All motorists on Phoenix roadways are expected to safely share the road with other motor vehicles, and that includes passenger cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and small and large commercial trucks. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen, and when a collision occurs that involves a tractor-trailer or 18-wheeler, the consequences can be devastating, even more so than in an accident involving regular passenger vehicles. The truth is that trucking accidents are not the same as car accidents; they involve unique factors and considerations and a truck accident claim requires the expertise of a knowledgeable semi-truck accident lawyer. If you have been injured in a truck accident in Phoenix, you need a personal injury attorney on your side who has a proven history of success handling trucking accident claims. Consult our legal team at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC today and we will put our legal expertise to work for you.
Qualified Truck Accident Attorneys
Truck accident claims in Phoenix can be incredibly complex and challenging to litigate, especially those that involve truck driver employers, trucking companies and third-party defendants, and it can be overwhelming for victims to navigate such complicated issues following a traumatic event like a semi-truck accident. When a truck driver or trucking company is negligent, they are not only violating their legal duty to act in a reasonably careful manner, they are also putting themselves and countless other motorists at unnecessary risk. If you or a loved one is seriously injured in a truck accident in Phoenix, you will need reliable information about what to do and how to proceed in the aftermath of the accident, so you can protect your rights. You will also want to know who is at fault for the truck accident and how to go about pursuing financial compensation for the resulting injuries, property damage, and other losses. The key to recovering fair compensation for your truck accident injuries and losses is to hire an experienced, aggressive attorney who can inform you of your rights and protect your best interests. Our lawyers at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC will advise you of your legal rights and options and work on your behalf to ensure that you recoup the compensation you are entitled to.
Causes of Phoenix Trucking Accidents
Tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, and other commercial trucks can be extremely difficult to maneuver and therefore require a great deal of skill to operate, which is why truck drivers must hold a commercial driver’s license and be specially trained to drive a truck. Commercial trucks can also measure up to 75 feet in length and weigh more than 80,000 pounds, which makes them a force to be reckoned with on the roadway. The last thing you want is to be involved in a collision with a commercial truck, but no matter how careful you are to obey the speed limit and other traffic laws, you can’t control the actions of other drivers. Truck accidents in Phoenix can occur for many different reasons, but the majority of accidents are the result of truck driver negligence or poorly maintained vehicles. Some of the most common causes of Phoenix truck accidents are:
- Driver fatigue – Truck drivers typically spend long hours behind the wheel and are expected to meet tight deadlines, and that often means they avoid sleeping in order to stay on schedule. When truck drivers don’t get enough sleep, their reaction times are slower and they may even fall asleep behind the wheel, which puts them and everyone else on the road at risk.
- Driver distraction – Driving while distracted is one of the most common causes of car and truck accidents in Arizona and across the United States. When a truck driver takes his or her eyes off the road, even for a second, the risk of a serious accident occurring is automatically increased.
- Poor truck maintenance – Just like any other motor vehicle, commercial trucks require regular maintenance to run efficiently and safely. When trucking companies cut corners to save money and avoid maintaining their trucks, issues like worn out brakes or damaged tires can increase the risk of a devastating truck accident.
- Defective truck parts – Manufacturers of trucks and truck parts have a duty to produce safe, effective products and when a defective truck or truck part contributes to a commercial truck accident, the manufacturing company can be held accountable for the resulting injuries and losses.
- Inclement weather – Due to their sheer size and weight, large commercial trucks do not have the same stopping capability as smaller passenger vehicles. When a truck hits a patch of ice or encounters other hazardous road conditions, the driver may unexpectedly lose control of the vehicle and crash.
- Oversized loads – All commercial trucks have a certain maximum weight capacity, which is established to ensure the safe operation of the trucks on Phoenix roadways. When trucking companies or drivers overload their trucks, the trucks are more difficult to bring to a stop, which poses a risk to the truck driver and all other motorists. Improperly loaded trucks are also at risk for rollover accidents, which can be even more disastrous.
- Untrained drivers – Trucking companies are responsible for properly hiring, training and supervising their drivers, and when an inadequately trained or unqualified driver’s negligence contributes to a trucking accident, the driver and trucking company alike are liable for the injuries sustained by accident victims.
