Large commercial trucks are a crucial part of America’s economic engine, but they can also be dangerous for other drivers on the road. If a truck driver makes a mistake, you can suffer severe consequences. The Minneapolis truck accident lawyers at GoldenbergLaw believe that the level of due care is even greater for drivers of these huge, powerful vehicles.
Because of the sheer size of modern trucks, their accidents tend to produce catastrophic personal injuries. These injuries can leave you with crippling pain and an apparently never-ending stream of expenses.
Our Minneapolis truck accident lawyers have 29 years of experience representing the injured victims of these crashes in Minnesota. If you have been hurt in a truck accident, we will fight so that you are fairly compensated for your injuries. Please use our online contact form or call GoldenbergLaw at 612-436-5026 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
- Leading Causes of Truck Accidents
- Truck Accident Injuries
- Truck Driver Fatigue
- Truck Driver Intoxication
- Tips for Staying Safe
- Contact GoldenbergLaw
Leading Causes of Truck Accidents
According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the leading cause of truck accidents is brake failure – accounting for 29% of all large commercial vehicle accidents in the United States. Additional factors beyond the control of the driver included in the top 20 causes identified by this study are:
- Roadway problems
- Tire problems
- Cargo shift
Depending on other circumstances surrounding your truck accident, liability for these accidents may lie with local, state, or federal entities, parts manufacturers, mechanics, or companies responsible for loading and securing cargo. Our Minnesota truck accident lawyers will carefully investigate the cause of your accident to identify all liable parties and fight to hold them accountable for their negligence. Even in cases where more than one party has played a role – which is most often the case in truck accidents.
15 of the top 20 causes of truck accidents identified in the LTCCS are related to truck drivers and their behavior. These, in descending order of frequency are:
- Unfamiliarity with roadways
- Over the counter drug use
- Inadequate surveillance
- Truck driver fatigue
- Unrealistic scheduling and increased pressure from management
- Illegal maneuver
- External distraction
- Following too close
- Internal distraction
- Illegal drug use
We will take a closer look at some of these factors as we move on, but it is important to note that, even when they initially seem otherwise, these causes of truck accidents may be the fault of multiple parties. Identifying each party is the job of your Minneapolis truck accident attorney and an essential part of securing fair compensation. We can examine skid marks, the truck driver’s black box recordings and other important factors to determine if the driver, his company, or another party violated local, state, or federal laws. However, even if no law has been violated, when the action or inaction of one of these parties results in an accident, we can hold them accountable and take your claim as far as needed to help you get every penny you are due.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Differences in size can make vehicular collisions especially dangerous when trucks are involved. Accidents involving massive commercial trucks can mean life-altering and often deadly consequences for innocent victims. The sheer size of the vehicles involved in commercial trucking accidents creates the potential for catastrophic personal injuries, especially when a passenger vehicle is hit. Cars are designed with safety features that can withstand the forces of similar-sized vehicles, but the physical force involved in a truck accident is an entirely different matter. Add to this a freight of hazardous or flammable materials, and the dangers are multiplied further.
The catastrophic injuries that often result from truck accidents include:
- Spinal injuries
- Brain injuries
- Loss of limbs
The injuries listed above don’t just cause significant pain and suffering, they also result in staggering medical bills that most people will struggle the rest of their lives to pay. Tragically, many people will never be able to recoup these losses on their own, leaving tremendous debt for their family members when they pass.
Our Minneapolis truck accident lawyers don’t think that’s right. You’ve suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s mistakes, not your own. You shouldn’t have to face a lifetime of medical expenses without help.
Whether you are recovering from your injuries or the wrongful death of a loved one following a truck accident, our Minneapolis personal injury attorneys can help you obtain justice. We can help you get the compensation you deserve for your medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of wages and earning potential, loss of consortium, and all other economic and noneconomic damages you’ve endured. Call us at 612-436-5026 to schedule a free consultation and learn more.
A Closer Look at Truck Driver Fatigue
Following the accident that injured actor Tracy Morgan, truck driver fatigue gained national attention. As one of the leading causes of commercial truck accidents, it deserves to stay in the national spotlight. Trucking companies are always competing with each other to deliver goods faster and more efficiently. As an incentive, some companies actually pay drivers more depending on how quickly they can reach their destination. This often prompts truckers to drive for longer hours and cut their rest breaks short, heightening the risk of a serious truck accident.
