Large commercial trucks often weigh between 35,000 and 80,000 pounds when loaded with cargo. So, as you can imagine, when these trucks cause collisions, the results can be devastating for motorists and their passengers alike.
It’s well known that truck accident fatalities are overwhelmingly other motorists, and truck drivers themselves only make up a small portion of victims. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported a total of 4,119 traffic deaths caused by commercial truck accidents in 2019. A staggering 67 percent of those fatalities were occupants of passenger vehicles. Due to the serious danger that truck accidents pose to other motorists, trucking companies must protect others on the road by properly vetting, training, and supervising their drivers. Unfortunately, some trucking companies are negligent in this duty.
If you were injured in a truck accident caused by a trucking company’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation for the financial losses caused by the accident. The attorneys at Loewy Law Firm in Austin can help you get. We can review your case, collect evidence to help support your claim and work tirelessly to seek the compensation you deserve. Find out more in a free consultation by contacting us.
The Responsibility of Trucking Companies
Trucking companies must protect other motorists on the road by ensuring that they properly vet their employees, hire experienced drivers, and provide those drivers with adequate training and supervision.
- Vetting – Trucking companies must vet their drivers before hiring them. This includes conducting a proper background check and ensuring that drivers have the required licenses.
- Hiring – Trucking companies have an obligation to hire experienced drivers and to train less experienced drivers adequately.
- Training – Drivers with less than five years of experience are much more likely to cause accidents than more seasoned drivers. Trucking companies must give all of their employees adequate training before they get behind the wheel.
- Supervision – Trucking companies must supervise their employees by conducting regular drug testing, reporting accidents to the federal government, and ensuring that all employees abide by federal hours of service regulations.
Potential Issues Caused by Company Negligence
Unfortunately, some trucking companies are negligent in their duty to protect other motorists. Some examples of trucking company negligence include:
- Unqualified drivers – There’s a concerning shortage of experienced truck drivers in the US, and this trend is expected to worsen. Trucking companies have offered incentives such as better pay and bonuses to attract new drivers, but some of these new hires may lack the proper experience. Less qualified drivers are more likely to make careless errors and to lose control of their trucks.
- Poor training – Sometimes, trucking companies fail to provide their less experienced drivers with proper training. Drivers who didn’t receive adequate training are less likely to know how to navigate hazardous road conditions. When undertrained truck drivers encounter emergencies, they may not know how to react, leading to devastating accidents.
- Hours of service violations – Truck drivers work long hours and are under constant pressure to make their deliveries on time. Sometimes, trucking companies force their drivers to ignore hours of service regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in order to increase profits. This type of trucking company recklessness can cause their drivers to drive while fatigued, which can lead to accidents.
- Failure to inspect trucks – In some cases, trucking companies fail to inspect their trucks regularly, which can lead to accidents. It costs trucking companies valuable time and money to perform inspections, which they know they could use to increase profits instead.
Injuries Caused by Trucking Company Negligence
Collisions involving a large commercial truck can cause devastating injuries to motorists and their passengers. Some of the most common types of injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries – Traumatic brain injuries, also known as TBI’s, are typically caused by a violent blow to the head, which frequently occurs in collisions. Traumatic brain injuries can include life-threatening conditions such as hematomas and skull fractures.
- Spinal cord injuries – Spinal cord injuries can include ruptured or slipped discs, pinched nerves, and fractured vertebrae.
- Paralysis – If the debris from the collision transects the spinal cord, then paralysis can occur below the site of the injury.
- Internal injuries – Common internal injuries include ruptured vital organs, such as the spleen, liver, kidneys, and diaphragm, punctured lungs (often caused by broken ribs), subdural hematomas, and other injuries. It’s important to be checked by a medical professional immediately after an accident since internal injuries and bleeding are not always visually apparent.
- Broken and fractured bones – Truck accidents commonly cause broken and fractured bones in the limbs, ribs, pelvis, and back. They can require months of recovery, including surgery and in-patient rehab.
- Burns, scrapes, and lacerations – Exposure to toxic chemicals, fuel, and fire can cause burns, which can lead to permanent disfigurement.
- Amputation – Tragically, some truck accidents, such as underride accidents, lead to dismemberment.
- Whiplash – Whiplash is a soft-tissue injury caused by the head and neck jerking violently back and forth during an impact. Symptoms of whiplash don’t always appear immediately, and if left untreated, whiplash can cause chronic health issues.
Compensation for a Truck Accident
If you were in an accident that you believe was caused by trucking company negligence, you could be entitled to compensation. Compensation for truck crashes covers related costs, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages if you’re unable to work
- Vehicle damage
- Pain and suffering
In rare cases, a judge may find that a trucking company behaved in an excessively dangerous manner and that their negligence led directly to the accident. In these situations, you could be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to “punish” negligent parties for excessive carelessness and recklessness.
Contact an Austin Truck Accident Lawyer
If you sustained injuries in a truck accident in the Austin area, contact one of our experienced Austin truck accident attorneys at Loewy Law Firm as soon as possible. Truck accidents can be complex, but we have the skills and resources to handle even the most complex of truck accident cases.
Our attorneys can conduct a thorough investigation of the accident, collect vital evidence to help prove your case, identify the at-fault parties, and aggressively seek compensation on your behalf. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.