There are about two million semi-trucks driving on the American roads, and well over 100,000 large commercial trucks are involved in accidents on an annual basis. Whenever a serious trucking accident occurs, drivers, passengers, and pedestrians typically suffer from permanent devastating injuries or tragic fatalities. These life-altering injuries may include brain injury, skull fractures, broken bones, contusions, internal bleeding, spinal cord damage, loss of organ function, back injuries and many others. An accident victim not only suffers from the physical pain associated with the collision, but from prolonged mental anguish and crippling financial obstacles.
Trucking accidents can have prolonged economic effects upon you and your family. If you suffer disabling injuries in a DeKalb tractor-trailer accident, medical expenses and lost income can deflate your savings and lead to insurmountable debt without obtaining financial recovery from the responsible truck driver and trucking company.
Our experienced DeKalb County truck accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing trucking accident victims for nearly thirty years. We understand the complex regulatory structure of the trucking industry, commercial carriers’ customs and practices, and the unique danger posed by 80,000 pound, fully loaded tractor-trailers.
Common Causes of DeKalb County Trucking Accident Cases
Our experienced DeKalb County big-rig accident lawyers have been handling trucking accident cases for nearly three decades. Most trucking accidents are caused by truck driver negligence or poor truck maintenance. Driver fatigue plays such a substantial role in tractor-trailer accidents that there are special rules called “Hours of Service” (HOS) rules. These rules establish a maximum number of hours behind the wheel in a day or quasi-weekly period, minimum rest periods, and time that a driver must be completely off-duty. Because drivers and trucking companies can increase their bottom line by driving further, faster and longer, these HOS rules are frequently disregarded by commercial drivers with the tacit or express approval of the trucking company. Some of the other causes of trucking accidents that we frequently see include:
- Distracted truck drivers using their cell phones
- Drowsy truck drivers
- Drivers in violation of an intrastate or interstate regulation or company policy
- Overloaded trailers or unbalanced freight
- Truck component failure resulting from lack of maintenance, or failure to make repairs
- Truck drivers that fail to observe traffic safety rules
- Insufficient screening or training of drivers by trucking companies
- Improperly secured loads that shift while the vehicle is moving
- Lack of attention to blind spots (“no zones”)
- Commercial drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Because of the comprehensive fabric of trucking regulations governing safety issues, our experienced DeKalb County trucking accident lawyers have extensive knowledge of these regulations. Violations of trucking regulations often are the key factor in imposing fault on a truck driver or trucking company.
The Pervasive Practice of Evidence Destruction and Distortion in Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Many trucking accidents occur only because truck drivers or trucking companies make a conscious decision to put profits above public safety by disregarding critical safety regulations covering a multitude of issues, including proper loading, driver fatigue, drug testing policies, and other important regulations designed to protect the public. These unconscionable decisions often are compounded by unethical trucking company practices designed to evade responsibility for the horrific collisions they cause by destroying or manipulating evidence. This pattern for distorting evidence includes falsifying logbooks that drivers are required to keep, which provide valuable evidence of driver fatigue and big-rig maintenance. These important records are so frequently altered and distorted that they are derisively referred to in the trucking industry as “lie logs.”
Another form of evidence that may disappear is electronic data recorded in black box data recorders installed in many tractor-trailers. These black boxes are similar to those used in airplanes and can provide critical information about vehicle speed, location, sudden braking, driver fatigue and other critical information about the condition of the tractor-trailer and driving behavior immediately before the DeKalb County trucking accident. Unfortunately, when tractor-trailers are put back into service, the stored data from prior trips may be erased so it is imperative to take affirmative steps to prevent this loss of evidence. Trucking companies typically repair body damage before sending a tractor-trailer back out on the road, which also can result in the loss of important vehicle damage that, depending on the facts of the case, can be used by an accident reconstruction expert to analyze the causes of a tractor-trailer collision.
Because our DeKalb County tractor-trailer accident attorneys understand the importance of preserving such evidence and exposing its manipulation, we routinely send a letter to the commercial carrier informing the trucking company that the big-rig and its black box data are the subject of pending litigation and must be preserved. If the trucking company does not comply with our request, we may even file for injunctive relief so that a judge can impose sanctions against the trucking company for not safeguarding the evidence.
Available Compensation in DeKalb County Big Rig Accident Cases
If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious trucking accident or a loved one has died, our DeKalb County truck accident lawyers may be able to help you recover a broad range of damages, including lost wages, pain and suffering, diminished earning capacity, a loss of overall enjoyment of life, burial/funeral expenses, property damage, medical costs, loss of consortium and other damages. Our experienced DeKalb County trucking accident lawyers are committed to representing personal injury and wrongful death victims in obtaining the compensation necessary to rebuild their lives and support their families. Call now for your FREE CONSULTATION with Montlick and Associates' experienced DeKalb County trucking accident attorneys. Our attorneys are available to help you and may even visit you if needed. You can call us anytime 24/7 at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333) for your FREE CONSULTATION. Alternatively, you can visit our website at www.montlick.com to make use of our FREE CASE EVALUATION FORM or 24-hour live online chat service.