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Accidents involving large trucks often result in much more severe injuries and fatalities than those involving other types of vehicles. If you have suffered serious injuries or have lost a close family member in a truck accident, a Chandler truck accident lawyer at Lamber Goodnow will work hard to recover the compensation to which you are entitled. Our attorneys understand how to build strong cases for our clients that clearly show the liability of the truck drivers and other responsible parties so that we are much likelier to recover full compensation to pay for all of our clients’ losses.
The Chandler attorneys at Lamber Goodnow have substantial resources, legal knowledge, and litigation skills, and they use them to fight for the rights of people and their families when they have been injured in truck accidents because of the negligent actions of others. We are prepared to invest in accident investigations when needed and do not charge any legal fees until and unless we recover monetary compensation through settlements or verdicts. Contact Lamber Goodnow today to learn how we can fight for your rights.
Truck Accident Causes
To investigate the causes of truck accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted the Large Truck Crash Causation Study. Researchers reviewed data from 120,000 large truck crashes and found that 87% were caused by driver errors and negligence.
The FMCSA identified all of the following types of driver negligence that led to truck crashes:
- Distracted driving
- Inattentive driving
- Poor surveillance
- Misjuding the speed of travel of other vehicles
- Poor control of the truck’s direction
- Drowsy driving
- Drugged or drunk driving
- Medical problems
- Fatigued driving
- Illegal maneuvers
- Lack of familiarity with the roads
The FMCSA also identified some issues that were unrelated to the driver, including road and weather conditions and poor maintenance of the trucks.
FMCSA Regulations for Trucks
The FMCSA is the federal agency that creates and enforces regulations for the U.S. trucking industry. The agency has enacted numerous regulations that are designed to increase the safety of the transportation industry and prevent accidents. Most of the regulations that govern truck drivers can be found in 49 CFR Part 383.
The following requirements for truck drivers are found in Part 383:
• Drivers are not allowed to drive for more than 11 hours out of 14 working hours per day. Once they do, they must have at least 10 hours in a row off from work before they can work or drive again.
• Drivers are not allowed to drive after they work for 60 hours during a workweek for seven days in a row or 70 hours in eight days in a row. The driver must then have at least 34 hours off from work before they can restart the seven- or eight-day work cycle.
• Drivers are only allowed to carry a single driver’s license from their states. This license is a commercial driver’s license and can only be issued once the driver has passed knowledge and skills tests. Those who want to transport hazardous materials must take and pass additional tests to get Hazmat endorsements.
• Drivers must take and pass physical exams every two years to continue working as commercial truck drivers.
• Drivers can’t carry alcohol in their truck cabs and can’t drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02% or higher.
• Drivers must have electronic logging devices (ELDs) installed in their trucks to record the hours they spend behind the wheel.
• Drivers must adhere to all of the loading and load securement rules.
• Trucks should display critical information, including their DOT numbers, Hazmat markings, and others.
Trucking carriers and drivers must also follow numerous other regulations, including unfit driver regulations, safety regulations, driver disqualification regulations, and more.
Statistics: Arizona Truck Collisions
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) reports that 10,713 trucking accidents happened in 2020 in the state. Out of the total accidents, 2,423 resulted in injuries, and 105 resulted in fatalities. Arizona has state laws that apply to commercial trucks operating within the state to try to address the dangers of truck collisions.
Trucking companies and drivers must follow both state and federal trucking regulations and laws. Some of the state laws that apply to trucking carriers and drivers include rules about the maximum times per day drivers can drive, maximum truck sizes and load weights, quality control, commercial licensing, and others.
Important Arizona Laws
A few of the most important Arizona laws that govern trucking are listed below.
Under ARS § 28-709, truck drivers who drive the following commercial trucks can’t drive faster than 65 mph unless the state has posted a higher or lower maximum speed limit:
- Trucks or truck combinations having gross weights of more than 26,000 pounds except for vehicles that are designed to carry 16 + passengers
- Trucks pulling pole trailers that weight 6,000 or more pounds
Under ARS § 28-1095(c), Arizona has established the following maximum length rules for trucks and truck combinations:
- Combination of tractors and semitrailers and combinations of tractors, semitrailers, and forklifts – maximum of 57.5 feet
- Combination of truck tractors and semitrailer/trailers- maximum of 28.5 feet
- Cominations of trucks and trailers- maximum of 28.5 feet
- If the length of a semitrailer is more than 53 feet, the total length of the combined tractor and semitrailer can’t be more than 65 feet on the highways in Arizona.
However, there is an exception for combinations traveling on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s designated national truck route. State and local authorities must consider hazards when they designate streets.
- Combination of a vehicle transporter and a semitrailer – maximum of 75 feet
You can visit the Arizona Department of Transportation’s website or call (602) 712-8851 to learn more about the trucking and licensing regulations in Arizona.
