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Truck driver errors top cause of commercial truck accidents

Semi-trucks are a common sight on the highways of West Virginia, and their bulk makes them dangerous in crashes. Over the past decade, truck accidents have increased in frequency by 20 percent. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study produced by federal transportation agencies examined 120,000 fatal commercial truck accidents and concluded that drivers caused 68,000 of the wrecks.

Mistakes like tailgating other vehicles, speeding or driving too fast for conditions accounted for 38 percent or 30,000 crashes during the 33-month span of the study. Distractions inside or outside of the truck cab along with inattention resulted in 22,000 of the deadly accidents or 28 percent of the total.

Impairments caused by medical conditions or drowsiness interfered with truckers' performance in 9,000 or 12 percent of accidents. The fourth leading problem identified in 7,000 or 9 percent of accidents involved drivers who panicked, overcompensated or controlled their vehicles sloppily. A critic of trucking companies blamed them for their drivers' poor performances that too often failed to meet safety standards.

A survivor of a truck accident might be left to cope with serious injuries that could inflict long-term financial harm. An attorney might be able to prepare a personal injury claim while the person recuperates or adapts to life with a disability. Evidence about the accident, like a police report that describes speeding, may allow an attorney to pursue damages on the basis of negligence. An attorney's investigation might also reveal information about poor truck maintenance, inadequate driver training or truck driver fatigue. This documentation might push back against an insurer's attempt to avoid responsibility or pay a low settlement. When necessary, an attorney might consider taking the case to court if negotiations with the insurance company do not produce enough compensation to cover medical bills and lost income.

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