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.
If you have been injured in a truck accident, contact Cullan & Cullan. Our firm not only has four lawyers who are also medical doctors, but we are also 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 that has an attorney who is an engineer.
We have investigated hundreds of truck accidents in Arizona and throughout the country. We hold record-setting verdicts and settlements in truck accident cases.
Call our firm at (602) 900-9483 for a free consultation with our Phoenix truck accident attorneys.
Why You Shouldn't Wait to Call a Lawyer
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. They will 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 driver's 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 in the aftermath.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
The causes of most trucking collisions 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 when it comes to semi-trucks, big rigs, and 18-wheelers.
About 1 in 10 highway deaths are the result of large truck accidents.
Trucks can weigh 20-40 times more than a passenger car, making the collisions much worse for the occupants of such cars. Trucks can’t stop as quickly as smaller vehicles and have wider turning radiuses. And, inexperienced or inattentive truckers often fail to slow down in traffic to avoid plowing into the cars stopped ahead of them.
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- The truck driver was distracted – texting or talking on the 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
There are also several issues inherent to the trucking industry:
- 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
There are hundreds of laws and regulations that have been passed to keep our roads safe. Unfortunately, trucking companies often operate in disregard of these laws and the public’s safety. Sometimes, even if the company is following the regulations “on paper,” they have created incentives for their drivers to skirt the regulations.
Under federal hours-of-service laws, a truck driver can’t drive more than 11 hours in a 14-hour workday and more than 77 hours per week. The law establishes that drivers of large trucks must rest or sleep for 10 consecutive hours before returning behind the wheel. You would be amazed at just how often these rules are broken.
Sleep deprivation can affect the human body just as much as alcohol can. Fatigued driving is dangerous because it can affect a truck driver’s:
- Reaction time
Violations often lead to serious and deadly accidents, and our Phoenix truck accident lawyers are here to expose such wrongdoing to help victims seek justice.
Arizona Trailer Regulations
Arizona is one of 28 states with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) approved plans for the trucking industry. Accordingly, Arizona enforces certain safety standards and regulations for tractor-trailers. This covers agricultural commodity trailers, commercial motor vehicles, heavy hauler trailers, and pulpwood trailers.
The list of regulations is expansive and encompasses safety measures such as:
- Trailer height and width
- Trailer maintenance and inspections
- Trailer strength
- Hours of service regulations
- Lunch and rest break safety
- Loading and unloading regulations
- Transporting hazardous material regulations
If the driver of any type of trailer fails to adhere to OSHA regulations or federal and state safe driver rules, an attorney can use this lapse of judgment in court to prove that negligence caused a trailer accident. Many accidents involve this kind of oversight, from improperly loaded cargo to poorly maintained trailer components.
Proving Fault for a Big Rig Accident
Negligence and human error can occur anywhere down the line of people involved in a truck accident. For example, if defective brakes caused a truck to careen down a hill and crash into a car, 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 he or she failed to hit the brakes and caused a collision, that individual would be liable for damages.
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.
For example, when you work with a lawyer at our firm, we can request access to the trucking company’s electronic data recorder, a device many companies use to track drivers. This has information about the accident, including the truck's speed, when the driver used the brakes, and how long the driver was on the road prior to the crash.
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
Determining who is responsible for a truck 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 of all the laws and documents required to properly handle an accident involving a semi-truck. There are many factors at play in a truck accident, and many people involved.
Building a lawsuit against a truck driver, trucking company, manufacturer, or private trailer takes time and patience. A truck accident attorney in Phoenix must gather evidence that proves someone else’s negligence in the accident and examine the many state and federal laws surrounding commercial vehicle accidents.
Trust Cullan & Cullan with Your Truck Crash Case
Cullan & Cullan has local accident expertise, and we understand the laws that come into play in Arizona. We can prove negligence and help you find the road to recovery after a catastrophic accident. We have a long history of successful settlements, including a record-breaking $19.6 million recovery for a truck collision.
Contact our firm at (602) 900-9483 or contact us online today for a free review of your case. Don’t wait – time is of the essence.