Causes of Palmdale Truck Accidents
Accidents involving semi-tractor trailers (semi-trucks, eighteen-wheelers) and other large trucks are harrowing and often fatal. When a truck collides with a passenger car, or jackknifes and takes over an entire freeway, it’s likely to be the people outside of the truck who suffer the most. Depending on the circumstances leading to the accident, any number of parties could be legally to blame. Below, we discuss the most common causes of trucking accidents and who may be held liable for the resulting injuries and other damages. Call a dedicated Palmdale traffic accident lawyer if you or a loved one has been hurt in a serious truck crash in the Antelope Valley.
Truck Driver Error
Many accidents involving large trucks are caused by mistakes or intentional, unsafe acts committed by truck drivers. Truckers are exposed to long, punishing hours and often face multiple days on the road without proper rest. Hours of service regulations restrict the number of hours truckers can operate on a given day, in a given week, or in between appropriate rest breaks, but truckers (and their employers) might ignore these regulations in order to make more deliveries. Truck accidents often occur as a result of driver fatigue, as well as due to other negligent acts, including:
- Driving while intoxicated, either by alcohol or drugs
- Speeding and other aggressive driving maneuvers
- Driving an unbalanced or overloaded haul
- Failing to adjust to inclement weather
- Ignoring construction and other road hazards
Maintenance and Safety Issues
Many truck accidents might have been avoided if both the truck drivers and the freight companies that employ them had followed all appropriate safety precautions. When a truck accident results from poor decisions at the management level, the driver and their employer may be directly liable for the damage caused. Common causes of truck accidents originating from the company level include:
- Failure to update safety equipment with the latest technology
- Failure to conduct regular maintenance on trucks in the fleet
- Purchasing used or outdated parts
- Failure to conduct proper training and supervision of truck drivers
- Hiring inexperienced or unqualified truck drivers
- Encouraging or turning a blind eye to hours of service violations
Passenger Vehicle Driver Errors
It’s not always the fault of the trucker or the freight company when there’s a truck accident. Passenger vehicle drivers who skirt driving safety precautions can just as easily cause an accident. Often, drivers on a freeway will try to bypass large trucks out of frustration or otherwise to avoid getting stuck behind them for an extended period. Aggressive driving maneuvers can lead to truck crashes because large trucks lack the quick maneuverability and range of visibility of other vehicles.
Drivers who engage in the following unsafe behaviors commonly wind up causing truck-car accidents:
- Passing on the right or the shoulder
- Changing lanes abruptly in front of a truck
- Driving in the truck’s blind spots
- Pulling into traffic or onto the freeway just ahead of a truck
- Driving between large trucks
- Failing to slow down or speed up appropriately as a truck merges
- Passing from the oncoming traffic lane without sufficient space
Vehicle Manufacturers and Other Parties
In addition to the truckers, the freight companies, and other drivers, there may be other parties to blame after a truck accident. If a third-party contractor or other business partner failed to load the truck bed properly, the unbalanced or overloaded haul can cause an accident. If the manufacturer of the truck, the truck’s various parts and equipment, or the passenger vehicle allowed a defective product to be distributed, then the manufacturer may be liable for the accident. Even the government can be partially to blame if an accident resulted from poor highway design or a defective road. A knowledgeable and thorough car accident attorney can investigate the circumstances of your truck accident to find out who was truly at fault for your crash.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a truck accident in Southern California, talk to a passionate and effective Palmdale traffic crash attorney about pursuing a claim for damages by calling the Kistler Law Firm at 661-206-6990.