If you or a loved one was recently involved in an Albuquerque trucking accident, you know just how devastating these types of crashes can be. In addition to physical injuries and extensive medical bills, you may find that you are unable to work, engage in the activities you once loved or connect with your loved ones on a meaningful level. If your life has been irreparably altered by the accident, you may wonder if you can pursue damages via a trucking accident claim. The answer boils down to liability, which hinges on the primary cause of the accident.
Proving liability in trucking accident cases can be complex, as you are not just going up against the truck driver. You are also going up against the trucking company and its insurer, both of which have skilled legal teams to back them. At Hinkle Law Offices, LLC, we have extensive experience handling some of the most complex auto accident cases in New Mexico, including trucking accident cases. We are intimately familiar with trucking laws and regulations, as well as the tactics trucking companies and their insurers use to try to diminish accident victims’ settlements. We use this knowledge to assign fault, prepare unshakeable arguments and fight for the maximum compensation on behalf of victims and their families.
As with any type of motor vehicle accident, most trucking accidents are the result of driver error. Driver error can occur on the part of the trucker, the passenger vehicle driver or both. The most common causes of trucking accidents are as follows:
Distracted driving is the number one cause of motor vehicle accidents. Distracted driving occurs when an activity within the vehicle diverts the driver’s attention away from the task of driving. The distracting activity can be anything from eating to changing the radio station to using one’s cell phone. Regardless of how innocent an activity may seem, distracted driving is dangerous and can lead to severe collisions.
Truck driving is a demanding job that requires truckers to travel for hundreds of miles without rest. Drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving and can become even more dangerous when a multi-ton load is involved. Unfortunately, despite numerous laws and regulations to prevent drowsy driving, it continues to pose a huge problem for truckers and others on the road.
Speeding and Overtaking
With deadlines shrinking and the demand for truck drivers increasing, more truckers are attempting to complete jobs in near-impossible time frames. This means more truckers are driving excess speeds and/or attempting to overtake passenger vehicles going at high speeds. This type of reckless driving behavior can and often does result in severe collisions.
Alcohol and Drugs
According to a recent study, 30% of truckers admit to using amphetamines while on the job. Another 50% admit to drinking, 20% admit to using marijuana and 3% reporting using cocaine. The pressure to stay awake, combined with the isolation of the job, causes truckers to turn to drugs or alcohol while on the job and despite proven risks. This propensity increases drivers’ risk of committing dangerous, if not fatal, errors while behind the wheel.
Improper Cargo Loading
When loading their trucks, truckers must adhere to specific size, weight, width, height and length requirements. Failure to do so could cause a truck to become too heavy and, therefore, more susceptible to tipping, rolling or losing its load, all of which can result in catastrophic accidents. If a cargo load contains hazardous materials, the repercussions can be even more devastating.
Poor Maintenance and Training
Due to the immense responsibility they assume, truckers must adhere to hundreds of safety regulations, requirements and laws. Unfortunately, few new truckers familiarize themselves with all the rules and regulations and hit the road without fully comprehending their responsibility to other drivers.
Furthermore, few truckers and their companies follow a proper truck maintenance schedule. As a result, preventable mishaps such as brake failure, blown tires and overheating, cause truckers to lose control and, therefore, cause accidents.
Determining causation and fault in a trucking accident requires an in-depth understanding of trucking laws, rules and regulations. It also requires an understanding of how trucking companies and their insurers operate. Having guided several clients through the complex claims process and toward favorable settlements and verdicts, our teat at Hinkle Law Offices, LLC, is prepared to competently handle your case and fight for the compensation you need to recover in comfort.