Defendants in a Truck Collision Lawsuit
Truck accidents are generally much more severe than other types of accidents and might be caused by multiple factors and defendants. This makes these types of cases more complex than other car accident claims. Some of the potentially liable parties in a truck collision include the following:
- Truck driver
- Truck company
- Shipping company
- Truck or trailer owner
- Third-party repair facility
- Defective truck part manufacturer, designer, distributor, and retailer
- Entities (private or public) responsible for road maintenance
Trucking companies that employ truck drivers might be vicariously liable for accidents when their drivers negligently cause accidents while they are working. If you are injured in a truck accident with a driver who is an employee of the trucking company, the company might be responsible for paying compensation to you because of the actions of its driver. Trucking companies must carry liability insurance in much higher amounts than the policies required for individuals.
Many trucking carriers hire drivers as independent contractors. A truck company will not be vicariously liable for an independent contractor’s negligence because of the absence of an employer-employee relationship. Even if you learn that the driver in your case was an independent contractor, the company might still hold direct liability if it negligently hired, supervised, or retained the driver. A Chandler truck accident attorney at Lamber Goodnow will also investigate to determine whether the driver might have been misclassified by the trucking company. If the driver should have been classified as an employee instead of an independent contractor, the company might still be vicariously liable.
How We Investigate Truck Accidents
Truck accident claims are typically complex due to the number of potential defendants, laws, regulations, and other factors. These factors make an in-depth investigation important. Some trucking carriers also might try to destroy evidence to try to evade responsibility. A Chandler truck accident lawyer at Lamber Goodnow understands how important it is to work quickly to prevent critical evidence from being lost or spoliated. Your lawyer will send a preservation letter to the company to tell it to preserve important evidence. We also work with investigators and experts to help us understand all of the factors that caused truck accidents. The following types of evidence might need to be gathered in a truck accident claim:
- ELD logs
- Data from the truck’s black box
- Maintenance and repair logs
- Training manuals and procedures
- Background of the driver
- The driver’s personnel records
- Truck’s capacity and load securement records
- Indicators of driver fatigue, distraction, or drowsiness
We investigate all aspects of truck accidents to help us identify all of the potentially liable parties we should name as defendants.
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FAQs: Chandler Truck Accidents
Truck accident victims and the surviving family members of those who are killed often have questions about their legal rights. The attorneys at Lamber Goodnow have compiled some of the most common questions we are asked about truck accidents below.
Q: Is There a Deadline for Filing a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
A: Every state has enacted statutes of limitations, which establish deadlines for filing various types of legal actions. The personal injury statute of limitations applies to truck accidents involving injuries and is found at ARS § 12-542. Under this law, you must file a truck accident lawsuit no later than two years after the date of your accident. If you fail to meet the deadline, you won’t be able to pursue compensation through a lawsuit.
The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is also found in Section 12-542. If you want to file a lawsuit because of your loved one’s wrongful death in a truck accident, you must file your claim no later than two years after your loved one’s death.
A different rule applies if the truck driver was employed by a local or state government agency. For example, if you were struck by a city truck, your claim would be against the City of Chandler. Cases against governmental agencies must be filed no later than six months from the date of the accident under the Arizona Tort Claims Act.
Q: What if I Was Partially at Fault?
A: Under ARS § 12-2505, Arizona has a pure comparative negligence system. This approach means that everyone is responsible for their degree of negligence in an accident. Being partially at fault for a truck collision will not bar you from recovering compensation. However, your percentage of fault will be applied to your damages award and reduce what you receive. For example, if a jury calculates your damages at $1 million but also finds that you were 30% at fault, your net verdict will be $700,000.
Trucking companies and their insurers often argue that the other involved motorists were at least partially to blame for their accidents to try to reduce the total amount they might have to pay. Your attorney will carefully review the evidence and build the strongest possible case showing that the truck driver and others were at fault instead of you.
Q: What Is an ELD?
A: The government enacted the ELD rule, which mandates trucking companies to install electronic logging devices (ELDs) in their trucks. These devices record important information about the drivers and trucks, including all of the hours during which the driver is behind the wheel, the speeds at which they drive, and other critical information. The devices transmit this information back to the trucking carriers, which are supposed to retain the information. However, some carriers might try to destroy ELD data following collisions. An attorney can file a motion to preserve evidence and send a preservation letter to the trucking carrier to prevent it from destroying ELD data.
Q: When Should I Contact a Lawyer?
A: Some truck accident victims try to handle their claims on their own. You might think that a truck accident claim should be straightforward, especially when you believe the driver was clearly at fault. However, truck companies and their insurers aggressively litigate against accident claims. They might employ many different tactics to try to avoid paying compensation to you. To prevent yourself from making mistakes and the company from destroying evidence, the best time to contact an attorney at Lamber Goodnow is as soon as possible after your collision. Our attorneys can immediately start investigating your case to find and preserve critical evidence to support your claim. We can also handle all of the negotiations with the defendants for you so that you can work on recovering from your injuries.
Q: What Is My Case Worth?
A: There isn’t a specific amount that a wrongful death case might be worth. This means that if you call a law firm and ask how much you might expect to recover, the attorney won’t be able to give you an answer without analyzing the facts and evidence. The value of a wrongful death claim will depend on the unique facts and circumstances of your case, including how old the victim was, their career and earning capacity, the defendant’s degree of culpability, available insurance policies, and more. Your attorney at Lamber Goodnow can analyze the facts of your case and give you a range of values within which a fair settlement offer might fall.
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