A truck accident can upend your life in a split second. Commercial tractor-trailers can be up to 70 feet long and weigh more than 80,000 pounds, and the results of a collision between one of these massive trucks and a passenger vehicle can be devastating for the occupants of the smaller vehicle. Victims are often forced to deal with severe or catastrophic injuries, costly medical bills, lost wages, and more. But how do these collisions happen?
Top Causes of Truck Accidents in Virginia
Driving a large truck is dangerous work. Trucks are enormous vehicles that require special training and licensing to operate safely. If a truck driver, the trucking company, or even the truck manufacturer doesn’t follow the law, the results could be deadly.
Here are some of the common causes of truck accidents we see in Virginia:
- Distracted driving. A truck driver’s cab is their mobile office, and often they have several things demanding their attention — such as a CB radio, a cell phone, or their lunch. If anything takes their eyes off the road for too long, accidents and injuries can result.
- Impaired driving. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is dangerous no matter what vehicle is involved, but when a truck driver hauling 40 tons of cargo drives while under the influence, the results can be particularly serious.
- Fatigued driving. By federal law, truck drivers can drive for no more than 11 hours within a single 14-hour window, which must be followed by 10 hours off duty. If they try to bend the rules, they can become fatigued, which affects reaction time, alertness, and judgment. This is a recipe for accidents.
- Inadequate surveillance. This can be a root cause for several of the common types of accidents, such as lane-change accidents, under-or-override accidents, tailgating accidents, and improper backing accidents. If a driver doesn’t check their surroundings thoroughly before maneuvering their vehicle, they can easily injure another motorist or pedestrian.
- As with any motor vehicle, when a truck speeds, it means increased danger for all involved.
- Inclement weather. Truck drivers must pay attention to weather and road conditions so as to avoid accidents and collisions.
- Defective equipment. Manufacturer defects, inadequate maintenance, and malfunctioning components can all be contributing factors in truck crashes.
- Improperly loaded or secured cargo. Lost-cargo or lost-load accidents can leave a roadway littered with debris, which can in turn cause accidents for unwary motorists.
Common Injuries Suffered in Truck Accidents
Injuries in truck accidents can, on average, be more severe than injuries from accidents involving passenger vehicles, because trucks are bigger, heavier, and slower to maneuver than cars. Some of the injuries common to truck accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Sprains and strains
- Soft tissue damage
- Internal injuries
- Organ damage
Compensation for a Truck Accident Claim
Legally speaking, truck accidents are often more complicated than accidents between only ordinary passenger vehicles, as there are more layers of liability involved. In most cases, the driver is not the sole responsible party; the trucking company, the truck’s owner, the company that maintains the vehicle, the vehicle’s manufacturer, and even the company responsible for road maintenance may bear some liability, depending on the circumstances.
Because of this, many different parties’ insurers could be the target of a truck accident claim, which can provide compensation for damages such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Emotional distress
- Medical bills
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Lost opportunity
Talk to your truck accident lawyer to see which losses apply to your claim.
How the Johnson Injury Firm Can Help
The Virginia 18-wheeler accident attorneys at The Johnson Injury Firm represent those who’ve been hurt by the negligence of others. If you’ve been the victim of a truck driver or company’s negligence, call us at (804)262-9000 or reach out to us online today and let us review your case at no cost to you.