Many consider trucking accidents to be the deadliest type of vehicle crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that large trucks, including tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, and big rigs, were involved in 4,761 fatal collisions in the United States in 2019, killing 5,005 individuals.
Passenger deaths happen when a truck driver or company’s carelessness causes an accident, as truck collisions often kill passengers in smaller vehicles. As a result, truck drivers and trucking companies have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care. The law requires them to take steps to maintain the trucks and operate them safely. Unfortunately, when truck drivers and companies act carelessly, it can have severe, deadly consequences for people on the road.
If a trucking accident has fatally injured your loved one, Salango Law, PLLC, could help you pursue a wrongful death action. In West Virginia, the law gives the personal representative of a deceased person’s estate the right to pursue a wrongful death claim and recover compensation for the late person’s estate and family. Even though the person who died in a truck accident cannot pursue the claim themselves, their representative can secure justice for their legacy.
At Salango Law, PLLC, our legal team has abundant experience with personal injury and wrongful death cases involving trucks and can provide assistance, vigorous advocacy, and expertise at every step of the process. One of the more challenging aspects of truck accident lawsuits is identifying who is responsible, as trucking companies and drivers can both play a role in fatal accidents. If a Salango Law, PLLC, attorney takes your case, your dedicated advocate can help you determine whom you should ask the court to hold responsible for the death of your loved one. Your attorney could also construct a solid case, obtain evidence supporting your allegations, formulate powerful arguments, and go to bat for you in court. For a free consultation, call Salango Law, PLLC, at (304) 342-0512 and learn more about how our firm could support you.
Why Do Truck Accidents Cause Fatalities?
Large commercial trucks pose a danger to those in passenger vehicles, and trucking accidents are often deadly. Trucks can kill others who share the roads when drivers and companies make errors.
A variety of factors can cause fatal truck accidents. Often, they arise from negligence on the part of the driver or company — or both. While individuals should be aware of the risks trucking accidents pose, truck drivers and companies are responsible for following safety guidelines and regulations to avoid trucking accidents. When a driver or business fails to do so, they can incur liability for the consequential fatality.
One reason trucks can be fatally dangerous is their sheer size and their comparably greater weight and height. Indeed, commercial trucks dwarf cars, weighing 20 to 30 times the average passenger vehicle. Drivers must exercise care when operating commercial trucks, as their enormity makes them more challenging to control than smaller vehicles.
Commercial trucks stand taller than cars. Because they are more elevated and have greater ground clearance than most vehicles, accidents can involve cars under-riding trucks. Under-riding occurs when one vehicle partially slides under another in an accident. In the case of trucking accidents, the smaller car can slide under the truck, crushing the passenger.
The size of commercial trucks makes traffic violations by truck drivers especially dangerous. Due to the great size and weight of trucks, a driver who breaks traffic rules poses a significant risk to others.
As trucks are larger and heavier than cars, they take longer to stop. If a truck driver is speeding, the driver can strike smaller vehicles on the road. A speeding truck driver needs more time to stop before hitting an obstacle, such as a smaller vehicle or pedestrian. If the driver does not see a car or passenger in the way in time, the truck can barrel into them. Since trucks require longer stopping distances than passenger vehicles, avoiding collisions in unexpected and dangerous situations is challenging for truck drivers. If they are not careful to drive at a reasonable speed, they can cause deadly accidents.
The size of trucks also makes it more difficult for drivers to see other vehicles. Because of their size, trucks have large blind spots. The blind spots can make it hard for the driver to see other vehicles. When a truck passes smaller vehicles like motorcycles or bicycles, the driver might not see them.
In addition to the design of trucks, the structure of trucking companies and the nature of the job can generate risks. In some cases, trucking companies incentivize drivers to complete jobs within a specific time frame. When these expectations are unrealistic, drivers can put themselves through stress attempting to meet them and may elect to forgo sleep and rest to continue driving. They may drive long hours. Fatigue can result. Tiredness can make drivers more likely to make mistakes and can slow their reaction times, leading to accidents.
When a company unreasonably incentivizes a driver to operate the vehicle while fatigued, the company may be liable for deaths resulting from a collision.
Maintenance And Cargo
Trucks require consistent maintenance. Depending on the situation, the company or the driver may bear primary responsibility for maintaining the vehicle. Proper care for a truck includes attention to the condition of the tires and checking to ensure the parts are not worn and still function well. Improper maintenance can result in deadly accidents. For instance, if a worn-out tire blows out, the truck and another vehicle may collide.
Errors with cargo loading can also lead to deadly accidents. Unbalanced or unsecured cargo can make the truck tip or cause the driver to lose control.
Contact A Fatal Truck Accident Lawyer
Unfortunately, trucking accidents can have a higher likelihood of resulting in fatalities. For those whose loved ones perished in a trucking accident, the healing process can entail learning about the accident’s cause, determining who is responsible, and pursuing compensation.
At Salango Law, PLLC, we guide those whose loved ones passed away in trucking accidents through the legal system. If you intend to file a wrongful death lawsuit for someone who died in a trucking accident, Salango Law, PLLC, might be able to help you.
Our Charleston truck accident lawyer understand how devastating it can be to lose a loved one suddenly to a trucking accident. It can be incredibly frustrating to learn that those responsible for the accident could have prevented it but instead acted carelessly. At Salango Law, PLLC, we work closely with our clients to build strong cases against careless people. Call our office at 304-342-0512 for a free consultation.