Commercial truck accidents are responsible for thousands of injuries and deaths on the roadways each year. If you have been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation to help cover some or all of your expenses. Before you call us to discuss your case, read through these answers to our most frequently asked questions about truck accidents.
What types of trucks qualify as “commercial?”
Businesses use commercial trucks, such as tractor-trailers, delivery vehicles, and semi-trucks, to deliver goods or conduct business. These large trucks are much heavier and much more difficult to operate than the average passenger vehicle. For this reason, truck drivers must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) before driving one.
What are the most common causes of truck accidents?
While truck accidents are much more dangerous than the average accident, the causes are often the same. Most of the common causes include:
- Violation of safety regulations
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving (e.g., improper merging, speeding, tailgating)
- Fatigued or drowsy driving
- Drug and alcohol use
- Poor vehicle maintenance or mechanical failure
Truck accidents also have a few unique causes, including:
- The truck’s weight and size
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Large blind spots
Where are a truck’s blind spots?
Commercial trucks can be difficult to control due to their size and weight. In addition to being heavier and larger, commercial trucks have very large blind spots (i.e., areas with restricted or no visibility to the front, back, and sides). Every vehicle has these blind spots, but a truck’s no-zones can span hundreds of feet.
- Front no-zone: can extend 10-20 feet in front of the truck’s cab.
- Rear no-zone: can extend 200 feet to the rear of the truck
- Left no-zone: can extend one or two lanes to the left
- Right no-zone: can extend two to three lanes to the right
Why are truck accidents so dangerous?
Truck accidents can result in much more serious injuries than the average car accident. The reason for this is the size and weight of commercial trucks. The difference in size between a passenger vehicle and a car can result in a greater force of impact, causing significant damage and injury. Click here to see The 10 Most Dangerous Intersections in Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia.
What is a squeeze play accident?
A truck needs much more room than the average vehicle to make a right turn. For this reason, truck drivers often move into the left lane to execute a turn.
When this happens, some passenger vehicles attempt to overtake the truck without realizing that it is turning. When the truck begins to turn, the car can become “squeezed” between the trailer and another object (e.g., a wall or curb).
This is why it is imperative to stay out a truck’s blind spots and always watch the truck’s turn signals.
What is a jackknife accident?
A jackknife accident occurs when a truck’s cab stops suddenly but the trailer continues to move, swinging out to the side and coming to rest at an angle with the cab. This can be especially dangerous for adjacent motorists because the trailer can hit these cars or squish them between the cab and trailer.
What are underride and override accidents?
An underride accident occurs when a passenger vehicle runs under the rear or side of a truck. This can result from:
- A truck stopping too suddenly/cutting off a driver
- A lack of brake lights
- A lack of underride guards
An override accident occurs when a truck runs over the back of a passenger car. This could result from:
- A truck tailgating the passenger car
- The passenger car stopping suddenly
How can improperly loaded cargo cause an accident?
Trucks carry thousands of pounds of cargo at a time. If that cargo is improperly loaded, it can shift during transit and fall out of the truck, cause the truck to swerve into adjacent lanes, or roll over into traffic or onto other cars.
An accident involving improperly loaded cargo can be especially problematic if the cargo was hazardous.
Can I recover compensation for my injuries?
If you are able to prove that the truck driver caused your accident, you can recover compensation to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To do so, you will need to gather evidence to help prove the truck driver’s negligence caused your accident.
Can I recover compensation even if I was partially at fault?
No. Under Virginia’s pure contributory negligence rule, you can only recover compensation if the driver is 100 percent at fault for your accident.
Do I need a lawyer?
Truck accident cases are notoriously complex and difficult, especially in Virginia. The trucking company will have their own lawyers and we strongly recommending you have someone fighting for you.
You must be able to gather evidence that proves the truck driver’s negligence; fight against experienced, aggressive legal teams; and prove that you were following all traffic laws and could have done nothing to avoid the accident.
There are many potential pitfalls and obstacles that must be avoided in a truck accident claim or lawsuit. For the average person, it can be difficult or impossible to navigate this legal minefield. Not for the attorneys at Tronfeld, West & Durrett. We have dedicated our careers to helping injured victims recover compensation inside Virginia’s strict negligence laws.
We would love to do the same for you. Call us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case: 804-358-6741.