The roads and highways in Arizona are shared by drivers of automobiles, commercial trucks and big-rigs, and collisions can result in devastating injuries to the occupants of smaller vehicles. Although state and federal truck safety laws are designed to protect the public, many accidents are the result of poor maintenance and driver negligence. If you or a loved one were injured in truck accident, you need an experienced personal injury attorney to fight for your rights.
The Blischak Law Firm routinely handles truck accident cases in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, and throughout the state of Arizona. We are well versed in the applicable local, state and federal truck safety laws and are dedicated to helping our clients achieve successful outcomes.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Two of the leading causes of truck accidents are poor vehicle maintenance and driver fatigue, however, accidents are also often the result of other factors, including:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Reckless driving
- Inexperienced drivers
- Poor weather and road conditions
- Improper loading
Truck Safety Laws
Although there are a number of state and federal truck safety laws, trucking companies and truck drivers often fail to adhere to these laws. When accidents occur, they must be held accountable.
First, trucking companies are required to properly maintain vehicles: the braking systems, lights, steering, engine and other mechanical parts must be operating properly. In addition, trucking companies must also conduct routine safety inspections, and maintain records which must be available for review by authorities. If an accident is caused by a mechanical defect, the trucking company can be held liable for failing to adhere to these requirements.
In addition, truck drivers are required to abide by certain rules, starting with obtaining special licenses. There are limits to the number of hours truckers are permitted to drive, and they must also take regular rest breaks. In reality, however, truckers are often forced to skirt these rules because they must meet strict delivery deadlines. Moreover, most truckers cover long distances and can easily become fatigued.
Truckers can also become distracted by GPS navigation devices or other electronic equipment, with deadly consequences.
Finally, trucking companies have an obligation to ensure that all drivers are properly trained. However, in an effort to cut costs, some companies send inexperienced drivers onto the road. In the event of an accident that was caused by truck driver error, both the trucker and the trucking company can be held liable.
Types of Truck Accidents
The most common types of truck accidents in Arizona include:
- Rollover Accidents – Often caused by speeding, rollovers can also occur on steep inclines or declines. Rollover accidents can also happen when a trucker hits a curb or swerves around other vehicles or objects on the road, or takes a curve too fast. Vehicles that are improperly loaded are also prone to rollovers.
- Jackknife Accidents – This occurs when the drive-axle brakes of a big-rig lock, causing the trailer to skid and come to a stop at a 90-degree angle with the tractor. In this situation, a trucker can easily lose control as the truck jackknifes and rolls over.
- Brake Failure Accidents – Poorly maintained brakes or those that are installed improperly are at a high risk of failing. Similarly, aging brakes and sudden stops cause overheating, increasing the risk of brake failure in heavy vehicles.
- Runaway Truck Accidents – Truckers that use improper breaking techniques can cause brake failures that lead to runaway trucks which often occur at intersections, tollbooths, off-ramps and railroad crossings. A properly trained truck driver will apply the brakes gradually and slowly reduce the vehicle’s speed with each application.
- Blind Spots – Most commercial trucks are large and long and typically have blind spots along the sides and rear – the so-called “No-Zone” areas. If the driver of another vehicle fails to avoid a No-Zone area, an accident can easily occur, such as when the truck changes lanes.
- Rear-End – These accidents happen when a truck impacts the back of another vehicle, often resulting in catastrophic injuries to the occupants of smaller vehicles.
- Under-Ride – If a truck driver suddenly slams on the brakes, vehicles that are traveling behind become crushed under the rear of a truck or trailer, which can lead to severe injuries or death to the occupants of the other vehicle.
- Wide Turn Accidents – When a trucker underestimates the amount of space needed to complete a turn or does not see smaller vehicles in the path of a trailer, the other vehicle can be pinned against other vehicles or obstacles.
Arizona Truck Accident Attorneys
At the Blischak Law Firm, we believe that negligent trucking companies and truck drivers must be held accountable for accidents that lead to injuries. We know that accident victims are often at a disadvantage because trucking companies and their insurance companies rely on their own crash scene investigators in an effort to minimize their liability. For this reason, we routinely collaborate with a respected network of accident reconstruction specialists and forensics experts to level the playing field.
Over our many years of practice, we have helped truck accident victims obtain the compensation they deserve for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses. Being injured a truck accident is an overwhelming experience, but having an experienced attorney to rely on will put your mind at ease. Call our office today at (602) 252-1984 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation.
The Law Office of John W. Blischak serves clients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Glendale, and throughout the state of Arizona.