10 Causes of Truck Accidents
Causes of Head-On Commercial Truck Collisions
Head-on collisions are extremely dangerous, especially if it involves an 18-wheeler or semi-truck. These vehicles are more likely to cause fatal damages due to their size and impact. These accidents are quite rare and account for only 3 percent of all vehicle collisions. Regardless, it is still important to drive safely near commercial trucks to prevent serious accidents from occurring.
Below, the excellent team of truck accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers break down 10 different ways that a head-on collision with a truck can happen to prepare you for cautious driving around 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, and other commercial trucks.
10 Factors That Contribute to a Truck Accident
- Construction zones. Although most established construction zones might have signage posted to warn drivers about the upcoming traffic changes and precautions to take, there may be times when a truck driver is unaware of construction zones. It can be difficult for a truck driver to merge onto another lane once they notice a construction zone ahead. Due to the size of an 18-wheeler and semi-truck, the truck driver could potentially merge too far to the left and get into a lane with oncoming traffic. This could result in a head-on collision.
- Driving while fatigued. Truck drivers travel for a long period of time due to their tight schedules. Although there exist federal guidelines that limit the number of hours truck drivers are lawfully allowed to drive without taking a break, many truck drivers who are under pressure from employers and clients violate these guidelines to meet their deadlines. This is extremely dangerous as they can begin to fall asleep behind the wheel, which can cause the vehicle to drift from one side to another. If a truck drifts into the lane of oncoming traffic on a two-way road, this can cause a head-on collision.
- Driving while under the influence. Truck drivers are under an immense amount of stress and pressure. Some may decide to drink or use drugs while on the job in order to cope with stress. This is a poor decision to make as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can cause vision impairment, which will make it difficult to properly operate a vehicle.
- Driving while distracted. Truck drivers spend a significant amount of their time on the road, which gives them less time to be with their families. Due to lack of communication with loved ones, it will make them want to text or call them to see how they are doing. A truck driver could also be looking through social media or watching videos for entertainment purposes. Regardless, they should never keep their eyes off the road. Lack of focus on the road can result in a head-on collision with another vehicle nearby.
- Improper passing. A solid yellow line is marked on the road to prevent drivers from using that particular lane. However, those who operate a motor vehicle tend to use it as a way to pass a vehicle ahead, primarily with commercial trucks due to their slow speed. This could result in a collision if the truck makes a sudden move that restricts the other driver from passing by.
- Medical issues. There may be some cases where a commercial driver is behind the wheel when a medical emergency happens. The Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) states that long-haul truck drivers are susceptible to a wide array of diseases due to their profession and lifestyles. A survey conducted by the organization found that truck drivers are likely to suffer from obesity, smoking, low physical activity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Each of these different health conditions can contribute to cardiovascular disease, such as a stroke and heart attack. These conditions can strike at any given time. In the unfortunate event that a truck driver suffers from a medical emergency while behind the wheel, they could lose control of the vehicle and swerve into oncoming traffic, which may result in a head-on collision.
- Previous accidents. When there is already an accident that has occurred or is occurring the moment that a commercial truck is driving towards it, it could result in a multi-crash collision pileup that involves the truck, as well. This is difficult to avoid because trucks take a longer time than cars to make a full stop. In the case that the truck driver attempts to avoid colliding with an already precedent accident, by swerving out of the way, they may end up colliding with oncoming traffic and cause a head-on collision.
- Tire complications. Popped, damaged, or compromised tires can be an unprecedented condition that can cause a truck driver to lose control of their vehicle and swerve into oncoming traffic, which could cause a head-on collision. This is why it is important for truck drivers, who are often forced to drive in poor weather conditions, to check their tires to ensure that they are in good shape prior to driving on the road.
- Unfamiliar roads. Truckers are expected to drive long hours in unknown territory and can find themselves on unfamiliar roads where they might not understand the traffic conditions, lane merges, signage, and other rules of that particular road. This can be dangerous for truck drivers who might have to make sudden turns, merges, or changes. If they are caught off guard by an unfamiliar road or road condition, they could end up swerving into oncoming traffic and cause a head-on collision.
- Weather conditions. Poor weather conditions are a truck driver’s worst enemy. Most of the time, many truck drivers find themselves driving for hours on end during a hot day. Excessive heat can cause a truck driver to become dehydrated and susceptible to heat stroke. There are other conditions, such as heavy rain, hail, snow, ice, tumbleweeds, and sand storms that can also obscure their vision and make road conditions dangerous.
If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses, also known as damages. The following are the available damages for injuries sustained in an accident.
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for monetary losses. They are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of the injuries that were sustained in an accident.
A few examples of economic losses include:
- Loss of Earning Capacity
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
Non-economic damages are intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:
- Emotional Distress
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact are only incorporated in about 5 percent of all verdicts. Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.
Contact West Coast Trial Lawyers Today
If you have sustained injuries in the city of Los Angeles as a result of a truck accident, our experienced team of truck accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our knowledgeable, caring, and compassionate legal team.