Tucson Truck Accident Lawyer
Tucson Truck Accident Lawyer
Collisions with commercial trucks can be especially catastrophic. The Tucson truck accident lawyer team at Lamber Goodnow have years of experience fighting for the victims of truck accidents.
Trucking carriers must carry minimum liability amounts that are extremely high, and their insurance companies often fight claims quite aggressively because of the amounts that are involved.
Commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which may make it much more difficult for them to brake in time to avoid accidents. When they collide with passenger vehicles, substantial physical forces are released because of their sheer sizes and weights.
Truck accident statistics
In 2016, the Arizona Department of Transportation states that 11,991 commercial truck and bus crashes occurred, representing 4.85 percent of the total number of accidents. One hundred and two of these collisions were fatal and 2,880 resulted in injuries. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is responsible for regulating trucks at the federal level, 4,311 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2015, which was an increase of 8 percent over the number of fatal crashes in 2014. There were 87,000 injury accidents involving commercial trucks and buses in 2015 across the country. Many of these accidents result from the negligence of the drivers and the companies for whom they work.
“As a veteran commercial trucking accident attorney in Arizona, I’ve seen firsthand the profound impact these accidents can have on victims and their families. Our firm is steadfast in our commitment to represent the rights of these victims, secure the justice they are entitled to, and advocate for enhanced safety measures in the trucking industry to prevent further calamities on Arizona’s highways.”
What’s My Case Worth?
Experience that Counts
In your search for legal support, you’re not merely looking for an experienced lawyer. You deserve a legal team with deep-rooted expertise specifically in large truck accidents. Our Arizona team and our co-counsel firms are intimately familiar with the life-altering ramifications that stem from such incidents, and we’re prepared to battle for the financial restitution you’re entitled to. The pursuit of your claim can materialize in four ways:
- Trial verdict
The pathway best suited for you will hinge on the intricacies of your case. We prioritize understanding your situation by dedicating time to listen to every detail. This equips us to construct the most effective legal strategy to represent your interests.
FAQs: Truck Accidents Tucson
When commercial truck accidents happen in or around Tucson, Arizona, they frequently involve deaths or serious injuries.
Commercial trucks are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles and might carry flammable or hazardous materials. Because of the greater risks posed by commercial trucks in accidents, manufacturers, trucking carriers, and truck drivers are held to higher standards and more regulations than others. The tractor-trailer accident attorneys at Lamber Goodnow often receive many questions about these types of accidents from people in Tucson. Here are some of the frequently asked questions we receive to help you to evaluate your claim.
Q: What is a commercial truck?
A: A commercial truck is a type of heavy vehicle that is used to transport goods in the normal course of business. These trucks generally weigh much more than passenger vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates commercial trucks that have gross vehicle weights of 10,001 pounds or more. Combination trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds.
There are many different types of commercial trucks, including the following:
- Tanker trucks
- Dump trucks
- Cement trucks
- Delivery trucks
While some companies use pickup trucks for business activities, a commercial truck generally refers to much larger trucks that require drivers to hold commercial drivers’ licenses before they can operate them.
Q: Why do truck accidents frequently involve more serious injuries than other types of motor vehicle accidents?
A: As previously noted, commercial trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. By contrast, the average passenger car weighs around 3,500 pounds. When a commercial truck collides with a passenger vehicle, the large disparity in size and weight makes the physical forces involved much more powerful.
Commercial trucks also have much greater braking distances because of their weight and may not come to full stops in time to avoid accidents. Some trucks also transport hazardous materials that increase the dangers to others involved in accidents with them. For example, a tanker truck might haul flammable or explosive liquids that could cause injuries and explosions beyond those sustained in the collision itself.
The size differences, weight differences, braking distance differences, and hazardous loads all can make it likelier that passenger vehicle occupants will suffer catastrophic injuries or be killed in accidents involving commercial trucks. Because of these risks, trucking carriers are required to carry insurance policies with high liability limits to cover the losses of people who are seriously injured because of the negligence of truck drivers and trucking companies.
Q: Who might be liable in a truck accident case?
A: One difference between commercial truck accidents and other types of motor vehicle accidents is the number of parties that may be potentially liable. When determining fault in a truck accident case, the answer of liability may not be straightforward.
The determination of liability in a truck accident claim will depend on the facts of what happened. In some cases, multiple parties may be liable for causing an accident, including the following:
- Truck driver
- Trucking carrier
- Leasing company that owns the truck
- Third-party maintenance and repair companies
- Freight loader
- Manufacturer of defective parts
- Other motorists
- Entities responsible for maintaining the roads
Depending on what happened, several parties could share liability for your injuries and losses. The tractor-trailer accident attorneys at Lamber Goodnow can help to figure out what happened in your case so that all of the at-fault parties can be held accountable for the actions that led to your accident.
Q: How long will it take to resolve my truck accident claim?
A: A truck accident lawyer cannot give you a guarantee about how long it might take to settle your truck accident claim. Truck accident cases can take months or years to resolve, depending on whether they go to trial or settle out of court.
