Trucks are an essential part of the economy in El Paso and all throughout Texas. As much as we rely on truck drivers to deliver the vital goods we need, we also expect them to do so as safely as possible. When truck drivers and trucking companies are negligent, resulting in a crash, other motorists in smaller vehicles are often the ones who bear the brunt of the damages caused.
If you have been hurt in a crash involving an 18-wheeler, you need to work with an experienced attorney who has the skills and the resources to determine what caused your accident and who is at fault. There are many common causes of truck accidents, and an in-depth investigation is a crucial first step to preparing a successful personal injury claim.
Contact the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC, for a free consultation now, and let us get started on your case.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Many different types of negligence can cause truck accidents, including:
- Driver fatigue: Federal law dictates how many hours a truck driver can remain on the road. Still, too many truckers do not comply with these laws due to the tight deadlines they are under to deliver their cargo. Truck drivers then become fatigued, do not pay proper attention to the road, and may even fall asleep behind the wheel.
- Distracted driving: Truckers face many distractions on the road, including talking to other truckers on a CB radio, eating, drinking, smoking, and of course, texting and driving. All of these distractions are particularly dangerous for truckers, as well as any drivers around them.
- Alcohol and drugs: Some truck drivers believe that drugs can help them remain awake longer, allowing them to make more progress on the roads. These substances, as well as alcohol, are very dangerous when combined with driving and can easily cause a crash.
- Speeding: Driving at excessive speeds always poses a risk to other drivers, but it is particularly dangerous when truckers engage in the practice. Due to their immense size, trucks take much longer to slow down and come to a full stop than other vehicles. When truck drivers speed, it takes even longer for a truck to slow down, and they may crash into another vehicle before that happens.
- Failing to check blind spots: The blind spots on a truck are huge, sometimes encompassing two lanes of traffic and extending for as much as 30 feet on either side. Still, truck drivers must have the experience and skill to know how to check these blind spots when making turns and changing lanes.
- Tailgating: Also due to the fact that trucks take much longer to slow down and stop, tailgating is a very dangerous practice for anyone, but particularly truck drivers. Truckers that follow other vehicles too closely pose a great risk and can easily cause a crash.
- Aggressive driving: Truck drivers are under an enormous amount of pressure to deliver their cargo on time. This pressure can cause truckers to become impatient and aggressive with other drivers on the road, leading them to engage in other practices, including tailgating and speeding.
- Unfamiliarity with route: Truck drivers often must travel in locations they are unfamiliar with. This causes many problems, including going the wrong way down one-way streets and becoming distracted by looking at maps, GPS, and watching for street signs. All of these behaviors can result in a crash.
- Poor maintenance: Just as there are laws regarding the hours of service truckers can drive, federal law also dictates when and how trucks are to be inspected, repaired, and maintained. Trucking companies that violate these laws can cause a crash due to the breakdown of a truck on the road, and they can be held liable.
- Improper cargo loading: It is crucial that the cargo on trucks is loaded properly. When it is not, the cargo can shift and throw the entire truck off balance, causing an accident.
- Defective parts: Faulty truck parts and equipment can cause a truck to break down or lose control on the road, which can lead to an 18-wheeler crashing into other vehicles.
- Poorly maintained roadways: It is not always truck drivers and trucking companies that are liable for truck accidents. Cities and states that do not properly maintain their roads can cause accidents due to large potholes, erosion, missing guardrails, poor design, and shoulder drop-offs.
After any truck accident, it is crucial that victims speak to an El Paso personal injury lawyer who can help with their claim for compensation.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Truck accidents result in some of the worst injuries for crash victims. Some of the most common of these include:
- Back and neck injuries: Truck crashes can cause serious injuries to the bones, muscles, and ligaments in the back and neck, leaving a victim in intense pain. Back and neck injuries often require long-term treatment, and some people may never fully recover.
- Spinal cord injuries: The spine is not meant to absorb the immense force that a truck accident causes. These injuries are some of the most severe and include partial, complete, temporary, and permanent paralysis.
- Head and brain injuries: During a crash, the head can hit the dashboard, car door, or other parts within the vehicle, causing injury. There is no such thing as a minor head or brain injury, and accident victims often take a long time to recover from these.
- Burns: Fuel tanks that explode at a crash site can cause fires and result in serious burns for accident victims.
- Internal injuries: These injuries are not always easily detected after an accident, so it is crucial that all accident victims receive medical care as soon as possible.
- Broken bones: Truck accidents typically involve blunt force trauma, which can lead to broken and shattered bones.
How Our Texas Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help You
If you have been hurt in a crash, our El Paso truck accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC, can help. We know how to investigate these crashes to determine who was at fault, and how to collect evidence to build a strong case for full compensation.
Contact us now to schedule a free consultation on your claim.