While the trucking industry plays a major role in our economy, and transports and delivers the goods and services we purchase every day, there are a significant number of accidents every year caused by trucks, trucking companies, and truck drivers. If you or a loved one has been injured in a semi crash, it’s in your best interests to contact a qualified Jackson truck accident lawyer immediately. We can investigate your claim and work towards getting you the compensation you need to recover.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were nearly 160,000 tractor trailers involved in accidents all across the country in 2016. Of those crashes, 99,911 resulted in property damage, 55,633 caused injuries, and 4,213 ended with fatalities. A number of those accidents occurred in Mississippi.
If you find yourself dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident, it’s important to understand your legal options and rights. We understand that dealing with claims and insurance companies can be overwhelming, especially if you’re trying to focus on recovering from physical injuries and emotional trauma. We’re here for you. Let’s take a look at why so many devastating truck wrecks happen.
Causes of Truck Accidents in Jackson
The majority of semi crashes are entirely preventable when trucking companies and truck drivers follow proper procedures set by the FMSCA. When the laws are not followed, an accident is likely to happen. Let’s take a look at the most common causes of tractor trailer accidents in Mississippi.
- Poor Vehicle Maintenance. Commercial vehicles cover a significant number of miles a day. As a result, trucking companies, drivers, and maintenance crews are required to regularly inspect the trucks to ensure everything is in working order. Worn brake pads or a cracked windshield can cause major traffic accidents.
- Improper Cargo Loading. Commercial vehicles can haul incredibly heavy materials. There are, however, weight restrictions in place to ensure the vehicles are safe for travel. The maximum weight for a vehicle traveling on an interstate is 80,000 pounds. If that is exceeded, the truck risks rolling over or damaging the road.
- Unsafe Driving Practices. Unfortunately, not all truck drivers are responsible and diligent behind the wheel. Some drivers try to multitask by using their phone or eating while driving. Instances of distracted driving-related incidents are high. Truckers may also speed, tailgate, neglect to use their headlights or turn signals when they’re needed, or fail to actively check their blind spots.
- Fatigue. Truckers are often on tight schedules. As a result, they may think it’s wise to travel for extended periods of time without resting. Fatigue, however, can have a similar effect on the brain that alcohol does. It can significantly hinder a driver’s ability to focus and process their surroundings, as well as decrease their reaction time.
- Inclement Weather. If a trucker is inexperienced, they may not know how to properly handle their vehicle in rain, snow, or fog. These weather events can be difficult to drive through because of the heavy weight and slower stopping speeds associated with semis. Skidding, jackknifing, and hydroplaning are possible.
Why Big Rig Wrecks Are So Severe
Truck accidents are much more dangerous than passenger car crashes for a number of reasons. If you’ve been in an accident involving an 18-wheeler, it’s likely that many of the following circumstances apply to you.
- Serious Injuries. While car accident injuries can be severe and even result in death, many car accident victims are able to recover from what they’ve been through. Given the weight and size of commercial vehicles, the injuries are often worse and can result in intensive medical care. Broken bones, brain or spinal trauma, and lost limbs are among the most serious injuries.
- Increased Property Damage. Once again, the weight and size of tractor trailers contribute to the difference between truck accidents and passenger vehicle wrecks. Smaller vehicles are likely to be totaled by a large commercial vehicle.
- Greater Chance of Death. Because of the possibility of severe property damage and injuries, large truck accident victims face a greater chance of death when compared to accidents between two passenger vehicles. If you’ve wrongfully lost a loved one after a truck accident, we can help.
Determining Liability After a Tractor Trailer Crash
There are a number of parties who may be responsible for a truck wreck. The following persons or entities could be considered liable depending on the results of the crash investigation:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Truck owner
- Vehicle manufacturer
- Company leasing the truck or trailer
Depending on the circumstances, the entity could be deemed negligent. The most common indications of negligence include:
- Failing to obey traffic laws
- Improper hiring or training practices
- Lack of experience
- Driving for too long without taking a break
At Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC, we can investigate your accident to determine what went wrong, so the negligent party can be held responsible for their actions.
Reach Out to a Jackson Truck Accident Lawyer
Immediately following a semi crash, it’s important to move yourself to a safe location and call emergency services. Law enforcement officers will investigate the scene, talk with you, and make a report. While this happens, you may need to receive treatment for your injuries. The sooner you seek medical attention, the better. After you’ve dealt with the initial accident, you should consider retaining the assistance of our Jackson truck accident lawyers.
Tractor trailer crashes often involve complex issues of law related to commercial vehicles, their maintenance, company policies, and more. An experienced attorney will fight for full and fair compensation. Never feel pressured to accept an initial settlement offer. Find out what we can do for you first. For a consultation, contact our office today.