Most truck accident claims reach negotiated settlements because insurance companies understand that going to trial involves more risk and greater expense. It is in the best interests of the insurance company to settle your claim before going to trial.
Even if your claim ultimately ends up settling, you should expect that the negotiations will continue for a lengthy period. Getting an insurance company to understand the risks of a trial and offer a fair settlement will require an in-depth investigation. Truck accidents frequently involve substantial losses and high dollar amounts. For these reasons, many truck accident claims do not settle until right before the start of a trial.
Q: What are the blind spots around a commercial truck?
A: The blind spots around a commercial truck are commonly referred to as its “No-zone.” While most people are aware that trucks have larger blind spots than cars, they might not realize exactly how large these blind spots are.
The blind spots of a commercial truck extend on all four sides. On the left side of a large truck, the blind spot extends from the cab’s driver-side mirror across one lane of traffic. In the truck’s rear, a truck driver cannot see you if you are within 30 feet of the back of its trailer. A general rule of thumb is that you should not drive close enough to a truck that you cannot see the driver’s reflection in his or her side mirror.
Many motorists are unaware that trucks have blind spots in front of their vehicles. The front blind spot extends approximately 20 feet in front of the cab. This makes it important for you to give a truck plenty of room after passing before merging back into its lane. Finally, the blind spot on the truck’s right is the largest and extends across two full lanes of traffic. You should never try to pass a tractor-trailer on the right.
Q: What should I do immediately after a truck accident?
A: Immediately after a truck accident, there are several steps that you should take to protect your rights and your health. Call the police to report the accident and to summon help. You should always remain at the accident scene until the police arrive. While you are waiting, check yourself and others for injuries. Give first aid to anyone else who is injured and needs help.
If you can, take as many photographs as possible of the damage to the truck, the damage to your vehicle, and the entire accident scene. Make sure to get pictures of the weather and road conditions, nearby speed limit signs, and any traffic control devices that may have played a role in your accident. Take pictures of any visible injuries that you have or ask someone else to photograph your injuries for you.
Gather contact information for anyone who saw what happened, including their names, email addresses, phone numbers, and physical addresses. Finding independent witnesses can be important evidence to support your claim.
Finally, your biggest priority after your truck accident is to see a doctor. Some injuries can have a delayed onset of symptoms. If you wait to see your doctor, the insurance company might try to deny your claim by claiming your injuries were caused by an intervening or earlier event.
Q: What do I do if I am contacted by the trucking company's insurance provider?
A: The trucking carrier’s insurance company will likely contact you as soon as it learns about your accident and injuries. While the insurance adjuster might seem like he or she has your best interests at heart, you should remember that the adjuster works for the insurance company and not for you. His or her priorities will be to protect the insurance company’s bottom line by reducing the amount that it might have to pay to you for your claim.
You do not have an obligation to explain what happened to the trucking company’s insurance carrier. Do not agree to submit a recorded statement about what happened. You should also avoid signing a medical authorization to allow the company to access your medical records. Instead, you should politely tell the insurance company’s representative that you want to talk to an attorney after your trucking accident Tucson before you will talk or sign anything. The truck accident lawyers at Lamber Goodnow can handle the communication with the insurance company for you once you retain our firm.
Q: Can I recover anything if I shared fault for my trucking accident?
A: Arizona does not prevent plaintiffs from recovering compensation when they are partially at fault. If you are determined to be partly to blame, the judge or jury will decide the percentage of fault that you had. Any verdict that you receive will be reduced by the percentage of fault that is attributed to you.
For example, if your gross verdict is $800,000 when your fault is determined to be 30%, your net award will be reduced by 30% for a net recovery of $560,000. If multiple parties are determined to be liable, each responsible party will be responsible for its proportionate share of fault. This makes it very important to identify all of the parties that are potentially liable before you file your claim to help to ensure that you will recover all of the damages to which you should be entitled.
Arizona Large Truck Accident Stats From 2022
Large Truck Crashes Total
Large Truck Crashes With Deaths
Data from FMCSA – Large Truck Injury Facts – 2022
Commercial Truck Accident Stats in Tucson
In the realm of road safety, semi-truck accidents are a significant concern not only in Arizona but also across the entire United States. As per data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2022, Arizona reported a total of 2,868 large truck crashes. Of these, a tragic 156 resulted in fatalities.
In comparison, the national figures for the same year are considerably higher. The United States saw a total of 179,949 large truck accidents, leading to 5,236 deaths.
While these numbers are certainly alarming, it’s important to put them into perspective. Considering the national figures, Arizona’s stats represent roughly 1.6% of total large truck crashes and nearly 3% of those that resulted in fatalities across the country. This places Arizona somewhere in the middle of the pack when comparing state-by-state statistics.
However, even one life lost is one too many. Each statistic represents a disrupted life, a grieving family, or a survivor grappling with recovery. That’s why it’s crucial to focus on preventive measures, stricter safety regulations, and comprehensive legal support for accident victims to alleviate this issue.
