Critical Events and Critical Reasons in Virginia Truck Accidents

According to statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are approximately 450,000 police-reported truck accidents each year. In about 345,000 of these accidents, at least one victim suffers a personal injury. Tragically, due to the massive size and weight of tractor-trailers and semi-trucks, the injury or death is often in victims who are in the other vehicle or vehicles and not the occupant(s) in the truck.

Any victim who has sustained injuries in a truck accident should consult with a Virginia truck accident attorney to find out what type of legal compensation they may be entitled to for the losses their injuries have caused. Call the office of Shapiro, Appleton and Washburn for details. In the meantime, the following is a brief overview of truck accident cases.




Critical Events

According to studies conducted by the FMCSA, there are many factors that can make a truck accident unavoidable. These factors are referred to as critical events. The most common critical events identified by the FMSA are:

  1. Driving the truck out of the travel lane it is in
  2. Losing control of the truck because of systems failure, shifting cargo, or speeding
  3. Hitting the back of another vehicle which is in the same lane of the truck

Critical Reason

The critical reason is the immediate explanation for the critical event. In the majority of truck crashes, the critical event was a result of an action or behavior by the truck driver. Common critical reasons that cause critical events in truck accidents are tailgating and speeding. The FMSCA has four categories of critical reasons:

  • Decision: The truck driver misjudges a situation. An example is misjudging how much space there is between their truck and the vehicle in front of them.
  • Non-Performance: The driver engages in behavior or action that renders no performance of the vehicle. A medical event, such as a heart attack or stroke, or falling asleep while driving are examples of non-performance critical reasons.
  • Performance: The driver may be responsible for failing to perform, such as an inexperienced driver panicking, or it can be a mechanical issue
  • Recognition: A recognition critical reason is failure of the driver to focus on the road, such as distracted driving

The FMCSA concluded that the most common critical reasons causing truck accidents are:

  1. Issues with truck brakes
  2. Drug use by the truck driver, including illicit, over-the-counter, and prescription medications
  3. Driver fatigue
  4. Heavy traffic
  5. Road problems
  6. Speeding or driving at speeds not appropriate for road or weather conditions

Contact a Virginia Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a tractor-trailer crash, contact a skilled Virginia truck accident attorney to find out what your legal options may be against the at-fault party or parties responsible for the accident. Truck accidents often involve claims against multiple parties and can be more complex than other types of vehicle accident claims. The legal team from Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn has successfully represented many clients who were truck accident victims and will aggressively fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 800-752-0042 for a free case evaluation.