Phoenix Truck Accident Lawyers Advocate When Negligent Drivers Cause Injury or Death
Holding truck companies and drivers liable when their negligence harms anyone on Arizona’s roads
Truck 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. Traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, broken bones, and damage to internal organs are just some of the serious results of truck accidents. Semis, 18-wheelers, and other commercial trucks tend to cause the most damage of all truck accidents.
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.
Understanding the causes of commercial vehicle crashes
Of the 127,064 vehicle accidents in Arizona in 2017, 11,982 of them involved commercial trucks or buses. One hundred and fifteen people died, and 2,819 people sustained an injury. Tractor-trailers were involved in more of these collisions than any other type of truck or commercial vehicle.
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 lbs. This makes for slower acceleration and deceleration times. A truck driver who jams on the brakes risks jackknifing the vehicle, or tipping it over. The heights of the cargo on back can make it difficult to maneuver under bridges and overpasses, too, which might lead a driver to attempt a short-cut on a local road. This can increase the risk you have of getting into a truck accident.
There are many aspects of these cases that differ from other vehicle crashes. These include:
- Unsafe tractor-trailers. Sometimes, the equipment itself is to blame for the horrid effects of a commercial vehicle crash. Improper equipment or equipment failure is one of the top two reasons for commercial vehicle accidents.
- Driver was over hours. In the fast-paced world of trucking and shipping, drivers are oftentimes compelled to finish their routes by going over the allotted number of safe hours to drive. Driver fatigue is one of the most common reasons for commercial vehicle accidents.
- Truck was overweight. Many times, transportation companies will overload their cargo in an attempt to save money on shipping. This can directly impact the severity of a crash, and your lawyer will need to obtain the weight information of the vehicle in question.
- 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 personal injury claims has this — and it should — your lawyer will need to know how to get it and how to read it.
When there has been a catastrophic commercial vehicle accident, you need high-quality legal representation from dedicated, honest lawyers that can help explain and navigate the complexities of these cases.
Reasons truck drivers should be held accountable
Truck drivers are not only prone to many of the mistakes auto drivers make, they have unique pressures that often cause more accidents. All truck drivers need to follow the 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.
Some of the unique truck driving problems that drivers must anticipate are:
- Driver fatigue. Drivers are often forced to drive long hours with little rest. The FMCSA rules mandate how much rest drivers should get.
- Driver distraction. It is easy to get bored on long trips, but that is no excuse for texting while driving, talking on a cellphone, or eating while operating a truck. Drivers should take steps to minimize distractions, such as using GPS systems that are voice activated so both hands are always on the wheel.
- Truck control. Trucks are more difficult to operate than other vehicles. Drivers should regularly inspect their trucks before they get on the road and should fully understand the dangers of rollovers, truck jackknifes, and cargo spills. They should make sure they are properly trained on how to use the truck and what to do in an emergency.
The owners of trucks can also be held liable for the actions of their drivers. Some trucks are owned by the trucking companies and operated by hired drivers, while drivers who companies contract independently own other trucks.
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 or higher. For a commercial driver, that limit is .04.
The FMCSA also regulates the 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 driving people, like a bus driver would, then the limit is 10 consecutive hours after 9 hours off-duty.
Reasons why truck companies may be held liable for an accident
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.
Our Phoenix commercial truck accident attorneys hold shipping companies liable if they:
- Hire untrained workers or workers without a valid commercial driver’s license
- Force their drivers to operate their vehicles without proper rest
- Overload their trucks with cargo or fail to properly secure the cargo
- Fail to inspect and adequately maintain the trucks
- Pressure their drivers to speed
- Ignore evidence that the driver has a record of prior accidents or driving while intoxicated
Often, reviewing the appropriate documentation, such as driving logs and inspection records, can bring these violations to light. Our lawyers understand where to look to find the evidence that the shipping company was at fault. Our legal team reviews whether the truck company complied with vehicle repair and inspection requirements.
Other responsible parties
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 truck or truck part can be held liable for the deaths or injuries the defect causes. 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.
Aggressively seeking settlement or litigation to recover costs of injury
Our experienced lawyers will work with you, in addition to investigating your accident, to assess potential sources of compensation and restitution to help you obtain the best possible outcome. We will want to work with your doctors and medical care team to properly characterize your injuries for the courts. Our dependable and knowledgeable Phoenix commercial vehicle accident attorneys will tirelessly work to accurately quantify the losses you have suffered, whether due to personal injury, long-term injury that will incur future medical costs, lost wages or other losses. We know that your family life and your work life have been impacted by this horrible truck or commercial vehicle crash, and we will aggressively advocate for settlement or litigation.
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 a team of experts to accurately assess what your medical needs might be over time, and we can hire these people to help you devise a treatment plan for long-term restoration of mobility, normalcy or the ability to work.
All too often, commercial vehicle accidents end in paralysis or wrongful death. Our attorneys put a primacy on high-quality representation and honesty, and we have the experience to account for your losses and these complexities as we seek just compensation for you. We are committed to helping you find a new normal for your life after a commercial vehicle accident, and we want to do everything we can to foster that sense of well-being.
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. Contact our firm to find out if you are entitled to file a claim.
Types of Cases We Handle
Our attorneys handle a variety of accident cases, including:
- Rollovers and Tire-Tread Separation
- Drunk Driver
- Distracted Driver
- Overloaded Trucks
- Inadequate Maintenance, Inspection and Training
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 to our firm because they trust and respect our ability to take on the most complex cases. Our savvy Phoenix truck accident attorneys are ready to investigate the cause of the truck collision and to prepare your case for trial.
To review your case, phone us in Phoenix at 602-783-8793 or toll free at 888-657-3573. You can also complete our contact form for a free consultation. We handle cases on a contingency fee basis. If your case does not settle, you owe us nothing.