Phoenix Truck Accident Lawyers, Arizona
Holding truck companies and drivers liable when their negligence harms others in Maricopa County, Arizona
While truck service is a necessity, when truck accidents happen (and they happen a lot), the accidents are much more dangerous and deadly than automobile accidents. The size, weight, and dimensions of the truck create huge amounts of physical force that are simply no match for cars and lighter vehicles. Accident victims who survive often suffer injuries that last a lifetime. Semis, 18-wheelers, and other commercial trucks tend to cause the most serious injuries.
As one of the largest cities in the country, trucks are in constant motion along the Phoenix’s mix of Intestate, US, and state highways. Some of the most dangerous truck routes are along Interstates 10, 17, and 60, State Highways 40 and 87, and US Highway 93. It is essential to hold truck drivers and the companies that hire them liable, not just to compensate victims, but also to force the responsible parties to take corrective action. The Phoenix truck accident lawyers at Plattner Verderame, P.C. are a team of litigators that clients and other lawyers refer cases to because of our first-rate skills, resources, and professional networks.
We understand the unique challenges and issues involved in Phoenix truck accident claims. For example, in one case we obtained a $3.5 million settlement for a woman permanently injured by a cement truck that ran a red light. In another case, we obtained $1 million for a young woman who suffered orthopedic injuries, PTSD, and mild brain injury when a pickup truck struck her bicycle.
How can we help?
- How do your lawyers fight for truck accident victims?
- How dangerous are truck accidents in Arizona?
- What types of truck accidents does your Phoenix law firm handle?
- What are the federal rules and regulations for truck drivers?
- Who is liable for a truck accident in Phoenix?
- Do you have a truck accident lawyer near me?
How do your lawyers fight for truck accident victims?
Our goal in your commercial vehicle injury case is simple: we want to restore as much normalcy, independence, comfort, and convenience to your and your family’s lives as soon as possible. We possess a thorough understanding of the complexities of these cases, including the possibility that the driver, the trucking company, and even the truck’s manufacturer might all share fault in your injuries.
We will work with your doctors and our own network of experts to accurately assess what your medical needs might be over time. All too often, commercial vehicle accidents end in brain trauma, paralysis, amputation, spinal cord damage, broken bones, many other serious injuries, or wrongful death.
Remember: generally speaking, you only have two years to file a claim if you have been injured in a crash with a commercial truck. That countdown starts on the day you were injured, though there may be exceptions to the rule. The best course of action is to contact us immediately after any Phoenix truck accident.
How dangerous are truck accidents in Arizona?
Trucks were involved in large numbers of traffic accidents that caused injuries or fatalities in 2020. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, trucks (including truck tractors, garbage trucks, tankers, and other types) accounted for more than 10,000 accidents. More than 2,500 of these accidents caused injuries, and over 100 people died. Commercial trucks with or without semis were involved in the most fatal truck accidents.
The reasons for tractor-trailer and big-rig collisions are often different from the reasons passenger cars and motorcycles crash. After all, a commercial vehicle can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. This makes for slower acceleration and deceleration times.
What types of truck accident cases does your Phoenix law firm handle?
Our attorneys handle a variety of accident cases, including:
- Underride accidents
- Multi-vehicle accidents
- Back-up accidents
- Overpass/underpass accidents
- Jackknife accidents
- Wide turn accidents
- Head-on crashes
- Broadside accidents
- Rear-end collisions
- Blind spot crashes
When there has been a catastrophic commercial vehicle accident, you need high-quality legal representation from dedicated, honest lawyers who can help explain and navigate the complexities of these cases.
Rollover and tire tread separation
Many rollover accidents are caused by defective products. The defect may be in the vehicle itself, the tires it rides on or both. How or why do tires fail? Sometimes a tire is damaged by sharp objects in the road or by failure to maintain correct tire inflation and pressure. But manufacturing defects all too often cause the tread to separate suddenly from the tire body, resulting in a catastrophic inability to control the vehicle.
