Did you know that trucking accidents are up in the past few years? And did you know that trucking accidents are more than just semi-tractor-trailer crashes. Any large commercial vehicle can have a devastating impact on your life when not driven by a cautious and careful operator. At Crossroad Legal, our attorney isn’t just a decorated combat veteran and experienced trial lawyer; he is also a former CDL-holder and over the road truck driver. Between college and law school, our founding attorney, Jaye R Lindsay, spent a couple years driving tractor-trailers across the country. So, when we say we know trucking accidents, we mean it.
So, what makes a trucking accident more serious than a regular car wreck? Well, it should be fairly obvious that large commercial vehicles can do more damage. Not only are they larger and weigh more, but they brake slower and often carry explosive, corrosive or flammable substances. Some trucks like refrigerated ones may have pallets of frozen items that can shift in transit. The same is true of tanker trucks. Those in particular can experience a “surge” when attempting to stop, thereby allowing the fluid in the trailer to surge forward and literally shove the truck forward, regardless of an air brake. Finally, truck drivers are largely incentivized to drive past their comfort zones, whether it be driving in new areas that they are not as familiar with or driving far longer than they should, in order to meet unrealistic deadlines. These are just a few reasons why trucking crashes can be so horrific.
Common Causes of Trucking Crashes
While there are practically infinite “reasons” why a semi-truck may collide with a passenger vehicle, the following are some of the most common causes we see in everyday practice:
- Tailgating. Impatient truckers sometimes bully other drivers by getting right up on top of them, driving almost on their back bumpers. All it takes is the slightest thing, like a dog running across the road or a car up ahead stopping abruptly, and everyone in that car can be killed in an instant. There is simply no excuse for this type of reckless driving.
- Speeding. While engine restrictors (i.e. governors) and company policies have largely cut down on this, many independent drivers who are not employed by large trucking companies still speed way over the limit. When you consider that semi-trucks can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds, it’s no wonder that speeding is a leading cause of serious injury or fatality on the highway.
- Over-Tracking / Side Swiping. This happens when a truck driver isn’t watching their blind spots and attempts to change lanes, actually driving over top of a passenger vehicle. These are almost always fatal or serious in nature.
- Driver fatigue. Perhaps the most well-known problem for truck drivers is driving past their hours of service. The U.S. Department of Transportation sets out national standards and legal guidelines for commercial drivers to follow relating to how long they can work and drive between rest breaks and sleep breaks. Drivers are notorious for violating these rules to make a profit. In fact, some companies practically make it impossible to earn a living if a driver doesn’t violate these rules. But when a trucker falls asleep at the wheel, terrible things happen to innocent people on the road.
If someone you know and love has been hurt in a trucking accident, you have to act fast. We’re very serious about this. It’s not a sales pitch, and we aren’t trying to make people scared. Rather, trucking companies move very quickly to hide their own fault. Our attorney has personally witnessed this. In 2019, while working a trucking case, we discovered that the truck that had struck a vehicle, smashing it into an embankment in East St. Louis, was entirely repaired overnight by the company. That’s right, a risk management team had responded to the scene of the crash, arriving before the police. They were on site preparing the driver and coaching him through what he would say to police, while the victim lay helplessly bleeding in her car. Once police investigated, got our client to an ambulance and off site, the company had the truck towed back to their yard where mechanics went to work immediately, repairing two major support joists and re-painting any area that had scuffs. By the time the attorney was able to view the truck 6 days later, it appeared that all evidence was gone! Fortunately, the trucking company had not counted on a disgruntled employee spilling the beans on the company’s conduct, which ultimately resulted in a significant settlement.
The point is, trucking companies know that these cases can be huge losses with massive payouts, so they have a big incentive to lie, deceive, and hide evidence. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the sooner your lawyer can have private investigators working to preserve evidence and locate those clues that may save your case. So, if you or a loved one have been involved in a trucking collision, call Crossroad Legal 24/7, and let us help you get the compensation you deserve. The call is free, and you never pay a penny unless we recover money for you!
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All consultations are free of charge. Effective July 1, 2023, our office performs all initial consultations via phone or video chat, as we find this allows us to help people who may not be able to travel after their injuries. However, in-person appointments may be scheduled in advance. Our firm does not do walk-ins, as we cannot guarantee that the attorney will be in the office at that time. Please see our “Crossroad Pledge” for more information about how Crossroad Legal is different than other firms you may have seen.