There is little question that large truck accidents have the potential to cause catastrophic injury and harm. While most trucks are operated safely, because of their size and cargo, when a truck is involved in a Virginia trucking accident, the occupants of the other involved vehicles are far more likely than the truck driver to be permanently injured or even killed. Unfortunately, however, the true cause of a truck accident is not always immediately apparent.
If you have been injured in a large truck crash in Virginia, it is important to work with a qualified Virginia personal injury lawyer who can help you determine how the accident happened and the party or parties that should be held liable. Establishing liability is the first step toward securing full compensation under Virginia law.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can occur for a number of reasons. According to federal estimates, some of the most common causes of large truck crashes include but are not limited to:
- Driver fatigue: Truck drivers spend many consecutive hours on the road at a time, and tired drivers are prone to making mistakes behind the wheel.
- Driver distractions: Cell phones, in-cab information systems, and even just eating or drinking can cause a driver to become distracted and take their attention away from the road.
- Excessive speed: Driving too fast for the specific conditions can be deadly, as trucks can take quite a long time to slow down and stop to avoid a crash.
- Improperly loaded or secured cargo: Cargo that is not loaded or secured properly can come loose and drop to the roadway or shift inside the trailer—both of which can easily lead to an accident.
- Substandard maintenance on the truck or trailer: Poor upkeep or defective truck parts can cause a crash when a part of the truck fails while on the road.
While some of these causes are the responsibility of the truck driver, the company that employs the driver or owns the truck could also be responsible for the conditions that lead to truck accidents. Before the exact cause can be determined, an experienced truck accident lawyer should evaluate the situation in question.
Trucking Company Responsibility
A trucking company may be fully or partially responsible for a truck accident. Some common ways trucking companies contribute to the increased risk of an accident include:
- Encouraging drivers to ignore federal rest rules, or looking the other way in favor of meeting deadlines
- Failing to follow safety protocols when loading the truck
- Loading a truck in excess of known axle limits or road weight limits
- Hiring drivers with poor safety records
- Failure to properly maintain the brakes, lights, and tires of the truck
Why It Matters
Under Virginia law, when someone’s negligent actions cause you an injury, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries. When an employee of a trucking company injures you, you may seek compensation from the company. In many cases, the trucking company’s insurance carrier is likely to offer a settlement for the damages caused by the driver. However, that compensation may not be enough to pay for all of your losses. In such a case, it may be necessary to take your case into the courtroom, and our team is equipped to help you do so.
When the company itself has a pattern and practice of acting negligently, you may also be able to seek additional damages. In some cases, you may be able to seek punitive damages from the trucking company. These damages are designed to do more than just compensate you. They are also designed to punish the company and encourage the trucking company, and others in the industry, to pay more attention to safety. Punitive damages are not available in every case.
A Virginia Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
Understanding the true causes of a truck accident and knowing who is responsible can have a big impact on the amount you are able to recover in a personal injury claim. If you were injured in a Virginia truck accident, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable Virginia truck crash injury lawyer at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. We pledge to do everything we can to get you full compensation under the law, just as we did in securing a $2.4 million wrongful death settlement for the family of a Virginia man who was killed when a large truck rear-ended his car, causing it to flip over. Call (833) 997-1774 and talk to a lawyer right now.