Category: Truck Accidents

Liability in a Multi-Vehicle Pileup

Multi-vehicle pileups (also known as “chain reaction accidents”) are not uncommon on busy roadways in Arizona, and in the United States at-large.  When a motor vehicle accident occurs, then — depending on the conditions of the road and the average speed at which cars, trucks, and motorcycles are moving — a pileup could quite easily develop, causing the initial event to spiral out-of-control and affect a much larger group of people. If you’ve been harmed in a multi-vehicle pileup, you may be feeling confused and somewhat overwhelmed by the prospect of litigation, and for good reason.  It may be unclear where you should even begin — there could be several different drivers who you believe are responsible for causing your injuries. Multi-vehicle pileup liability can be simplified through the application of basic causation principles.  Let’s take a quick look. Understanding the Chain of Causation In multi-vehicle pileups, the core issue is that of the chain of causation.  Defendants may only be held liable if their actions substantially contribute to the injuries you suffered, and if the chain of causation “linking” their actions to your injuries is continuous. Concurrent Causation Arizona law does not shield defendants from liability simply because others were simultaneously negligent, reckless, or intentionally engaged in misconduct.  If there are multiple causes to an accident (as is typical in a multi-vehicle pileup where several cars and trucks might fail to exercise reasonable care and thereby contribute to the pileup), then each defendant responsible for contributing to the accident […]

Commercial Truckers Are Held to a Higher Standard of Care

If you’ve injured in an accident due to a commercial truck driver’s negligence, then Arizona law may entitle you to significant compensation. When litigating a claim against a commercial truck driver — and thanks to the application of vicarious liability principles, their employer — you may find that establishing negligence is somewhat “easier” to do than litigating a claim against a non-commercial driver.  As a general rule, professionals in all walks of life are held to a stricter standard of care in skill/knowledge areas than the average person. Let’s take a quick peek at why this dynamic exists. Negligence Basics and the Standard of Care In order to prove the defendant’s negligence, you will have to show that they violated the applicable standard of care under the circumstances, and that in doing so, they substantially contributed to your injuries.  The standard of care (in truck accidents and in other contexts) is that of a reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances. How does this work? When a defendant injures you in an accident, for example, the court will evaluate what a reasonably prudent person would have done had they been put in the same or similar circumstances.  This is a rather “fuzzy” determination, depending on the case.  Suppose that a driver gets into a collision after quickly changing the channel on their radio player — it may not be obvious that a reasonably prudent person under the same or similar circumstances would not have taken their eyes off the […]

Logging Devices Can Help You Successfully Litigate a Truck Accident Claim

Though truck accident claims can be a challenge to litigate, there are a number of unique opportunities available to those who are plaintiffs in such litigation. For example, if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a commercial trucker, then you could be entitled to bring an action for damages against their employer pursuant to vicarious liability principles. Among these various opportunities is the electronic logging device (ELD) that has been federally mandated for commercial drivers who are required to prepare hours-of-service records for their work. Let’s take a closer look. What is an Electronic Logging Device? Recently, federal legislation (that has been in the works since 2012) has come into effect.  The legislation mandates that an ELD be installed for commercial drivers — including truckers — to keep track of various data points that are intended to help manage driver “cheating” and minimize the safety risks typical of the industry, such as over-scheduling.  An ELD keeps track of a driver’s hours logged (and speed), among other data. How does an ELD help? Drivers cannot drive more than 11 hours a day, nor can they work more than 14 hours a day total.  Previously, drivers could “fudge the numbers” on their paper sheets by logging less than they actually worked, thus enabling them to travel a farther distance (so that they can be eligible for compensation bonuses) while remaining within the hourly maximum.  Now, with the ELD system in place, commercial drivers cannot log more than the maximum amount.  If […]

Improper Cargo Loading and Truck Accident Liability

Phoenix Truck Accident Lawyer In the realm of motor vehicle accidents, truck accidents are uniquely dangerous — particularly those that involve large trucks that may be loaded with cargo.  Trucks tend to be heavier than other vehicles, and as such, the impact forces in an accident are likely to be much more severe.  The aggregate force of impact can lead to serious (if not catastrophic) injuries or even death. Truck accidents can occur for a number of reasons, but among the more common types of truck accidents are those that are caused by improper cargo loading.  Improper cargo loading involves cargo that is not adequately secured (and is therefore prone to sliding or tumbling in the back of the truck), or cargo that has been placed in such a way that it creates a structural imbalance. Let’s examine this issue more closely. Improper Cargo Loading Can Create a Substantial Rollover Accident Risk Improper cargo loading — whether the cargo has not been secured properly or has been placed in a manner that creates a fundamental weight imbalance — can lead to a rollover accident in many cases, particularly situations where the driver is taking a sharp turn. Drivers may be additionally liable for failing to take into account their cargo load.  For example, if a truck driver is carrying a full load of cargo, they should be careful to slow down when taking turns and shifting lanes so as not to create a rollover accident.  Drivers must be considerate of […]

