Commercial vehicles go by many names, semis, tractor-trailers, flatbed, 18-wheelers. However, one common feature they all share is that when they are involved in an accident there is a much higher risk that there are going to be severe injuries.
To schedule a private, no-cost evaluation, call the law offices of Reiff Law Firm’s The Truck Accident Team at (215) 246-9000 or contact us online. If the statute of limitations expires, your window of legal opportunity will close and you won’t be able to pursue a claim. So contact us today to see how we can make our experience work for you. You only pay if there’s a financial recovery.
Common Reasons for Truck Accidents
The Large-Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) gathered data from 2,284 vehicles that were involved in a total of 1,070 crashes. In their report, the LTCCS distinguished between a critical event and critical reason. Critical events which are defined as the event or events that lead immediately to the crash. A critical event is an action or event that occurred that made the crash unavoidable. Out of the 240,000 vehicles that were involved in the LTCCS, the critical reason was coded for only the 119,000 vehicles that were coded for a critical event. Some of the critical events that the Large Truck Causation Study noted were:
- Sleeping drivers
- Heart attacks
- Driver recognition factors including
- Internal distractions
- Inadequate surveillance
- Driving too fast for the conditions
- Driving too slow for the conditions
- Misjudgment in the distance between drivers.
While studies have been pointing to a decreasing number of accidents involving tractor-trailers are still common. In addition to the accidents that can cause injury to people, trucks pose a danger to the environment as well.
This past winter, a hazmat team was sent to the Allegheny River in Armstrong County because a tractor-trailer rolled over and spilled its contents into the river. This truck was hauling mineral oil, and spilled into the river because the driver lost control of his vehicle and his truck rolled onto its side. This shows that accidents are not just reserved for fender benders but can have a real impact on the environment.
There are dozens of categories of accidents. The Large Truck Crash Causation study highlighted the following as leading types of general accidents for tractor trailers
Rear end accidents – these types of accidents are more common in crowded and congested areas where there is a lot of stops and go traffic. However, considering the distance that it can take a truck to come to a complete stop these accidents are actually rather common in all areas.
- Head on accidents – head on accidents are some of the most dangerous accidents because they usually involve a high rate of speed where the driver of either the car or the tractor-trailer drives across the center line and strikes the oncoming vehicle.
- Turn across path – These accidents often occur at intersections where the driver of the vehicle is making a turn or going straight and they collide with the tractor-trailer.
- Same Trafficway Opposite Directions – Sideswipe/Angle – these accidents happen when the drivers are both driving the same direction but going in opposite directions and one car strikes the other while passing. These accidents tend to not be as severe as those from head on accidents because often the smaller car is pushed away from the other vehicle. However, this can cause the vehicle to strike other vehicles and or debris on the side of the road.
- Left Roadside Departure – when a tractor-trailer driver is not paying close enough attention they may let their vehicle drift and this can cause them to depart the road on the left-hand side.
There are dozens of reasons why a tractor trailer may be involved in an accident and these go well beyond what we would expect in addition to the dangers of the road itself, there are factors such as physical demands, driver recognition, driver performance, and vehicle-related factors, all of which can lead to an accident.
Crashes, where people were fatally injured, were more likely to be three-or-more-vehicle crashes, compared to crashes where no one was fatally injured. Thirty-two percent of fatal large truck crashes involved three or more vehicles and over three-fifths of these crashes had a large truck in the first harmful event.
How Long do you have to File a Case
After an accident where you have sustained an injury the best thing you can do is to contact an attorney who will be able to guide you through the process of filing a personal injury claim. The reason why it is important to contact an attorney as quickly as possible is because you do not have an unlimited amount of time to file your case. In each state, there are laws and rules of court which are known as statutes of limitations. These statutes function as a time stamp on your case. In the event that you have suffered a personal injury then you will have two years to file your case from the date of your accident. The statute begins to run at the time the plaintiff knows or should have known about their injury that was caused by another’s conduct. If you do not file your case within the proper amount of time, then you will be barred from filing your case, unless the court has an adequate reason to extend the statute.
If you have been injured in a truck accident and now find yourself with medical bills and more questions then contact the lawyers of Reiff Law Firm’s The Truck Accident Team today. To schedule a free and confidential legal consultation call (215) 246-9000 or contact us online today.