The common causes of truck accidents in Kentucky include distracted or reckless driving, intoxicated driving, poor road conditions, poor vehicle maintenance, and bad weather. These factors often lead to collisions between a large truck and a passenger vehicle.
Maintaining safe driving distance, avoiding blind spots, and avoiding driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol are some tips for preventing truck accidents. Take appropriate after-crash steps, such as documenting the accident scene, calling the police, and seeking medical attention, to protect your health and right to pursue compensation from liable parties. Potentially liable parties in a truck accident case include the truck driver, trucking company, cargo owner, truck parts manufacturer, and freight broker.
What Is a Truck Accident?
A trucking accident can involve a collision between a passenger car and a large truck. It may also occur when a large truck collides with a parked vehicle. In other incidents, the accident involves a truck hitting a pedestrian or cyclist.
A trucking accident can be minor, serious, or fatal depending on the cause of the accident and the nature of the injuries sustained. Police officers tend to capture this information when they visit the accident scene. They look at the circumstances that led to the accident and the state of the victims and vehicles involved.
A truck accident lawyer can evaluate your case details and establish if you have a valid claim. After taking on your case, the lawyer will investigate your accident. The investigation process may include visiting the truck accident scene and reviewing images and surveillance footage. It may also involve assessing vehicle damage and reviewing your medical reports.
Your lawyer may hire an independent accident reconstructionist to help recreate the accident scene and gather the information necessary to identify all potentially at-fault parties.
Like any other vehicle collision, a trucking accident may involve a sideswipe, side-impact collision, or a rear-end or head-on collision. A sideswipe may occur when the side of one motor vehicle makes contact with, hits, or scrapes the side of the other vehicle. It can happen when two vehicles are moving or when one vehicle is moving and the other is parked.
In a side-impact crash, one vehicle crashes into one side of the other vehicle. A head-on collision occurs when the front ends of both vehicles collide. A rear-end collision is the opposite of a head-on collision, where the front end of one vehicle directly collides with the tail end of the other vehicle.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident in Kentucky?
All parties or entities involved in creating, maintaining, and operating a truck have a legal duty to ensure its safety and security. These parties or entities include the truck driver, trucking company, truck part manufacturer, trailer/rig owner, cargo owner, and maintenance company. You can hold any of these parties financially accountable for your injuries, damages, and other related expenses if their negligence caused the accident.
You can bring a claim for economic and non-economic damages against the liable parties in Kentucky if you got injured in a truck accident. A skilled truck accident lawyer can negotiate with the other party’s insurance company to secure a reasonable settlement on your behalf.
You may pursue a personal injury lawsuit if negotiations with the insurance company fail. The lawsuit may focus on recovering economic damages, including medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. It may also focus on recovering non-economic damages, such as emotional distress, disability, disfigurement, and pain and suffering.
You may also receive punitive damages if you win the lawsuit. Punitive damages are a legal recompense the defendant needs to pay on top of economic and non-economic damages as punishment for wrongdoing. Courts usually award this compensation to punish parties whose conduct is grossly negligent.
Top Causes of Truck Accidents
Increasing awareness of the causes of trucking accidents can help educate truck drivers on road safety. It can also help victims determine who is at fault for their injuries. Some top causes of truck accidents include distracted driving, reckless driving, bad weather, and fatigue.
It is common for truck drivers to feel pressured to work long hours. Although the law requires truck drivers to get some rest, some choose to ignore this requirement. As a result, they end up putting other road users at risk of accidents since they are sleep-deprived and exhausted.
Driving While Intoxicated
The penalties for driving while intoxicated are typically harsher for commercial drivers than for other drivers. Despite this, some drivers consume substances like alcohol or drugs when operating large vehicles. Drugs and alcohol can impair a person’s motor abilities, reducing their reaction time in an emergency.
Reckless and Distracted Driving
Careless behaviors, such as ignoring traffic signals, speeding, tailgating, and reckless passing on two-lane roads fall under reckless driving. These behaviors put truck drivers and other road users at a higher risk of an accident.
Distracted driving behaviors, like talking on a cell phone or texting, can also cause accidents with serious consequences. The same applies to fiddling with the radio or focusing your eyes on another object other than the road.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance and Poor Cargo Loading
Trucks require regular maintenance to perform at optimal levels. If they are not maintained as required, their tires may get worn out, which can cause blowouts. The fault of the accident will be on the person in charge of maintaining the truck.
It’s also possible for cargo to fall on the road when the vehicle moves at high speeds. Heavy cargo can cause the entire vehicle to roll over as it shifts. The driver, a trucking company, or a contracted third-party cargo handler may be responsible for poor cargo loading.
Causes of Trucking Accidents That Are Not Attributed to the Driver
Road conditions, bad weather, unrealistic time constraints, and poor driver training can cause trucking accidents. These causes are usually not attributed to the driver. In particular, poor road maintenance is attributable to the local government in charge of road construction or maintenance.
There’s no one to blame for bad weather conditions, which affect visibility when driving. However, trucking companies can be liable for the unrealistic time constraints they set for their drivers. A truck driver may respond to these constraints by driving too fast or failing to observe traffic signals and rules.
How to Prevent Truck Accidents
Learning how to prevent truck crashes can help you avoid injuries and damage to your vehicle. It can also help you avoid legal problems and loss of productivity. The following are tips to prevent truck accidents.
Maintain a Safe Driving Distance
One of the ways to prevent a trucking accident is to keep a safe driving distance between you (or your vehicle) and trucks. Tractor-trailers and big rigs usually need more space to complete a stop or turn on the road. A collision might occur if you are driving close to these big vehicles.
Avoid Blind Spots
Due to the massive size of most trucks, there is often a larger blind spot. So, stay out of the areas the trucking driver cannot see. These blind spots include 30 feet behind a semi-truck, two lanes wide on the right side of the truck, and 20 feet in front of a semi-truck.
Be Careful When Overtaking Large Trucks
Since it’s difficult for large trucks to stop quickly like passenger cars, you should be careful when passing a large truck. Only pass the vehicle from the left side. Avoid passing it while driving uphill or downhill.
Avoid Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Drugs
Alcohol and drugs are known to impair people’s judgment and reaction time. As such, you should not consume these substances when operating a motor vehicle.
Always Use Appropriate Signals When Driving
Use clear signals when passing close to a large truck. Use signals when turning or changing lanes. This way, the truck driver can interpret your intentions and adjust his or her driving accordingly.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
If you are in stable condition, you should ensure that all injured parties at the truck accident scene get medical attention. The wrecked vehicles must be moved from the road to prevent traffic build-up and additional accidents. All involved parties must share their contact information, driver’s license details, and insurance information.
Before the police arrive, get the witnesses’ names and contact details. You should also take photos of the visible damage to the vehicles. Photographs of debris or skid marks on the road can also help you build a personal injury case.
Note the road and weather conditions and traffic signs at the time of the accident. Also, get the names of the law enforcement officers who visit the accident scene. Once you have these details, contact your insurer to report the accident.
Do not admit fault at the accident scene. Do not share any information with the police that may affect the outcomes of your accident claim unless your lawyer allows you to do so.
Avoid discussing your condition and state of mind since they may be used against you. Instead, hire a competent truck accident lawyer to help investigate the accident, gather relevant evidence, and protect your rights.