be entitled to sue and recover damages from their employer.  This is known as the doctrine of vicarious liability.

What is Vicarious Liability?

Vicarious liability — also known as respondeat superior — is a doctrine implemented by the state of Arizona (and many other states) that holds employers liable for the negligence committed by their employees.  A claim brought against an employer pursuant to vicarious liability is not separate or distinct in any way from the claim that you would otherwise bring against the driver.  If you are bringing a claim against the employer for contributing to your injuries (i.e., asserting that the employer negligently hired or supervised the employee driver), then that will be separate and distinct from your vicarious liability claim.

This can all be rather complicated to understand, at first glance, so let’s go through a quick example for clarification.

Imagine that you suffer injuries in a car accident involving a pizza delivery driver.  The driver was operating their vehicle negligently at the time of the accident, and was on their way to delivering pizzas to customers.  You could ostensibly sue and recover damages from both the driver and their pizzeria employer.

In some cases, the employer may contribute to the accident by acting negligently themselves.  For example, if the pizzeria in the previous example was aware that the driver had a long history of reckless driving (i.e., license suspensions, drunk driving, numerous accidents, etc.), then you may be able to bring a separate claim against the pizzeria employer for negligent hiring/supervision.

Course and Scope of Employment

In order to successfully bring a claim pursuant to vicarious liability, you must show that the driver was acting within the course and scope of their employment.  In other words, you must show that the driver was either performing his or her regular job duties, or were otherwise furthering some legitimate business purpose at the time of the accident.  For example, if the driver left work and was driving to meet some friends for dinner, that would likely not count as acting “within the course and scope” of their employment.

When determining whether the driver’s actions are within the course and scope of their employment, the court will look the the extent to which the driver was subject to the control of their employer.  The greater amount of control over the driver’s behavior that the employer can exert, the more likely it is that a court will find that the driver was acting within the course and scope of their employment.

In a surprising number of car accident cases, the defendant-driver is in fact an employee (acting within the course and scope of their employment), thus making the lawsuit somewhat more complicated, and potentially, making it more likely that the plaintiff can receive full compensation for their injuries.  Critically, Arizona law entitles plaintiffs to sue and recover damages from the employer on the basis of vicarious liability, but it only applies in certain circumstances.

Connect with an experienced Phoenix car accident lawyer here at Hirsch & Lyon.  Call (602) 535-1900 today.  Initial consultation is free — our attorneys will assess your claims and help you navigate the litigation process.

We look forward to speaking with you.

According to federal regulators, the number of accidents, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks continue to occur at historically high levels. In its April 2017 report summarizing crash statistics from 2015 (the most recent year available), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) concluded that:

  • The number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes increased by 8 percent from 2014.
  • The number of large trucks involved in injury crashes decreased by 1 percent from 2014 (but that small decrease followed a more than 60% increase from 2009 to 2014).
  • The number of buses involved in fatal crashes increased by 11 percent from 2014.
  • The number of vehicle miles traveled by large trucks was basically unchanged from 2014 to 2015.

Overall, large truck accidents cause about 4,000 fatalities and 100,000 injuries in the US on an annual basis.

As technology continues to improve passenger vehicle safety, why have large trucks become an increasing hazard on Phoenix highways and other US roads over the last decade?

Deregulation

Trucking industry experts point to various regulatory changes that could improve safety but Congress has consistently resisted imposing additional restrictions on the industry. Even worse, Congress has proposed rolling back some existing trucking company regulations and weakening FMCSA’s oversight abilities, such as:

  • Increasing the maximum permitted workweek for truckers from 70 to 82 hours during every 8-day period.
  • Discouraging FMCSA from investing in wireless technology to improve the monitoring of trucks and drivers.
  • Permitting longer and heavier trucks on the road while lowering the minimum age of interstate truck drivers from 21 to 18.

Lack of Technology

Large trucks in Europe are more likely to include the kinds of safety features that have become standard in passenger vehicles – electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, airbags and collision avoidance systems. Even though this technology is offered by the major truck manufacturers, the US trucking industry has generally not invested in those upgrades because of their cost.

Sleepy Drivers

Numerous studies have shown that truckers are more likely to suffer from obesity and sleep apnea than the general population. Sleep apnea interferes with normal sleep and leaves people with the condition chronically fatigued during the day. Even though FMCSA’s studies have concluded that trucker fatigue is one of the leading causes of large truck accidents, Congress has consistently slowed down any FMSCA efforts to impose mandatory apnea screening for truckers.

Compounding the apnea problem is the brutal schedule most truckers maintain to earn a living – often in violation of the weekly hour limits imposed by FMCSA. They routinely work overtime hours to earn more money and to make up “lost” miles from traffic and other delays. The trucking companies make things worse by asking drivers to comply with unrealistic delivery schedules.

If you or a family member has been injured in a truck accident, call a Phoenix truck accident attorney at Hirsch & Lyon for a free consultation. With offices throughout the Phoenix metro area, our lawyers can provide the representation you need to get the compensation you deserve.

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