For decades now, research shows that the number of victims succumbing to truck accidents has been on the rise. The severity of the damages and fatality rate is highly attributed to the big size of the vehicles. This means that the victims are more likely to incur lasting injuries that may be catastrophic.
If you or a loved one was recently injured in a truck accident, it is crucial to seek the professional help of a personal injury attorney to help seek compensation. We at the Las Vegas Personal Injury Law Firm will do everything possible to ensure you are compensated for the damages incurred. We will hold the liable parties into account as well as represent you in court as you seek compensation.
Overview of Truck Accidents Under Nevada Law
Truck drivers are subject to enhanced rules and regulations that are not subject to motorists of non-commercial vehicles. Trucking companies are accountable for guaranteeing that truck drivers are eligible and that these large and potentially hazardous vehicles are appropriately serviced and maintained. Federal and state rules are devised to ensure the safety of truckers and motorists with whom they share the roadways. If these laws are neglected, there may be road accidents, and people may have severe injuries.
Federal and state laws can be used to determine the person responsible for the truck accident. Usually, the regulations are monitored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) along with the US Department of Transportation (DOT). Therefore, if a semi-trailer, large rig, or other commercial truck operator fails to comply with the policies that apply to his or her occupation, the motorist and his or her trucking company may be held liable for your injuries.
The Rules That Regulate Truck Drivers
As illustrated above, the federal and state agencies monitor the operations of the truck drivers to maintain order and safety for other road users. Below are the laws that must be followed by commercial truck drivers.
- Quality Control of the Trucks
This policy checks on the parts and functionality of the trucks. The quality is assessed based on the repairs made, frequent services done along with the manufacturing parts of the vehicle like the air braking systems. If there happens to be a defect on the truck's components, thus resulting in an accident, then the manufacturer, dealer, or mechanic of the truck can be held liable. If the trucking company and the driver were aware of the defect, and it possibly caused the accident, then they are subjected to compensate the victim for the damages caused.
- A Commercial Driver's License
The state and federal law require every truck driver or operator to have a commercial driver's license. If a truck driver crashes with you and does not have a proper driving license as required by state law, then the driver will be held liable for the accident.
- Resting Record
Truck drivers usually take days and even weeks to transport their cargo from one destination to the other. Due to the long journey, the driver is likely to feel fatigued. It is for this reason that the laws regulate the time at which drivers are permitted to operate. This is known as the hours of service. The record shows the time at which the driver of the truck took a break as well as rest. Therefore, if you get involved in a truck accident, the law enforcement officers ensure that they check the resting period of the truck driver to ascertain if the motorist was fatigued.
- Weight Limit Permitted by Law
The size of the vehicle determines the maximum weight of cargo that a truck can carry usually. Since overloading is dangerous, the trucking company needs to ensure that the vehicle has the right weight load before it sets the journey. Consequently, it could be a vital part of your accident investigation to find out what was in the truck in your accident and when it was last weighed.
- The Type of Cargo on Board
The load being transported is critical. In a case whereby the truck was shipping hazardous waste, the truck driver, along with the trucking company, must adhere to the safety rules for transporting dangerous materials. Any fault will unquestionably hold them liable for the accident. If you or a loved one were involved in a truck accident due to a truck driver's negligence, you ought to contact a qualified Personal Injury Attorney for assistance. Your attorney will help in filing a legal claim against the truck operator, his or her employer, and the company shipping the hazardous material to compensate you for the injuries incurred fully.
Who Is Liable in a Commercial Truck Accident?
Often, commercial truck drivers create hazardous circumstances for other road users. Truck accidents are brutal and may lead to tremendous damage to other passenger vehicles, properties as well as inflict severe injuries to other motorists and passengers. While truck drivers are sometimes at fault, the driver is not always solely responsible for these fatal accidents. When a truck is involved in a crash that causes significant injury, the question is who the potential party responsible is. This depends on various circumstances, as we will discuss below.
Trucking Company or Agency
In a truck accident case, the party found to be liable for the damages caused is the organization that hired the truck driver. Under the Nevada Personal Injury Laws, the trucking company, in this case, is branded as a 'respondeat superior.' The Latin phrase means "let the superior make the answer." This means that the party responsible for placing the negligent operator behind the wheel should take legal responsibility for the injuries inflicted on other motorists by the negligent person and for property damage.
