The most common cause of fatal truck accidents is driver error. Commercial truck drivers are often under intense pressure to meet delivery deadlines and may be driving for long periods without taking breaks. This can lead to fatigue and reckless behavior. Some of the most common causes include:
- Driver fatigue. Fatigue can impair a driver's ability to react quickly and make safe decisions. A tired trucker can fall asleep at the wheel and cause a deadly wreck.
- Distracted driving. Truck drivers may be distracted by things like cell phones, food, or other activities. It only takes a moment of inattention for a trucker to lose control of their vehicle and cause a bad crash.
- Speeding. Driving over the speed limit, or too fast for road conditions, contributes to many fatal truck accidents. When a truck is traveling at a high speed, the force of impact is magnified, increasing the likelihood of serious injuries or death in an accident.
- Improper loading. Trucks are often loaded with heavy cargo. If the cargo is not properly secured or the vehicle is overloaded, "cargo shift" can occur during transport and cause the truck to lose control, leading to a fatal rollover, jackknife or other type of truck accident.
- Mechanical failure. Trucks are complex machines, and mechanical failures can occur due to poor vehicle maintenance or defective components. If a truck's brakes fail, a tire blows out, or another type of malfunction occurs, the results can be deadly.
Legal options for the families of fatal truck accident victims
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal truck accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim and/or lawsuit against the at-fault party. Wrongful death lawsuits can seek compensation for the financial losses and emotional pain and suffering that the victim's family has suffered. In most fatal truck accidents, there are multiple parties that may be liable for the accident. The truck driver may be liable if they were negligent or reckless. The trucking company may be liable if they failed to properly train or supervise the driver, or if they knew about the driver's dangerous driving habits and did nothing to stop them. Other parties who may be liable include the manufacturer of the truck or its components, or the company that loaded the truck's cargo.
Every state has its own laws regarding who can file a wrongful death lawsuit, conditions to file, and statute of limitations. An experienced fatal truck accident lawyer can analyze the circumstances of an accident, determine how the law applies, and explain the necessary steps to collect compensation.