Obtaining justice in truck accident cases is not easy. Not every lawyer who handles car accident cases can handle truck accident cases. These cases require more knowledge, experience, and resources to fight and win against the insurance company representing the trucking corporation.
First, most truckers are hard working men and women who are just trying to make a living. Unfortunately, there is a huge shortage of trucks and truck drivers. Truckers face huge pressure from their corporations to load and drop their cargo in short periods of time. They also drive trucks that need repaired. There are hundreds of federal and state laws and regulations that have been passed to keep our roads safe. Unfortunately, all too often, trucking companies operate in disregard of these laws and the public’s safety. Sometimes, even if the truckers company is following the regulations “on paper”, they have created incentives for their drivers to skirt the regulations.
To Protect Your Rights, You Need Attorneys to Immediately Investigate
Hire Lawyers with Specialized Training in Semi-Truck Accident Reconstruction
After every serious truck accident, the trucking company will dispatch their team of lawyers and investigators to the scene of the wreck to do everything in their power to try to prove the wreck was not their fault. If a case involves serious injury or death it is a multi-million-dollar case. Though we want to believe the insurance company will be fair – that is not their job. Their job is to do everything in their power not to pay. The insurance company’s team will everything in their power to try to blame you or anyone else. They will say you were speeding or were an inattentive driver. They will say you could have avoided the wreck or made the wreck less severe. If they can’t blame you, they will try to blame another vehicle, their drivers’ unknowable and unpreventable medical condition, the road, the weather, someone who loaded the truck, a negligent mechanic, or a manufacturer. This all occurs at a time when you are trying to deal with the injuries from the wreck and are most vulnerable. Any time a truck accident involves a serious injury or death you need to hire a firm experienced in truck accident cases to help you preserve the evidence – all the evidence - before it is lost, altered, or destroyed.
If you have been injured in a truck accident, contact Cullan & Cullan. Our firm not only has four lawyers who are also doctors, we are one of a select few firms in the United States that has an attorney who has obtained specialized training in semi-truck accident reconstruction and who has an attorney who is an engineer. We have investigated hundreds of truck accidents in Arizona and throughout the United States. We hold record setting verdicts and settlements in truck accident cases. We are members of national truck accident litigation group. If you have been injured in a truck accident you may be entitled to monetary damages for medical care, emotional trauma, lost earnings, and more, but it takes a Phoenix truck accident attorney who has the skill and resources to face off against the at-fault party, their insurance company, and their lawyers.
Call our firm at (602) 900-9483 for a free review of your truck accident claim.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
The causes of most trucking collision are both predictable and preventable. It’s the job of the large trucking companies to take steps to prevent collisions.
Truck drivers must always be alert on the roadway and aware of the dangers their large, unwieldy vehicles present to smaller vehicles and their passengers. Minor driving errors that may not make a difference with regular cars can result in catastrophic accidents. Truck drivers have a responsibility on the road to ensure the safety of other drivers. Unfortunately, not all truck drivers have the training or experience to take this seriously.
About 1 in 10 highway deaths are the result of large truck accidents. Trucks can weigh 20-40 times as much as a passenger car, making the collisions much worse for the occupants of such cars. In 2014, 97% of vehicle occupants killed in collisions between trucks and passenger vehicles in the U.S. were occupants of the passenger vehicles. Trucks can’t stop as quickly as smaller vehicles and have wider turning radiuses. Inexperienced or inattentive truckers often fail to slow their truck down in traffic to avoid plowing into the cars stopped in traffic ahead of them.
Truck accidents can occur due to:
- The truck driver was distracted – texting or talking on phone, watching a movie, reading, and more
- The truck driver was in a rush
- The truck driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- The truck driver was exhausted, fatigued, or drowsy
- The truck driver was bored
- The truck driver was in poor health
- The truck driver was on the road too long
Federal regulations limit drivers of large trucks to no more than 11 hours of driving at a time and up to 77 hours per week. Any drowsy driver is a danger behind the wheel, but truck drivers pose more of a threat than other drivers. It’s imperative for truck drivers to obey their hours of service regulations to prevent falling asleep at the wheel, yet surveys show many drivers work longer than regulations permit to reach a destination on time.
There are also several issues inherent to the trucking industry that can easily lead to accidents:
- Inadequate driver training
- Compensation systems that encourage drivers to travel faster and work long hours
- Unrealistic expectations companies place on truckers despite safety risks
- Improper truck safety inspections and maintenance
- Unsafe weights carried in cargo holds
Truckers face these dangers on top of the risks that apply to any driver: drunk driving, texting and driving, speeding, reckless driving, road rage driving, and poor weather conditions. Driver negligence is always a threat on the road, but truck driver carelessness can cause terrible accidents and severe damage.