In an effort to combat trucker fatigue, the FMCSA has established Hours of Service regulations that dictate how many consecutive hours a trucker can stay on the road before they must take a rest break. Currently, drivers cannot exceed more than 11 consecutive driving hours, and this shift must be followed by at least 10 hours of off-duty rest time. (Source: FMCSA)
Drivers are required by federal law to keep a running log of their drive time and rest time. Unfortunately, trucking companies often impose tight, unrealistic deadlines on truckers, encouraging them to break Hours of Service rules and falsify entries in their log books. If a serious truck accident happens under these circumstances, the trucking company can be just as liable as the truck driver for any injuries that occur. Our Minnesota truck accident lawyers will evaluate and review all pertinent information to establish if a violation has occurred, and hold all responsible parties accountable for your injuries.
A Closer Look at Truck Driver Intoxication
Because of the prolonged, irregular hours that many truckers spend on the road, some drivers resort to using stimulants to stay awake. These drugs may successfully fight off fatigue for a short period of time, but the consequences of using both over the counter and illegal stimulants like cocaine, methamphetamines, and ephedrine can be even more dangerous, resulting in consequences such as:
- Reckless driving
- Impaired reaction time
In many cases, driver fatigue and other factors that may contribute to drug use do not become obvious until a full investigation is performed into the truck accident. Trucking companies are always working to minimize their liability by sending their attorneys and representatives to the scene of a truck accident. Make sure you are prepared to respond effectively by hiring your own experienced Minnesota truck accident lawyer. The truck accident lawyers at GoldenbergLaw have over 40 years of experience handling serious injury cases, and we’re prepared to fight tooth and nail for the compensation you deserve.
According to the American Trucking Association, over three million drivers move 70% of the country’s freight. As our economy continues recovering from "The Great Recession," the trucking industry is set to become even busier – a fact made difficult by the current truck driver shortage. In order to maintain the recent levels of growth within the trucking industry, it is suggested that around 40,000 new drivers need to be added to the industry’s workforce. In the meantime, those of us sharing the roads with truckers must acknowledge that these drivers work long, tireless shifts, and may be more vulnerable to error.
Exactly how significant is the need for the average car driver to have some understanding of how semi-trucks and trailers operate? Consider these numbers compiled by the Federal Highway Administration and other transportation agencies:
- There are nearly two million semi-trucks operating in the U.S.
- Roughly 90% of trucking companies are small operations with less than 10 vehicles in their fleet.
- Each semi-truck travels between 45,000 and 100,000 miles per year.
- The maximum weight for a semi-truck in the U.S. is 80,000 pounds.
Truck drivers face considerable limitations when it comes to navigating their vehicles on the road, with blind spots being one of the largest obstacles to safe driving.
Here are five safety tips that can help you avoid an accident with a truck or semi:
- Safety Tip No. 1. Avoid blind spots. Size and height are two factors making an average-sized passenger vehicle more susceptible to being hidden in a semi-truck driver’s blind spot. Because semis are rarely outfitted with rearview mirrors, truckers have blind spots immediately behind them in addition to regular blind spots in the left and right rear. So always give a truck ample room on the road.
- Safety Tip No. 2: Avoid right-hand passing. The blind spot on a truck driver’s right is particularly large. Always remember, a truck driver can only see you if you can see him in one of the truck’s mirrors. When passing a truck, do so quickly and avoid simply driving alongside it.
- Safety Tip No. 3: Never dodge in front of a semi. A fully-loaded semi-truck may be unable to slow down very quickly. It can take the length of a football field for the driver to come to a complete stop.
- Safety Tip No. 4: Beware of wide truck turns. Semis need more space to turn. They often swing wide and spill into nearby lanes during turns.
- Safety Tip No. 5: Turn signals are life-savers. You never want to surprise a fellow driver, least of all the driver of a semi-truck or trailer. Consistent turn signal use significantly lowers your chance of being involved in an accident with a truck, motorcycle, or another car.
Remember, nearly 30% of all truck accidents are caused by brake failure. Give trucks plenty of room to stop, especially when traveling at high speeds, down hills, or in inclement weather.
Even the safest driver cannot always prevent an accident. When you are injured or a loved one is killed in one of these accidents, GoldenbergLaw is here to help. Bringing over four decades of experience to every truck accident case we take, our Minneapolis personal injury lawyers know how to handle these cases for maximum reward. Please contact us online or call 612-436-5026 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help. We welcome clients from Minneapolis, St. Paul, and all other areas of Minnesota.