Causes of large truck accidents
In its Large Truck Crash Causation Study, the FMCSA identified multiple causes of the collisions. It also found that truck driver factors accounted for 33 percent of the fatal crashes while passenger car driver factors accounted for 57 percent. Some of the most common causes of these accidents include the following:
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Driver inattention
- Driver distraction
- Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Obstructed view
- Driving while fatigued
- Improperly secured loads
- Failing to stay within a lane
- Careless or reckless driving
- Inadequately trained drivers
Other factors that contribute to accidents include slick roads and poorly maintained or defective truck parts. The Tucson truck accident attorneys at Lamber Goodnow may thoroughly investigate truck accident claims in order to determine all of the potential causes.
Common types of tractor-trailer crashes
There are several common types of tractor-trailer accidents that can occur. Commercial trucks have several large blind spots around them, and the drivers must rely on their side mirrors in order to see. Many accidents happen when truck drivers are unable to see cars behind or beside them and change lanes, colliding with the smaller vehicles.
Other common types of accidents occur when the trucks jackknife. In this type of accident, the rear of the truck swings out of the front tractor’s control. If the driver is unable to regain control of the trailer, then the whole truck can go out of control. Jackknifing often happens when the brakes are suddenly applied.
Some accidents happen when smaller vehicles go underneath the back or side of the large trucks. These collisions are called underride collisions, and they may shear off the top part of the smaller vehicles and cause fatalities. Tire blowouts can cause the large trucks to go out of control, and they may also cause accidents to vehicles around them when the debris hits their windshields.
Trucks may also turn over when they are speeding, are driving in high winds or when they have loads that shift. When trucks overturn, other vehicles may crash into them.
Trucking regulations and laws
In order to help reduce the number of accidents that may be caused by drowsiness, the FMCSA has hours-of-service rules in place for commercial trucks that weigh more than 10,000 pounds. The following rules apply to commercial drivers of trucks that carry property:
- Drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after they have had 10 consecutive hours off.
- Drivers may not drive beyond the 14th hour after they have come on duty following a 10-hour off period.
- Drivers may not driver after 60 hours in 7 days or 70 hours in 8 days and must take at least 34 hours off before restarting.
- Drivers who use sleeper births must take eight hours in their berths along with an additional two hours off duty or in their births.
Drivers must keep logbooks that they must produce for inspection when asked. Because of problems with drivers manipulating their logbooks, the FMCSA passed the ELD mandate, which is a new rule that will go into effect at the end of 2017. It will track all of the miles and hours that are driven electronically in order to prevent logbook fraud.
Commercial Truck Liability and Insurance Information
There are multiple parties that might be liable in large truck crashes, including the following:
- The truck driver
- The truck driver’s employer
- The company that leased the truck from its owner
- The manufacturer of any defective parts
- The loading or shipping company in cases involving improper loading
Navigating liability and insurance coverage is often a complex process following a semi-truck accident. Such incidents can result in considerable property damage, severe injuries, or even death, making understanding the intricate dynamics of responsibility and compensation crucial.
Multiple parties can bear liability in semi-truck accidents. This list includes the truck driver, the truck driver’s employer, the company that leased the truck, the manufacturer of any defective parts, and the loading or shipping company in cases of improper loading. This multi-faceted liability results from the interconnected nature of the commercial trucking industry.
The employers of truck drivers, for instance, may be held accountable for accidents caused by their drivers’ negligence under the principle of respondeat superior, a Latin phrase that translates to “let the master answer for the servant.” This principle suggests that employers may be held liable for the actions of their employees in the course of their work.
In situations where multiple parties are at fault, the jury typically determines the percentage of fault each party holds. Each defendant is then responsible for paying their respective portion of the damages. If the plaintiff is also found to be at fault, their award can be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to them.
Insurance plays a vital role in these situations. Commercial trucks are required by federal law to carry significantly higher liability insurance coverage compared to regular vehicles due to the potential for more substantial damages. This insurance can provide compensation for victims’ medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering.
However, dealing with insurance companies, particularly those covering commercial vehicles, can be challenging. They often aim to limit their financial liability and may dispute claims or offer lower settlements. This makes it all the more essential to have experienced legal representation to negotiate and ensure fair compensation.
In the aftermath of a semi-truck accident, understanding and navigating liability and insurance is a complex but necessary process. Legal guidance can help victims navigate these waters, securing the rightful compensation they deserve for their losses.
Damages in large truck accidents
The damages that might be available in crashes involving large trucks will depend on the facts of the case, the extent of the injuries and the amount of the losses. Damages are divided into two categories, including special damages and general damages. Special damages include the economic losses that people might suffer, including past and future medical losses, past and future income losses and property losses. General damages include noneconomic losses, including pain and suffering, disfigurement, emotional distress and others. In cases involving wrongful deaths, the families may also recover funeral and burial costs, lost inheritance rights and losses of consortium for the spouses.
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