Only Hire an Experienced Attorney to Help After Your Truck Accident
If a negligent truck driver or trucking company caused your accident, resulting in injury or property damages, come to Cullan & Cullan to file a personal injury claim. Our firm has a passion for helping victims of truck accident cases. We have four lawyers who are also doctors. We also have attorneys who have specialized training in truck accident reconstruction and in engineering. A large percentage of our cases are truck accident cases and we have obtained record setting verdicts and/or multi-million-dollar settlements for our clients. Arizona has specific laws for truck drivers, such as length restrictions and requiring splashguards to minimize the amount of debris flipped up into traffic. When a truck driver negligently or intentionally breaks the law and causes an accident, the law helps victims obtain compensation for their injuries.
We have decades of experience in personal injury law. Our Phoenix injury attorneys understand Arizona’s truck accident laws and have lawyers specifically trained in handling accidents involving 18-wheelers, jackknife accidents, runaway trailer accidents, and delivery trucks. When a driver breaks speed restrictions or fails to stop driving at his or her instructed time, the consequences can be deadly. Luckily, the law is on the victims’ side in these situations.
Arizona 18-Wheeler Laws
Due to the strict time limits that truck drivers must obey, they can be prone to incidents of aggressive driving—especially when stuck on a two-lane highway in Arizona where it’s difficult to pass slower moving vehicles. When a truck driver must remain behind a slow vehicle, he or she can miss deadlines. Angry or emotional driving can lead to making brash decisions behind the wheel, which is a recipe for disaster in such a heavy vehicle.
Arizona laws enforce 18-wheeler weight and size regulations, splash guard regulations, and quality control. Truck drivers undergo extensive training to earn special commercial driver’s licenses. Despite a high level of instruction, drivers often fall prey to difficulties, challenges, and negligent behavior. Many 18-wheeler accidents are the result of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding, inattention, and fatigue. When driver error causes an 18-wheeler to collide with another vehicle, the victims can sue for damages.
Negligence and human error can occur anywhere down the line of people involved in an 18-wheeler accident. For example, if defective brakes caused a truck to careen down a hill and crash into a passenger vehicle, the courts may hold the brake manufacturer responsible. If the trucking company failed to maintain the brakes, on the other hand, the courts can hold the enterprise responsible. If the truck driver was texting and driving and he or she failed to hit the brakes and caused a collision, that individual would be liable for damages.
An experienced Phoenix truck accident attorney will request access to a trucking company’s electronic data recorder, a device many companies use to track drivers. This has information about the accident, including the 18-wheeler’s speed, when the driver used the brakes, and how long the driver was on the road prior to the event. There are many ways an attorney can prove fault for a trucking accident if he or she has the right skills and resources for the job.
A small example of other evidence a trained truck accident lawyer would seek to inspect, includes but is not limited to:
- ECM and Telematics Data
- Dispatch information
- Cell phone records
- Radio records
- Pick-up and Delivery records
- Trip summaries
- Credit card receipts
- Fuel records
- Toll booth records
- Weight tickets
- Bills of lading
- Contracts involving the cargo
- Records regarding Employee DOT physicals
- Records regarding an Employee’s Accident History
- Hundreds of other records too voluminous to list here
Representing Tractor-Trailer Accident Victims in Phoenix & Beyond
Deciding who is responsible in a trailer accident may seem simple to the untrained eye, but an experienced attorney will tell you that it’s more complex than it appears. Many lawyers are great at handling routine auto accidents but are unaware as to all the laws and documents required to properly handle an accident involving a semi-truck. There are many factors at play in a trailer accident, and many people involved. Building a lawsuit against a truck driver, trucking company, manufacturer, or private trailer takes time and patience. A personal injury attorney must gather evidence that proves someone else’s negligence in the accident and examine the many state and federal laws surrounding trailer accidents.
Injuries sustained in a trailer accident are often severe, resulting from high-impact collisions, rollovers, pedestrian and bicyclist accidents, and crushing accidents. The size and weight of a tractor-trailer can cause immense damage to a passenger vehicle in a collision, leading to traumatic injuries affecting the head, brain, neck, and back. Pedestrian and bicycle collisions with trailers are typically fatal.
Whether a trailer comes unhinged from the back and hits a passenger car or the brakes go out on a commercial tractor-trailer, victims can hold negligent parties responsible. Cullan & Cullan has local accident expertise, and we understand the laws that come into play in Arizona—including OSHA’s comprehensive regulations. We can prove negligence and help you find the road to recovery after a catastrophic trailer accident. We have a long history of successful settlements, including a record-breaking $19.6 million recovery for a trucking collision accident.
Contact our offices at (602) 900-9483 today for a free review of your case.