Phoenix Truck Accident Injuries
Commercial truck accidents occur more often than you might think, and these accidents can cause a great deal of damage. While some victims of trucking accidents are lucky enough to escape with only minor injuries, many are killed or sustain serious, life-changing injuries requiring long-term medical care. In 2016 alone, 4,440 large commercial vehicles were involved in accidents that resulted in fatalities, and more than half of these accidents involved at least two other vehicles, which means a greater number of accident victims. Some common injuries resulting from Phoenix trucking accidents include the following:
- Head injury
- Neck injury
- Back injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Severe lacerations
- Loss of limbs
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken bones
- Permanent disfigurement
What to Do After a Truck Accident
After any type of Phoenix truck accident, the very first thing you should do is seek proper medical attention, especially if there is any kind of emergency or concerns about personal injury to anyone involved in the accident. Even if it doesn’t seem like you have suffered any serious injuries in the truck accident, you should still see a doctor and document any injury or issue that appears to be related to the crash, no matter how minor. A key component of any truck accident claim is pursuing financial compensation for injuries, medical expenses, property damage, and other damages, and without a record of your injuries, you may have a hard time proving that you are eligible for recompense. Once you have been treated by a medical professional, your next course of action should be to consult an experienced Phoenix truck accident attorney to find out how best to proceed in holding the at-fault person or party accountable for your injuries and losses.
The Role of Negligence in a Phoenix Truck Accident
Being a commercial truck driver is not an easy job – it requires tedious driving on miles of highway and long hours behind the wheel – and one of the biggest concerns regarding truck drivers and the trucking industry, in general, is driver fatigue. Although the U.S. Department of Transportation has imposed federal regulations that limit the number of consecutive hours truck drivers are permitted to drive before taking a required rest or sleep break, truck drivers are often paid by the mile and there are certain incentives for drivers to violate these regulations, which increases the risk of accidents caused by driver fatigue. If you are injured or a loved one is killed in a Phoenix truck accident caused by truck driver fatigue or any other negligent or careless action on the part of the truck driver, trucking company or any other party, you have the right to hold the negligent party or parties accountable for your losses. In order to prove negligence in a Phoenix truck accident claim, you must establish the following four elements:
- Duty – The defendant (i.e. the truck driver, trucking company or negligent third party) had a duty to be reasonably careful;
- Breach of duty – The defendant breached this legal duty by failing to act in a reasonably careful manner;
- Causation – The defendant’s actions caused your injuries or property damage; and
- Damages – You suffered compensable damages as a result.
Accidents can happen to anyone and at any time, but when it comes to a Phoenix truck accident, negligence is preventable. Whatever the extent of the injuries or damages you incurred as a result of a trucking accident, you should not be made to suffer because of another person’s negligence.
Recovering Compensation for Truck Accident Injuries
You may think that if you are injured in a Phoenix truck accident, your insurance company or the at-fault party’s insurance company will compensate you fairly for your losses. Unfortunately, the truth is that insurance companies work for their own benefit, not yours, and will typically try to pay out as little as possible for personal injury claims. In many cases, the only way to recover adequate compensation after a truck accident is to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the person or party found at fault in the accident. The main goal of a truck accident lawsuit is to provide the injured victims with enough financial support to cover what was lost as a result of the accident, and with the help of an attorney, you can seek damages for things like pain and suffering and emotional trauma, as well as actual costs related to past and future medical bills, hospital stays, lost wages, property damage, and funeral expenses, among other damages.
Statute of Limitations for Truck Accident Claims
The state of Arizona has a two-year statute of limitations in place for truck accident claims, which means you only have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit or else lose your right to compensation. That being said, there are certain specific circumstances that can increase or decrease the time limit for filing a lawsuit in Phoenix. For instance, if a loved one dies from injuries sustained in the truck accident, the two-year time limit begins on the date of the individual’s death, rather than on the date of the accident. On the other hand, if the tractor-trailer involved in the accident is owned or operated by a government entity, you may actually have less time to pursue a claim – as little as 180 days.
How Our Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help
If you have suffered injuries in a trucking accident in Phoenix, you may be wondering whether you should hire a personal injury attorney and if you do hire an attorney, what he or she can do for you. When it comes to truck accidents and other motor vehicle accidents a good personal injury lawyer will do everything in his or her power to help you get the highest amount of compensation possible. At Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC, our knowledgeable legal team will investigate the scene of the accident, collect witness statements, examine the police report, gather evidence related to the accident and work with accident reconstruction experts to determine how the crash occurred. We will also negotiate with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement, or if an equitable negotiation isn’t possible, help you pursue adequate compensation in the form of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Hiring an attorney who works for your benefit is critical to the success of your case, especially if you are struggling with serious physical injuries or mental health issues stemming from your accident.
Consult Our Skilled Truck Accident Attorneys
The consequences of a Phoenix truck accident can be catastrophic for victimsand their loved ones and dealing with the physical, emotional and financial fallout of a big rig accident on your own can be extremely difficult, especially if you aren’t familiar with the legal process of filing a claim and pursuing compensation. By consulting a skilled attorney with extensive experience handling Phoenix truck accident claims, you can find out what course of action is best for your specific situation and how much your truck accident claim is actually worth. To learn more about your rights as a Phoenix truck accident victim and the legal options available to you, consult our lawyers at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC today.