Common Negligent Acts Giving Rise to a Truck Accident

Truck accidents are not only quite common, but they tend to give rise to more severe injuries than other types of auto accidents, in major part because the impact force caused by a truck tends to be much higher on average.  As such, it’s critically important that truck drivers are considerate of unique the risks involved in operating their vehicles, and that they drive appropriately so as to minimize those risks to the best degree possible. If you have suffered injuries in a truck accident scenario, then you may have a right of action against the truck driver — and potentially even their employer — for damages under Arizona law.  In Arizona, and elsewhere, truck accidents (whether involving a commercial truck or a personal vehicle) may be caused by a range of negligence-related factors. Consider the following. Improper Cargo Loading Improper cargo loading is perhaps one of the most common causes of truck accidents, as it can lead to rollover risks.  Truck drivers — along with cargo loaders, supervisors, etc. — must make reasonable efforts to ensure that cargo has been loaded appropriately so as to avoid a heightened rollover risk.  This applies to non-commercial contexts, too.  For example, if the defendant has rented a U-Haul truck, and decides to load all their heavy furniture to one side of the truck, then that could lead to a rollover accident. Failure to Properly Maintain Vehicle Trucks must be adequately maintained to prevent mechanical issues that could lead to an accident on […]

Suing the Employer of a Commercial Driver

In Arizona, if you have been injured in a car accident (or any other accident) due to the negligence of a defendant-driver who is an employee acting within the course and scope of their employment at the time of the accident, then you may be entitled to sue and recover damages from their employer.  This is known as the doctrine of vicarious liability. What is Vicarious Liability? Vicarious liability — also known as respondeat superior — is a doctrine implemented by the state of Arizona (and many other states) that holds employers liable for the negligence committed by their employees.  A claim brought against an employer pursuant to vicarious liability is not separate or distinct in any way from the claim that you would otherwise bring against the driver.  If you are bringing a claim against the employer for contributing to your injuries (i.e., asserting that the employer negligently hired or supervised the employee driver), then that will be separate and distinct from your vicarious liability claim. This can all be rather complicated to understand, at first glance, so let’s go through a quick example for clarification. Imagine that you suffer injuries in a car accident involving a pizza delivery driver.  The driver was operating their vehicle negligently at the time of the accident, and was on their way to delivering pizzas to customers.  You could ostensibly sue and recover damages from both the driver and their pizzeria employer. In some cases, the employer may contribute to the accident by […]

Why Are Truck Accidents Increasing?

According to federal regulators, the number of accidents, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks continue to occur at historically high levels. In its April 2017 report summarizing crash statistics from 2015 (the most recent year available), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) concluded that: The number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes increased by 8 percent from 2014. The number of large trucks involved in injury crashes decreased by 1 percent from 2014 (but that small decrease followed a more than 60% increase from 2009 to 2014). The number of buses involved in fatal crashes increased by 11 percent from 2014. The number of vehicle miles traveled by large trucks was basically unchanged from 2014 to 2015. Overall, large truck accidents cause about 4,000 fatalities and 100,000 injuries in the US on an annual basis. As technology continues to improve passenger vehicle safety, why have large trucks become an increasing hazard on Phoenix highways and other US roads over the last decade? Deregulation Trucking industry experts point to various regulatory changes that could improve safety but Congress has consistently resisted imposing additional restrictions on the industry. Even worse, Congress has proposed rolling back some existing trucking company regulations and weakening FMCSA’s oversight abilities, such as: Increasing the maximum permitted workweek for truckers from 70 to 82 hours during every 8-day period. Discouraging FMCSA from investing in wireless technology to improve the monitoring of trucks and drivers. Permitting longer and heavier trucks on the road while lowering the minimum […]

10 Tips to Help You When Involved In an Accident

Safety: Make sure that you and your passengers are not injured. If an injury occurred, call 911 to report the injuries. If there is serious injury or major damage, do not move the vehicles. Wait until the police arrive so they can properly document the scene. This will help the police and investigators determine who is at fault if there is any question of liability. If the accident is minor, move the vehicle to the side of the road to a safe location. Do not get out of the vehicle unless it is safe. Stay in the vehicle if you are injured or surrounded by moving traffic. What seems like a minor injury could be much worse than it seems and trying to move could make things worse. Your best bet is to stay in your vehicle with your seat belt fastened, turn on your hazards while waiting for help to arrive. Call the police: Don’t ever let anyone at the scene try to convince you otherwise. A police report will be very important alter on. Get the police report along with the name and number of the reporting officer. In some cases of minor crashes, the police will not respond unless there are serious injuries or property damage; if that is the case, you will need to file an accident report at the local police station as soon as possible. Exchanging Information: Get the other drivers name, phone number, insurance company, policy number, drivers license number, plate number, and […]

Things to Have in Your Glove Box In Case of Emergency.

Critical medical information: Write down any medical conditions, medications and allergies in case you’re involved in an accident and can’t communicate to the responders. Owner’s manual and recommended maintenance schedule: This comes in very handy. It helps when a fuse goes out, or a tire needs to be changed, or a light goes on that you don’t recognize. Emergency contact numbers: Write them down, and have them listed in your cell phone and wallet as well. There is a spot in most cell phones called ICE; In case Of Emergency. These numbers can be accessed without unlocking the phone, and emergency professionals are trained to check these numbers. Pen and paper: It will come in handy if you’re in an accident and need to take down information. Proof of insurance: It’s the law to keep proof of insurance in your car, and it comes in handy in certain situations as well. A flashlight: If something goes wrong at night, you’ll be glad you have one. Water Bottle: It gets hot in AZ, and having water is always a good thing. Napkins, travel wipes, tissues and hand sanitizer: They can be used to clean up when you need to change a tire, or make other messy repairs to your car. High-energy snacks: In case of an accident, or if you get stuck on the side of the road and have to wait for a tow truck. Cell Phone Charger: This one is self explanatory in this day and age. Camera: Comes […]