Manufacturer of the Truck
At times, the accident may have been out of control of the driver. This might be a result of a defect in the truck's system that caused the malfunction. A simple error on the truck's operation, such as the air brake system, can lead to devastating results. In such a situation, the vehicle manufacturer or parts producer could be held responsible for a truck accident. A truck accident could be caused by one of a wide variety of defects. This may be as a result of:
- A glitch in the truck's tires
- Malfunctioning of the air brake system
- Faulty seat belts and other kinds of freight protection
- Dysfunction of the automatic Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), thus preventing a truck from jackknifing
- Defects on the steering wheel, such as power loss
- Broken hydraulic systems
- A flaw in the truck's hitches
- Broken indicators, brake lights, and turn signals
- The Truck Driver
- The negligent driver that caused the accident cannot be left out. He or she must take some part of the liability for the tragic incident. The law enforcement team will assess the driver's credentials based on the Federal and state laws that regulate truck drivers. The FMCSR mandates that the driver must:
- Have a valid commercial driver's license
- He or she must test negative on all tests that seek out for drugs or alcoholic substances in one's bloodstream
- Have with them an updated record showing the sleeping log that indicates the number of hours the driver sleeps and the time dedicated to being on the road
- Perform and have logs of the truck's inspection before embarking on the trip
Causes of Truck Accidents
Road construction in Las Vegas has been steadily increasing for decades now. However, different types of negligence on the roads trigger truck accidents. Poor maintenance of a motor vehicle may lead to a tire blowing out, a defect in braking systems, or other occurrences. This makes large trucks a threat to small passenger motorists. There are several other common causes of truck collisions, including:
Poor Maintenance of the Truck
The law requires that every truck driver, along with the trucking company, should guarantee that the vehicle is in top-notch condition before hitting the roadway. Unfortunately, not all truck operators comply with these regulations. This might be attributed to the costs involved in service, as well as the time it takes to maintain the trucks. Consequently, having vehicles that are poorly serviced on the roads is likely to put the lives of other motorists at serious risk, leading to one of the biggest causes of road accidents.
A Distracted Driver
Drivers get bored on the highway for many hours in the process of traveling over long distances. In such situations, they continuously search for anything to keep them busy. The desire to overcome boredom leads to one of a few things. The most popular item is to use phones to read or answer text messages, make phone calls, or even surf the net. One may also opt to change the car radio station.
While on the road, the signals of the radio stations tend to be poor in certain regions. This causes the truck drivers to reach over to their radios and search for a station they can listen to. Research shows that most distracted drivers that caused truck accidents were attributed by changing the car radio stations. It can happen even if you are alone in the freeway. A slight distraction can significantly lead to a truck crash.
Driving under the Influence
In the state of Nevada, it is illegal for a road user to operate a means of transport under the influence of alcoholic beverages, drugs, or any other substance likely to impair their decision. Over the years, many truck drivers have been found guilty of driving their trucks while not sober. Regardless of the content consumed, it is likely to impair their judgment while on the roadway. This significantly exposes them and the lives of other road users to danger.
Every trucking agency or company must ensure those truck drivers are well prepared and qualified for the handling of large commercial trucks. The size of the vehicles is large, so they need a lot of care and attention on the roads. A slight error is likely to cause massive damage to property and road users. Also, truck operators are mandated by law to meet a certain threshold for training hours and to conform to the minimum requirements. Poorly trained drivers with little experience behind the wheel are susceptible to a high probability of causing road accidents.
The federal law permits the truck drivers to drive at specific periods, of which the remaining time is dedicated to resting. This regulation aids in safeguarding the lives of both the truck drivers and other road users. Drivers get fatigued as a result of overworking. The truck journeys are generally long; hence, the drivers may be on the roads continuously for more than a day driving without rest.
Authorities are endeavoring to ensure that the rest of the drivers' schedule is checked to prevent fatigue. If a truck driver faces a great deal of pressure to deliver the goods within a fixed timeframe, he or she may be forced to avoid resting. This makes it risky, which increases the chances of a truck accident.
Truck owners and cargo recipients usually demand the cargo to reach the various destinations at a specific fixed time. However, it is not always achievable due to several factors. For instance, weather conditions may be unfavorable, causing visibility issues. As a result of these factors, it piles a lot of pressure on the truck driver to meet the set deadlines.
Failure to meet the deadline may put the truck driver at risk of losing their job. Therefore, the pressure leads the drivers to over speed, surpassing the speed limits. Hence, you are likely to see overtaking of the large trucks in risky areas at break-necking speeds. Such a driver poses a risk of quickly veering off the road, causing considerable damage to other motorists and property.
Common Injuries from Truck Accidents
Accidents involving trucks often lead to catastrophic injury or death. The severity is as a result of the enormous magnitude of the vehicles. The negligence of a truck driver can have enormously horrific effects, and many casualties suffer life-threatening lesions or are lastingly marred. Trucks weigh thousands of pounds and bear hazardous freight regularly.