Have you ever noticed weigh stations located on the side of the highway? These checkpoints are there to ensure that truck drivers are not driving improperly loaded trucks. Operators are generally required to pull into these stations for weighing and inspection, where station employees look for overweight loads and illegal cargo.
Federal and state regulations restrict the amount of weight that a truck can carry. These limitations consider such factors as the difficulty of handling a truck with extremely large loads and the amount of weight that most highways and bridges can safely carry. Arizona’s limitations on truck heads include:
- Single axle trucks: 20,000 lbs.
- Tandem axle trucks: 34,000 lbs.
- Tridem axle trucks: 42,000 lbs.
- Gross allowable weight for five axles or more: 80,000 lbs.
Overloaded trucks can be extremely dangerous on the roadways. They are difficult to control, and they can cause mechanical malfunctions within the truck. Our experienced Phoenix truck accident attorneys have seen numerous injuries involving overloaded trucks. Some of the causes for these truck accidents include:
- Collapsed roadways. If gross truck weights exceed the amount of weight allowable on a street or bridge, the road may give way and collapse. These serious incidents can severely injure the truck operator, as well as other drivers in the immediate area.
- Compromised tires. Overloading a truck can place too much pressure on the tires, causing them to burst. Tires are only meant to hold up to a specific amount of weight. Placing too much pressure on them can cause the threading to stretch to the point of giving out completely. A tire blow out can cause the operator to lose control of the truck.
- Failed brakes. Brakes are also designed to handle specific amounts of weight. An excessive load can cause the brakes to give out and not adequately stop the truck. When brakes fail, truck operators may run through red lights or intersections, placing other drivers at serious risk of harm.
- Inadequate uphill travel. Overloading can impede the truck’s ability to travel uphill. This can prove dangerous to other drivers who are traveling behind the truck. In some of the most severe cases, an overloaded truck can roll backwards down the incline.
- Improper handling. Overloading can raise the center of gravity on a truck, making them more prone to rollovers. This risk is even more severe when the driver fails to operate the truck in the proper manner. Excessive speeds and improper handling of turns can lead to rollovers, especially when the truck is overloaded.
- Inadequate stopping distances. Tractor-trailers already require substantial distances to stop in a safe manner. The additional weight of an overloaded truck requires even longer stopping distances for the breaks to work effectively. When operators follow other vehicles too closely or fail to provide themselves with adequate room for stopping, the brakes may not have enough space to stop before crashing with another vehicle or running through an intersection.
Inadequate training and maintenance
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), along with the Arizona Department of Transportation (DOT), establishes guidelines and requirements for the upkeep of commercial trucks. These regulations are put in place to promote adequate upkeep and maintenance. Owners and operators are expected to periodically inspect and repair all mechanical aspects of the vehicle, including:
- The braking system
- Trailer beaks
- Wheels and axles
- Steering mechanisms
- Coupling devices
When improper maintenance causes an accident, it can be challenging to gather necessary evidence. Truck owners and their insurance companies are unlikely to voluntarily hand over maintenance and repair records. That is why the assistance of experienced Phoenix truck accident lawyers is so important to the development of a strong case.
Operator actions and decisions are also leading causes of serious truck crashes. Driving a 20,000-pound vehicle requires more than an afternoon training course and a few hours of supervised driving. Operators need extensive training to learn how to properly handle these vehicles under various driving conditions. Along with initial training, drivers should also participate in periodic training sessions to reinforce appropriate driving habits and assess abilities. Driving companies are responsible for ensuring that their drivers are properly prepared to handle their trucks on the road. When they fail to meet this responsibility, everyone on the roadway is at risk. Inadequate driver training can lead to such incidents as:
- Poorly executed turns
- Speeding or driving too fast for road conditions
- Following too closely
- Improper braking
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued driving
- Stopping at an improper distance
When inadequate driver training causes a serious truck accident, the employer or trucking company may hold some responsibility for resulting injuries. Our attorneys have the knowledge and skill to fight against large trucking agencies and their insurance companies.
