According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), deaths by large trucks are on the rise. In 2017, large trucks (which include 18-wheelers) and buses were involved in nearly 5,000 deaths, an increase of 400 from 2016. An 18-wheeler is a trucking rig which has a tractor and a trailer. The combination typically has 18 wheels.
18-wheeler accidents are especially dangerous because their size, weight, and dimensions overwhelm other vehicles they collide with. A car is simply no match for an 18-wheeler. When a car and 18-wheeler collide, it is likely that the occupants of the car will either die or suffer catastrophic injuries.
Why 18-wheeler truck accidents happen
Why a truck accident happens usually indicates who is responsible. The various causes of 18-wheeler accidents experienced truck accident lawyers handle include:
- Accidents due to fatigue. Often, truck companies will push drivers to deliver loads using unrealistic time schedules. Many rig accidents happen because the drivers aren’t rested. Tired drivers can’t react to emergencies and can easily cause emergencies. The FMCSA has specific rules that regulate how many hours semi-drivers can operate their vehicle during a day and during the week.
- Faulty inspections and repairs. Truck drivers and trucking companies are required to routinely inspect their brakes, tires, steering, and other parts of their vehicle. When drivers and trucking companies fail to make regular inspections or conduct routine maintenance, they should be held accountable for the accidents they cause.
- Distracted driving. Trucking is a lonely occupation. Many truck drivers become easily distracted in their effort to relieve the boredom. Distracted drivers aren’t focused on the road and aren’t prepared to respond to emergencies. Common types of truck driver distraction include:
- Texting while driving
- Talking on a smartphone
- Looking at a video
- Looking at their GPS system
- Eating while driving
- Drunk driving. Drivers who have a few drinks need to get off the road until they’re sober. Intoxicated truck drivers are probably the most dangerous drivers on our highways.
- Cargo overloads or unsecured cargo. If there is too much cargo or the cargo shifts while the truck is in operation, the driver of an 18-wheeler can easily lose control of his or her truck. Cargo accidents do more than threaten the driver or other vehicles in the path of the truck. When the cargo spills, vehicles often strike the cargo or get into accidents in their attempts to avoid the cargo. Cargo accidents often cause multi-vehicle accidents.
A major cause of 18-wheeler truck accidents is speeding. Drivers that go too fast don’t have control of their truck and can easily cause death or permanent injury to anyone that crash into. Defective truck parts also play a role in the number of crashes and collisions each year. Manufacturers of defective parts which cause accidents can be held strictly liable for the injuries and wrongful deaths they cause.
Types of 18-wheeler accidents
How a truck accident happens is also a strong indicator of fault. Common types of 18-wheeler truck accidents include:
- Truck jackknifes
- Truck rollovers
- Detached trailers
- Under-ride accidents
- Wide-turn truck crashes
The experienced Chattanooga truck accident lawyers at Wagner & Wagner investigate the cause of the truck accident. We review what regulations were violated, how long the driver was on the road, what inspections of the truck were conducted, and other safety matters. We work to examine any black-box recorders. In addition to filing claims against the truck driver, we file claims against the trucking companies, truck manufacturers, truck owners, truck repair companies, and all other responsible companies. We demand compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and continual pain and suffering. In death cases, we file wrongful death cases on behalf of the family members.
To get justice when an 18-wheeler changes or ends a life, call us at 423-799-3532 or fill out our contact form. We represent drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and families in Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN, and in North Georgia.