A big truck accident in Arizona is fundamentally different from a car accident, as it brings up more complexity and different questions, like after a semi-truck accident who is liable? The truck driver or the trucking company? How do you prove who is at fault? With various entities potentially liable and numerous questions surrounding the circumstances of big truck accidents, contacting a truck accident lawyer in Phoenix is recommended.
In this article, we'll answer the above questions, as well as a few other questions we've heard from our clients over the years. If you have other questions about a semi-truck accident, please give us a call or text at (602) 345-1818.
What Causes Big Truck Accidents?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the three most common types of big truck accidents are a result of:
Running out of the travel lane, either into another lane or off the road
Vehicle loss of control due to traveling too fast for conditions, cargo shift, vehicle systems failure, or poor road conditions
Colliding with the rear end of another vehicle in the truck's travel lane
The FMCSA further states that the most likely actions leading to each type of accident vary: Accidents can be caused by nonperformance, meaning the driver fell asleep or was otherwise disabled; lack of recognition, meaning the driver was distracted or failed to pay adequate attention; faulty decisions, meaning the driver was driving too fast for conditions, following too closely behind another vehicle or misjudging the speed of other vehicles; performance of the driver, meaning the driver panicked, overcompensated, etc; vehicle malfunctions, meaning an issue with the truck itself caused the accident (e.g. brake issues); or the environment, such as heavy fog or rain caused the accident.
Similarly, commercial drivers cause accidents on the road as a result of the following:
Driver exhaustion or fatigue
Speeding or tailgating
Failure to use turn signals to turn or merge
Texting or using the CB radio
Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Truck drivers face issues and consequences that other drivers don't, so they are specially trained to drive and handle dangers on the road. They understand that failure to respond reasonably to dangerous conditions and circumstances could result in the revocation of their commercial license and other serious consequences.
What Laws Play a Role in Truck Accidents?
Both state and federal regulations play a role in semi-truck accidents. Federal regulations govern the trucking industry as a whole and institute specific standards that companies and drivers must adhere to. In addition, Arizona has specific laws intended to keep truckers and other drivers on the road safe. Some of these Arizona big truck laws include the prohibition of trucks traveling at more than 65 miles per hour (A.R.S. 28-709), maximum length rules of truck and trailers (A.R.S. 28-1095), and the requirement of splash guard equipment that limit the amount of debris thrown up at other vehicles (A.R.S. 28-958.01).
Who's At Fault in Arizona Semi-Truck Accidents?
With semi-truck accidents, there can be multiple parties potentially responsible, making liability difficult to assess. Additionally, Arizona is an at-fault state, meaning if you are proven to be liable for the accident, you could be responsible for paying any damages caused during the accident. This is why it's vital to contact a truck accident lawyer in Phoenix. Some potential parties in a truck accident case include the trucker, the trucking company, a manufacturer or shipper of cargo, and the insurance company or companies. Note you may be dealing with insurance companies of multiple parties, depending on the specifics of your case.
In a truck accident case, proving who's liable typically comes down to proving one or more party's negligence. An example of this might be a truck driver who suffered a seizure leading to his or her inability to operate the truck and respond to immediate dangers, causing an accident– if the driver's company knew about the driver's prior disability and did nothing, the company could be proven to be negligent in the suit.
As you can imagine, this can be quite complicated if more than one party is proven to be liable. When this happens, Arizona follows the comparative fault theory, which divides fault and subsequent damages between or among the responsible parties. As an example of this, say Ted, a truck driver, is driving his truck too fast in heavy rain and hits Sam from behind. Sam was distracted by his radio, trying to find a different channel. The court might determine the truck driver to be 80% at fault and the other driver to be 20% at fault. In this situation, Sam can only receive 80% of damages rewarded due to comparative fault laws.
What Do I Do After a Big Truck Accident?
If you're involved in a big truck accident, make sure to follow a few steps to ensure the safety of yourself and fellow drivers, as well as for the solidity of your potential case:
Assess the safety and health of yourself and others involved; call for medical assistance, if needed
Ensure you call the authorities to draft an official report; this may be a crucial piece of evidence going forward
Get information from the other driver(s), including their name, address, telephone number, driver's license number, and insurance information.
Obtain information from potential witnesses of the accident
Take pictures of the accident; remember to do so safely
Do not post pictures of the accident on social media
Never take blame or admit fault of any kind; this can be used against you later
See a doctor; even if you “feel fine” following the accident, remember that potential injuries may not be evident until days after it has happened
Find a Truck Accident Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ
Big truck accidents can be complicated and life-altering. To ensure you can get your life back on track in an adequate and timely manner, contact our truck accident law firm today. With the great potential of multiple parties, multiple stories, and multiple insurance companies, it's important to have the right lawyer on your side to find the facts and set the right strategy in motion for you and your case.
We are here to help you and your family in your time of need. We understand the stress and overwhelm our clients feel, and we make it our duty at Impact Legal to make this time easier for our clients and their families. Contact us today by calling or texting (602) 345-1818. You can also fill out this convenient online form to schedule a consultation.
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