If separation occurs within one of your front tires, you have a higher chance of regaining control of the vehicle. However, if the tread separation affects a rear tire, the loss of control is generally more serious, often ultimately resulting in a catastrophic rollover crash. Rollover crashes are often complex and require multiple experts to prove fault. Our knowledgeable Phoenix rollover injury attorneys have decades of experience handling product liability cases like these. Even a well-designed car can roll over — but when a rollover is caused by bad design or unsafe manufacturing, we can help.
What are the federal rules and regulations for truck drivers?
The federal rules enacted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) were put in place to regulate driver fitness, alcohol use, fatigue, and safety. For example, if you drive your own car, you can be arrested for a DUI if your blood alcohol concentration is .08 percent or higher. For a commercial driver, that limit is .04 percent.
The FMCSA also regulates a trucker’s Hours of Service, which is how long a driver may be on the road. If a driver is carrying cargo, he or she may drive for 11 consecutive hours (after 10 hours off-duty); if he or she is transporting people, like a bus driver would, then the limit is 10 consecutive hours (after nine hours off-duty).
Other regulations govern:
- Driver logbooks and maintenance records. Trucks are supposed to undergo inspection prior to getting on the road. Additionally, drivers are supposed to keep logbooks and maintenance records.
- Black box recorder data. Commercial vehicles, like planes, are often equipped with a “black box.” If the vehicle responsible for your accident has this — and it should — your lawyer will need to know how to get it and how to read it.
- Proper loading and unloading. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration has regulations that govern the safe loading and unloading of trucks.
Our Phoenix truck accident lawyers understand these federal laws and other federal and state laws that may apply. In addition to the need to comply with any rules, we also work with truck industry professionals who understand the proper safety protocols for each type of commercial vehicle.
Who is liable for a truck accident in Phoenix?
Truck drivers are not only prone to many of the mistakes auto drivers make; they have unique pressures that often cause more severe accidents. All truck drivers need to follow Arizona traffic rules on speeding, passing, tailgating, and other safety rules. All commercial drivers are required to have a valid commercial driver’s license and meet a more rigorous standard for drunk driving than other drivers. Failure to meet these standards, and/or to drive recklessly or negligently, can open a truck drive to liability for a collision.
Trucking companies often place profit before public safety. The more goods their truck drivers can deliver in the least amount of time, the more money they can make. The greed of trucking companies is one reason the FMCSA was created.
The owners of trucks may also be held liable for the actions of their drivers. Some trucks are owned by trucking companies and operated by hired drivers, while some drivers own their own trucks.
In addition to the driver, owner, and truck company, other parties may be responsible for injuries or deaths resulting from a truck crash:
- A manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of a defective truckor truck part can be held liable for the deaths or injuries the defect causes. Examples of defective truck parts include hydraulic systems, fuel lines, tires, and brakes. Many truck manufacturers are now working on autonomous trucks. If these trucks fail to operate correctly, the manufacturers may be liable for product defects.
- The employer of the driver, a broker who arranged the shipment, the company requesting the shipment, and the company receiving the shipment.
- Restaurant and tavern owners who serve alcohol to a truck driver knowing he/she was intoxicated can also be held accountable if a truck crash occurs.
Do you have a Phoenix truck accident lawyer near me?
At Plattner Verderame, P.C., we meet clients at our office located at 316 E Flower St., Phoenix, AZ 85012. We can also meet clients who are ill or immobile at their homes or other locations when necessary. We have an additional office in Tempe for your convenience. Video conference calls by appointment are another consultation option.
We guide accident victims and the families of loved ones who died in a truck accident through each phase of the litigation process.
Make an appointment with a dependable Arizona truck accident lawyer today
If you were injured in a truck-trailer accident or a loved one was killed, you need a strong, skilled lawyer on your side. At Plattner Verderame, P.C., our partners are top-rated by peer review agencies. Many lawyers refer clients to our firm because they trust and respect our ability to take on the most complex cases. We are respected across Maricopa County for our strong record of successful settlements and jury verdicts.
To review your case, phone us or complete our contact form for a free consultation. We handle cases on a contingency fee basis. If your case does not settle or result in a favorable verdict, you owe us nothing.
316 E Flower St.
Phoenix, AZ 85012
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