If the driver of the truck loses control, the intense smash force may cause heavy freight to spill over the roadway, such as sheets, cement, or lumber. This, in turn, may lead to massive crashes to other road users. Most big trucks are also endowed with enormous gas tanks that are susceptible to explosions upon getting into a collision. This can lead to catastrophic injuries, leaving permanent scars on the victim's body. Below are some of the common lesions induced by truck crashes:
- Head Injuries
A tremendous force to the head may lead to trauma in the brain. Such trauma is severe, and it may be lasting. Usually, upon coming out of the wreckage, the head injuries may not immediately be apparent. This makes it risky, and thus we highly recommend that you seek a medical checkup without delay. Trauma to the head may not necessarily affect the brain, but one needs to be aware of its severity. A slight ignorance may be fatal to the victim. The victim is likely to inhibit symptoms such as nausea, uncertainty, visualization problems, and various cognitive difficulties.
- Spinal Cord Trauma
Truck accidents are violent. Hence, they are likely to cause adverse shocks to the injured party. An impact on the back area is expected to cause devastating issues on the victim's spinal cord. It is more likely to cause paralysis. This is a condition whereby the injured victim loses control of a part of the whole body. The damage is not always immediate. Therefore, it is always advised that anyone suffering from a truck accident injury must get medical attention as soon as possible. The medical practitioners will examine you to ensure that the spinal cord is intact and free from danger. Spinal injury means living a life without the ability to control or doing anything.
- Internal Injuries
The more forceful bangs engrossed in truck accidents can also cause serious injuries. These include soft tissues and organ damage, like spleen, bladder, kidney, liver, and pancreas. Such internal lesions are likely to cause internal bleeding. Since they are complicated to treat, it can cause permanent damage or death.
- Broken Bones
The size of a commercial truck means that the clash with another rig or automobile can be extremely powerful. Because of this, dislocations and fractures are prevalent in such kinds of accidents. For example, ribs and torso injuries can be severe for the reason that the ribcage shields the vital organs of the body. Depending on the body part that has been injured, the fractured bone may take longer to recover completely. It may also call for gut-wrenching surgeries and physical treatment.
- Wrongful Death
The probability of one succumbing to death as a result of a truck accident is high. Thus, surviving such a tragedy is difficult. If a loved one lost his or her life from such a tragic accident, then an experienced personal injury attorney can hold the trucking company or agency responsible. As much as it is not possible to replace what you have lost, an experienced personal injury attorney can seek wrongful death compensation for your family to try to move forward.
Deep lacerates from flying fragments are also frequent in truck accidents. The cuts and injuries resulting from the horrific crash can be excruciating, frequently leaving the victim with large bruises that are more likely to be permanent. These wounds may require stitch-ups, or surgery, and may even develop infections that require heavy antibiotic doses.
Most trucks are fitted with large gas tanks that are susceptible to explosions upon getting ruptured due to massive impact. Most cargos hauled by trucks are usually hazardous, which elevates the risk to other motorists. The hazardous freight may be toxic contents that are highly inflammable. Such explosions may have blaze burns that could lead to devastating repercussions. The victim is susceptible to infections that may need special attention like excruciating skin implants.
Getting Compensation for Truck Accidents
Treating such types of bruises can rapidly increase the patient's budget, as medical bills may pile up. These may include diagnostic tests, emergency treatment, follow-up, prescription drugs, reconstructive surgery, physical therapy, nursing, among others. While medical bills may be among the most significant fees associated with severe bruises, they are not, unfortunately, the only expenses that a victim of an accident may have to incur. For instance, some victims are severely injured that for months, or even years, they are unfit to resume their work. This is severe in crashes that involve big trucks.
It may also be necessary for a victim's spouse or other relatives to take a break from work to transport the injured one to and from checkups or to assist with day-to-day activities. Lacking wages can be immensely damaging to a household that still strives to pay for medical treatment.
For life-threatening lesions like paralysis, a patient may need to retain the services of a nurse for daily tasks such as washing, meal preparation, shopping, or riding. Luckily, victims who can prove that the negligence of a truck driver has caused or imparted to the accident can be compensated for the damages, including medical expenses, loss of wages and income, loss of property, suffering, and pain. However, it is not easy to understand the personal injury laws and navigate them on your own. Thus, we advise you to seek the services of a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney to help you file a compensation claim.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Injuries sustained in truck accidents are particularly harsh and may even be catastrophic in some instances. It may take a significant physical, mental, and financial burden on victims and their families. Luckily, parties responsible for these traumatic injuries can and should be held accountable for their actions. Please get in touch with the Las Vegas Personal Injury Law Firm at 702-996-1224 to help you seek compensation. We will support you so that you don't have to worry about your medical bills and other damages.