In 2015, over 4,335 individuals died in traffic collisions involving large commercial trucks or buses. Big rig trucks, 18-wheelers, and other types of commercial trucks with tractor trailers are the heaviest vehicles on Nebraska streets and highways. It’s no wonder that fatalities often result from truck accidents that happen here and across the nation.
Here in Nebraska, we see many 18-wheeler accidents on major highways. These massive trucks carry goods across the state and to other parts of the U.S. When an accident occurs between a big rig filled to the brim with cargo and a passenger vehicle, the aftermath is always the most devastating for the driver and any passengers inside the smaller, lighter vehicle. Catastrophic injuries and wrongful deaths are often the result.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a commercial truck accident, you should know that you may have legal options. Depending on the cause of the accident and the circumstances of the settlement that is offered to you, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the truck driver, the truck carrier, or the manufacturer of the 18-wheeler. Devastating truck accidents that are caused by negligence, reckless actions, or wrongful behaviors come with consequences.
To find out if filing a truck accident claim is in the best interest for you and your family, you need help from an Omaha, NE truck accident lawyer. First, let’s go over some of the facts about these tragic accidents and why they happen.
Common Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents in Nebraska
In 2007, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released a detailed document highlighting the most common factors for commercial truck accidents and what percentage of total accidents were caused by those factors. Here are the top 15 causes for commercial trucking accidents per data from that document:
- Brake issues (accounting for 29% of all truck accidents) – It’s up to trucking corporations and manufacturers to properly maintain brakes as well as install the latest brake technology. Quite frequently, however, this doesn’t happen.
- Driving too fast (accounting for 23% of all truck accidents) – At high speeds, a large big rig has issues stopping or turning in time if it needs to. This can lead to an accident.
- Driver inexperience/unfamiliarity with route (accounting for 22% of all truck accidents) – Better training and routing procedures can help avoid this.
- Roadway hazards – (accounting for 20% of all truck accidents) – Roadway hazards are often unavoidable for large trucks.
- Over-the-counter drug use (accounting for 17% of all truck accidents) – Truck drivers often take over-the-counter stimulants or drugs to stay awake for longer hours. Stricter guidelines that force drivers to take a break when they are tired or not feeling well can help avoid this.
- Inadequate surveillance (accounting for 14% of all truck accidents) – When a truck driver can’t see a smaller passenger vehicle alongside the truck, they may cause an accident. Proper tracking tools could help drivers avoid accidents.
- Fatigue (accounting for 13% of all truck accidents) – When a truck driver is overtired, they may fall asleep behind the wheel and cause a disastrous accident. Even while awake, fatigue can cause lapses in judgement.
- Under pressure from carrier (accounting for 10% of all truck accidents) – When a commercial truck driver is under pressure from their employer to reach a certain checkpoint before stopping, they may drive recklessly or faster than they normally would. This is a case of trucking industry negligence.
- Illegal maneuvers (accounting for 9% of all truck accidents) – Truck drivers sometimes fail to obey the rules of traffic. When they do, they are more likely to cause a dangerous crash.
- Inattention (accounting for 9% of all truck accidents) – Failing to pay attention to the road causes more accidents than many believe. One second of being distracted can cause a crash.
- External distractions (accounting for 8% of all truck accidents) – As mentioned above, one second of being distracted by a phone call, a text message, or glancing at a social media feed can lead to a crash.
- Tire issues (accounting for 6% of all truck accidents) – Big rig tires are supposed to be built to last, but they are often made cheaply and not well-maintained. This can spell disaster on a busy highway.
- Following too closely (accounting for 5% of all truck accidents) – When a truck driver follows traffic too closely, they may find it hard to stop in time if they need to. This is a case of driver negligence.
- Jackknifing (accounting for 5% of all truck accidents) – A large commercial truck with a tractor trailer can jackknife if the truck is moving at high speeds and needs to make a sudden turn. This can lead to an accident since the truck’s trailer will swing out to one side without warning.
- Cargo shift (accounting for 4% of all truck accidents) – When trucks are filled to maximum capacity with cargo, they’re subject to cargo shifts, potentially causing the truck to topple over in heavy windstorms.
Most of the above factors are at least partially preventable. Many are fully preventable with stricter trucking corporation and driver guidelines in place as well as proper truck maintenance. Many of America’s largest trucking companies do not install the latest technology in their commercial trucks. Better tracking devices, driver surveillance/GPS options, power brakes, and tires would go a long way to helping curb devastating truck accidents.
Get Legal Help from an Omaha Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a truck accident involving a commercial 18-wheeler, big rig, or tractor trailer, you may find it difficult to get the financial compensation your family needs to recover. Trucking corporation insurance adjustors will do everything they can to get you to settle for less money than you deserve. Your injuries and suffering are worth more than the amount they’re offering.
Contact Welsh & Welsh to be paired with an Omaha, NE truck accident lawyer who can not only help you fight against these adjustors, but can ensure you get the compensation you need and deserve. Truck corporations need to work harder to prevent tragic crashes. By filing a lawsuit against these corporations, you can send them a message stating that the safety of individuals must be prioritized over profit. Contact our law office to learn more or receive a free case consultation.