According to the IIHS, 4,119 people died from truck crashes in the United States in 2019. Trucks are large commercial vehicles that industries use in transporting bulky goods from one side of the country to another. The long distances large vehicles travel makes them susceptible to different road hazards that might result in an accident.
When traffic crashes involving large trucks occur, they are devastating for the occupants of smaller vehicles. Understanding what causes truck accidents may reduce the risk but not eliminate it. This knowledge also lets you know when a truck driver would be at fault for the collision.
Knowing the fault party is crucial to compensation claims. Thus, in this article, our Indianapolis truck accident lawyers bring you the leading causes of truck crashes in Indiana. In addition, you can contact us if you or your loved one suffer injuries in an accident involving a large vehicle.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Truck Crashes?
Large trucks are an umbrella name for big rigs, 18-wheels, semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and other commercial trucks. Below, we list some of the leading factors that contribute to accidents involving these vehicles.
Truck Driver’s Error
Most often than not, a truck driver’s negligence leads to an accident. These mistakes could be due to inexperience or the fact that the driver is careless. Some of the known negligent actions of truck drivers are:
- Speeding and reckless driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failing to check blind spots
- Driving while distracted
- Exceeding the legal number of safe driving hours for truck drivers
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Taking turns or making a maneuver too fast
- Driving while fatigued or exhausted
If any of the above results in an accident, it’s very likely that the truck driver would be the only one to blame for the crash. In such an instance, you can commence the claims process against the driver’s auto insurance policy. However, if you somewhat contributed to the accident in any way, the Indiana comparative negligence rule will apply. Speak with an Indianapolis truck accident lawyer to find out how the law works.
Poor Maintenance of Trucks
Another leading cause of truck crashes is the failure to maintain trucks. As mentioned earlier, trucks spend a long time commuting from state to state. As a result, they are prone to issues like lower performance and the wearing of tires. The latter explains why there are several tire treads on several highways.
Also, a worn-out tire might lead to a blowout, which might cause an accident. Thus, trucking companies and independent truck drivers are obligated to carry out scheduled maintenance and inspections. If a truck company sends out a faulty truck and a crash happens, the driver will not be liable. Instead, the company will be the one to pay for damages. Similarly, if the fault lies with the mechanic who carries out repairs and maintenance, they’ll be the one to compensate the victim.
Improperly Loaded Cargo
The law imposes a duty on companies and personnel that load trucks to properly secure the cargo (goods). When cargo loaders fail to perform this duty, the goods either fall off the vehicle, causing a spillover accident or make the driver lose control. The latter causes rollover accidents. In such an instance, the cargo loader or company would be the liable party for the accident and not the driver.
It’s not uncommon for a defective vehicle part to cause a truck crash. For example, a faulty brake could cause an accident that the driver has no power to avoid. To prevent such occurrences, parts and vehicle manufacturers must ensure their products are top-notch. If not, they open themselves to a product liability lawsuit and a personal injury claim if an accident happens.
Dangerous Road and Adverse Weather Conditions
Sometimes, the cause of a truck accident is not negligence. Instead, several environmental factors might result in a collision. Two of such are dangerous road conditions and adverse weather. Typical examples are potholes, debris from road construction, missing dividers, heavy downpours, snow, etc. Of course, drivers must be careful on such roads, but sometimes, accidents still happen no matter how careful a person is. In such situations, a government entity or contractor might be the liable party.
Were You Involved in a Truck Crash? Let the Best Indianapolis Truck Accident Lawyers Help You!
Accidents happen that have life-altering consequences. While there’s nothing you can do about it, you can at least get monetary compensation. Our truck accident attorneys at Stewart|Phelps|Wood can help you get the compensation you deserve. We’ve done the same for several clients in Indianapolis, so call today to schedule a free case review.