Tractor-trailers are a crucial part of the American economy, but it’s important to recognize the inherent dangers these large vehicles present. Trucking companies have a legal duty to ensure their drivers receive proper training and their fleet vehicles are in acceptable condition before venturing out on the road. Companies that manufacture parts for tractor-trailers must ensure the highest levels of quality to avoid defects causing serious accidents. Truck drivers need to meet their deadlines without engaging in reckless or irresponsible behaviors such as substance abuse or driving while fatigued.
Whenever truck drivers, trucking companies, or parts manufacturers fail in these obligations, they can incur liability for any damages that result. Any car accident can have disastrous or even fatal consequences, but those involving tractor-trailers are far more likely to have deadly results and involve multiple victims. Anyone injured in a trucking accident in Scottsdale or anywhere else in Arizona should have some idea of their legal options.
Assessing Fault in Trucking Accidents
Tractor-trailer accidents happen for various reasons. Some of the most common include:
- Driver errors. Truck drivers have demanding jobs. When they choose to drive for too long without adequate rest or use alcohol or other drugs to combat stress and fatigue, they create an incredibly dangerous situation for themselves and all the other drivers around them. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration upholds various guidelines covering acceptable hours of service, rest periods, and other requirements. Failing to adhere to these regulations can leave drivers liable for the damages they cause.
- Aggressive driving. Trucks aren’t as maneuverable as smaller cars and have larger blind spots, so aggressive driving is especially dangerous around tractor-trailers. Additionally, truck drivers who drive aggressively or at excessive speeds can easily cause accidents.
- Poor truck maintenance. Trucking companies must ensure their vehicles are fit for service before every trip. Tractor-trailers drive for long periods at a time and more frequently than most other vehicles, and therefore require more extensive regular maintenance. If a trucking company fails to perform this maintenance, they can incur liability for any resulting damages.
- Defective truck parts. Parts manufacturers must ensure their products perform as advertised and are safe and effective when used as intended. Whenever a part manufacturer becomes aware of a defect they must take appropriate action to limit potential damages. If a defective product causes an accident, any injured victims can pursue compensation through product liability claims against the manufacturer.
- Road hazards. Trucks cannot turn as sharply or slow down as quickly as smaller vehicles and are therefore more susceptible to hitting road hazards such as tree branches, shredded tire pieces, and other debris.
- Imbalanced cargo. Tractor-trailers have higher centers of gravity due to their higher profiles, so all cargo must be secured properly. Special cargo such as concrete pipes, lumber, construction equipment, or smaller vehicles require specialized security measures. An imbalanced load can cause a tip-over during a sharp turn and leave trucks more vulnerable to rollovers.
Know Your Rights
After a trucking accident, injured victims may have many questions about what to do next and what options for legal recourse may be available. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries and other damages from a tractor-trailer accident in Scottsdale or anywhere else in Arizona, it’s important to find the right lawyer to help you navigate your claim.
Bode & Collins has built a strong reputation of success in various practice areas, and we use the full range of our resources and experience in every case we take. Contact us today if you would like to schedule a consultation about your trucking accident. We’ll review the details of your situation and let you know how we can help.