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7 Common Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents and How to Avoid Them

In a 10-year period from 2009 to 2019, semi truck accidents got a lot more deadly. In fact, that period of time accounted for a 31 percent increase in fatalities, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Serious injuries were on the rise as well. In the following article, we’ll be discussing the seven leading causes of these, particularly dangerous auto accidents. We’ll also be sharing some next steps should you find yourself involved in one.

1. Not Paying Attention

One of the most common causes of truck accidents is the simple act of not paying attention. Drivers can become distracted by any number of things. That’s true whether you’re driving an SUV, sports car, or semi-truck. 

Inattentiveness behind the wheel is a mistake that can lead to life-altering, maybe even life-ending, circumstances. When it does, you or your family will need an attorney on your side who knows how to look for evidence of inattentive driving to best argue your case. 

2. Driving While Impaired

Driving while impaired is another major cause of truck accidents. Often this occurs because of drivers who are either intoxicated or high on mind-altering drugs at the time of the accident. 

Semi-truck drivers are often careful not to drive impaired on duty, as this can bring with it serious repercussions for their over-the-road careers. It still happens, though. 

It’s important to understand that DWIs and DUIs can mean more than just drinking and driving. Experienced attorneys know the reports and evidence to look for when proving impairment.  

3. Speeding

Another aspect of an accident any good semi-truck accident lawyer will look for is the rate of speed that individuals were going at the time of the accident. This can become a crucial factor in arguing a case as speeding is one of the leading causes of accidents of all stripes. 

It’s definitely the leading cause of fatality accidents and is quite often to blame for accidents with a serious injury. Semi-truck drivers operating vehicles outside of their employer’s governing speeds are traceable thanks to onboard tracking, which is open to discovery in litigation. 

4. Trying to Overtake

Another accident cause that the seasoned semi-truck accident attorney sees throughout his career is a motorist’s desire to overtake a semi or vice versa. A motorist might try to squeeze in between semis without leaving much margin for error. One thing goes wrong, and no one has time to avoid catastrophe. 

On the flip side, a semi-truck driver might try scooting over into a lane where a motorist is going around. Whoever’s at fault, can cause serious injury or death and be open to litigation by victims or their surviving family members. 

5. Distracted Driving

When we say distracted driving, what we often mean is texting and driving. However, distracted driving takes many other forms. It can mean checking Facebook updates, consulting GPS, or switching between apps frequently. 

Some drivers mistakenly think they’ve mastered the art of using their phones while driving. They might reason that they only use the phone at stoplights, so what’s the big deal? 

The problem with any type of distraction while driving is that it only takes a split second for something to go horribly wrong. Even if it takes a second or two to check something on your phone, that’s plenty of time for an accident to occur.

6. Lack of Securement

This major cause of semi-truck injury accidents has everything to do with the driver. An improperly secured load is 100 percent the responsibility of the driver or the company/companies associated with loading and securing the materials. 

Badly secured loads can break free and spill into traffic causing multiple-car pileups that threaten health and life. It’s a serious mistake that an experienced semi-truck accident attorney will focus on when arguing a client’s case. 

7. Vehicle Maintenance Issues

One final catalyst to most semi-truck accident lawsuit cases is the quality of vehicle maintenance. This burden is particularly focused on the semi-truck because the size and weight of the vehicle present a much greater threat to passing motorists than a standard-sized sedan or pickup truck. 

When a semi-truck driver has a blowout on the highway, it can pose much more of a risk to a higher number of motorists. Poorly maintained brakes are yet another factor that can cause a semi not to stop in time when coming up on smaller cars and needing to slow down.

Any motorist needs to maintain their vehicle and ensure it’s 100 percent safe for the road. Semi-truck drivers are especially beholden to this responsibility. 

Next Steps After an Accident

Now that you understand what the leading causes of semi-truck accidents are, you must know what to do next if you find yourself involved in a crash. Your first obligation is the immediate health of you and everyone involved. From there, do the following.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Report the accident at once. Get the timeline of events down before speaking to the claims representative. Be as honest as you can about the situation, and let them know whether you expect to be at fault or not. 

Pay Attention to Your Body

Just because you don’t feel bad right away doesn’t mean you won’t in the next day or two. It can take a while for the adrenaline to wear off, so be mindful of this fact. If you notice anything off about your body, go see a doctor at once.

Keep Your Attorney in the Loop

You can’t expect an insurance company to operate with your best interests at heart. Many times insurers are only concerned about getting their money. They won’t fight as hard for larger settlements if you have long-term injuries.

That’s on you, not them. So call your attorney right away and let them know what you’re dealing with. They can begin helping you build a case if you feel like the settlement amount offered to you isn’t fair. 

Semi Truck Accidents Can Be Life Changing

If you’re one of the thousands who are involved in semi truck accidents each year, then you know the ramifications can be life-altering. You deserve to have that impact accounted for in the size and fairness of the settlement or jury award. 

Because knowing the seven leading causes of these accidents is not a guarantee of avoiding them, you’ll want to take some smart next steps for protecting yourself. Consider contacting a semi truck accident lawyer at Georgia Auto Law today if you’re in-state and in need of expert legal help. 

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