Semi-truck drivers have the heavy responsibility of delivering goods to their destinations safely and on time, often traveling long distances over several hours. Driving while drowsy can dull a driver’s sense of awareness and slow his or her reaction time down. It only takes a split second for a truck driver to doze off or get distracted and lose control of the vehicle, but the damages may last a lifetime.
Cellino Law provides quality legal representation for victims of semi-truck accidents. If you or a family member has been injured in a large truck accident, our lawyers have the knowledge and experience to help you understand your rights and seek justice for your injuries.
We understand the laws that govern trucking accidents and we use our extensive resources to litigate for our clients’ best interests. If you have questions about your accident, talk to one of our semi-truck accident lawyers for reliable answers you can trust.
Call us at (800) 555-5555 to schedule a free case evaluation and find out how we can help you.
What is a Semi-Truck?
A semi-truck is a heavy-duty vehicle that has many different names such as semi, semi-tractor, semi-trailer, and sometimes “18-wheeler,” although not all semi-trucks have 18 wheels. A semi-truck is a combination of two parts; the tractor unit which holds the engine, and the detachable trailer unit that carries the freight. Generally classified as a Class 8 vehicle, some semi-trucks can measure between 70- and 80-feet long, with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) exceeding 33,000 pounds.
What Are Some Common Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents?
Semi-truck drivers are often under a lot of pressure to transport goods efficiently. The government requires commercial truck drivers to get adequate sleep before they get behind the wheel. This ensures that truck drivers stay awake and alert while driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also regulates the Hours of Service (HOS) for truck drivers which limits the driving time of a commercial truck driver.
Unfortunately, due to tight deadlines or unreasonable expectations from the trucking company, some truck drivers work longer hours than they should, leading to driver fatigue. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 697 drowsy-driving-related deaths in 2019. Getting behind the wheel when you are tired, combined with adverse driving conditions, can greatly increase the risk of a collision. Sometimes there are several reasons for a truck accident. Common situations that can cause a semi-truck accident might include:
- Disregarding traffic laws
- Distracted driving
- Driving while fatigued
- Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol
- Failing to check blind spots
- Failing to drive according to road conditions
- Failing to signal
- Failing to yield
- Improper lane changing
- Improper turns
- Reckless driving behavior
- Reversing incorrectly
- Unsafe stopping
Types of Semi-Truck Accidents
Like all motorists on the road, semi-truck drivers are required to obey all traffic laws and drive in a reasonably safe manner. Yet, due to their large size and heavy loads, semi-trucks have specific commercial carrier laws they must follow to maintain safe driving practices. When regulations are ignored, accidents can happen, leaving people with painful injuries.
Truck crashes often leave much more damage than your typical auto accident. The sheer force and power of semi-trucks can create a path of devastation if involved in an accident. There are many types of truck accidents, some more dangerous than others.
Blind spot collisions
Most semi-trucks have multiple blind spots for the driver. If a truck driver relies solely on the mirrors and fails to check the blind spots before turning or changing lanes, he or she may hit another vehicle, cyclist, or pedestrian.
Displace cargo or spill accidents
Improperly loaded cargo may cause the load to shift and sway. If the cargo becomes displaced, the truck may be thrown off balance and finally roll over. If the truck is carrying hazardous materials, a cargo spill could become extremely toxic and dangerous for the surrounding area.
Head-on collisions occur when a driver crosses the center line on the road and collides with another oncoming vehicle. There is usually not much time to react or slow down, so head-on accidents with a truck tend to be deadly.
A jackknife accident can be extremely dangerous. This type of accident occurs when the two separate parts of the semi-truck, the tractor unit and its attached trailer, fold into each other. A jackknife accident can happen when the attached trailer is out of control and swings around, sometimes into oncoming traffic.
Semi-trucks take much more time to slow down than smaller vehicles. If a truck driver is unable to stop in time, the truck might hit the rear of the vehicle in front and possibly cause a multiple car pile-up.
T-bone accidents occur when a vehicle runs a red light or a stop sign at an intersection and hits another vehicle on its side. It is called a T-bone accident because of the T-shape the accident creates.
Tire blowout accidents
Tire blowouts occur when there is a sudden loss of air pressure in the tire. This can happen due to an overloaded trailer, insufficient tire tread, or roadway hazards. When a tire blows out, the truck driver may lose control of the vehicle and the attached cargo.
If a truck driver misjudges a turn, drives too quickly on a curved road, or the load is not properly secure, the truck may become unbalanced and start to sway or roll over. Semi-trucks have a higher center of gravity, which means they are at a greater risk of rollover than smaller vehicles. In a severe crash, a truck may roll over multiple times.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Semi-Truck Accident?
Many are quick to look to the driver when investigating liability, yet there are many factors that must be considered when determining who is responsible for a semi-truck accident. Depending on the circumstances of the incident, multiple parties may be held liable for the resulting damages.
Semi-truck accidents can be very expensive due to the destruction they often cause. Some trucking companies try to evade responsibility by claiming the truck driver was an independent contractor, in effect trying to remove themselves from the equation. A qualified semi-truck accident lawyer can review all the facts to determine which parties are liable for your damages.
Potentially liable parties for a truck accident may include the:
- Truck driver
- Truck owner
- Trucking company
- Truck maintenance company
- Truck parts manufacturer
- Freight broker
- Shipping and cargo loading company
- Other drivers involved in the accident
Establishing Negligence for a Semi-Truck Accident in New York
To recover compensation for damages caused by a semi-truck accident, you must first prove that the at-fault party acted negligently. Negligence refers to when a person fails to behave with the standard of care that is reasonably expected by law. To file a claim based on negligence, the State of New York requires the following elements to be established:
- Duty of care – The defendant owed a duty of care
- Breach of duty – The defendant breached this duty
- Causation – The defendant’s actions or failure to act caused injury to the plaintiff
- Damages – The resulting injuries caused damages to the plaintiff
If multiple parties are involved, each party may owe a different type of care. Our lawyers have the knowledge, experience, and resources to thoroughly investigate and establish who is at fault. At Cellino Law, we are not only aware of the laws and regulations that govern the trucking industry, but we also understand the methods big trucking companies and insurance providers use to minimize their share of the blame. We can help you seek justice for your injuries and hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
Trustworthy Legal Advice for Your Semi-Truck Accident
Cellino Law has been making a difference in New Yorkers’ lives for over 60 years. We have helped our clients recover over $2 billion dollars in settlements. If you or a family member has been seriously injured in a semi-truck accident, we want to help you get the justice you deserve. If you decide to hire us, you can be confident that we will keep your best interests in mind and aggressively advocate for your rights. See what our clients have to say about our legal representation and decide for yourself.
Cellino Law is a law firm serious about helping people. We intend to use our combined knowledge and resources to assist accident victims in recovering compensation for their pain and suffering. If you have questions about your semi-truck accident, take advantage of our free no-obligation consultation with one of your dedicated attorneys. We are available 24/7 to offer injury victims a free case evaluation.
Call us at (800) 555-5555 to schedule a visit and we can arrange a time to come out and meet you.