Delaware Truck Accident Lawyers
Protecting the rights of people injured in Delaware tractor-trailer & 18-wheeler accidents
A collision with a truck or a large commercial vehicle can cause devastating injuries and fatalities. According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) crash statistics, through March of 2015 there have been 39,029 crashes involving large commercial trucks, which includes 981 fatalities and 20,971 injuries.
The Delaware truck accident attorneys of Silverman, McDonald & Friedman are well aware of the unique risks and liabilities involved in commercial trucking accidents. Our legal team has extensive experience – more than 100 years combined – and knowledge, and we can help you hold accountable anyone at fault for your or your loved one’s injury. We maintain offices in Newark, Wilmington and Seaford, DE, so you’re always close to a skilled truck accident lawyer when you need one the most.
Your Delaware truck accident questions, answered:
- What types of accidents are caused by speeding trucks?
- What are the most common causes of truck accidents?
- Blind spots and truck driver error
- Can a truck driver’s blind spot cause an accident?
- What technology can help prevent blind spot accidents involving trucks?
- Who can I sue for a fatal truck accident?
- How can your Delaware truck accident lawyer prove liability?
What types of accidents may be caused by speeding trucks?
Speed-related accidents can be the result of several factors coming into play at once, and the speed of the vehicle simply exaggerates the effects of all of the other factors. Some examples of accidents caused and made worse by speeding trucks include:
- Losing control of the vehicle and running off of the roadway
- Driving too fast on a rain-slickened highway and skidding out of control
- Tipping due to the loss of control of an overloaded truck
- Crashing into the vehicle in front
- Jackknifing because the driver lost control of the truck
It goes without saying that when a large truck is involved in an accident with a passenger vehicle the results are usually devastating. We are coming into a time of technological innovations such as self-driving trucks, and collision avoidance systems that sense an upcoming obstacle and begin to apply the brakes if the driver does not respond immediately. While human truck drivers are still responsible for the 50,000 pound machine that is capable of causing death and destruction on the roadways, there must be an incentive for them to change their behavior and keep their safety and that of the other drivers on the road in mind when they get behind the wheel.
What are the most common causes of truck accidents?
A collision with an 18-wheeler or tractor trailer is nothing like your average car accident. Odds are, you won’t be able to simply pull over, get out of your vehicles and exchange insurance information. A truck accident is more likely to cause serious personal injury and property damage. The reasons behind these accidents vary, but they are often attributed to:
- Driver error. The most prevalent cause of truck accidents by far is driver error, but not always the truck driver’s error. Because of the size of these commercial vehicles, the slightest human error or driving impairment can have tragic results. Passenger vehicle drivers often underestimate how quickly a large truck can stop, they drive in the truck’s blind spot, follow too closely, and change lanes too quickly cutting the truck off.
- Truck driver fatigue. A drowsy driver is a dangerous driver. Our federal government has recognized the problem of driver fatigue in establishing certain restrictions on truck operation, including laws regarding the Hours of Service (HOS).
- Distracted driving. Commercial truck drivers are banned from using cell phones while driving. Some truck drivers choose to ignore these federal restrictions, with fatal consequences.
- Drunk driving. Drunk driving is clearly a hazard that can cause catastrophic accidents on the road, but drugged driving is also becoming a significant problem. Drivers take stimulant drugs such as amphetamines in order to fight off fatigue, but they can end up impairing the driver’s reaction time and their judgement.
- Reckless driving and road rage. The NHTSA calls road rage “an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon.” It can be challenging to prove road rage as the cause of a truck accident, but it is becoming a serious threat to public safety on our highways.
Overloaded trucks, inadequate maintenance and inspections, and defective parts such as failed brakes or steering problems are additional causes of accidents for large trucks. With so many commercial trucks barreling down I-95 at any given time, your chances of being in a serious crash or collision increase every time you’re on the road with one.
Blind spots and truck driver error
Tractor-trailer drivers still have a responsibility to be as cautious and observant as possible before changing lanes or turning. Even though many of these accidents are due to passenger vehicle drivers truck drivers must still know their blind spots and check multiple times to make sure a lane is clear before passing. Speeding, failing to yield, and not using warning signals or lights can contribute to these accidents, as can a truck’s wide-angle turns or the driver going in reverse.
Can a truck driver's blind spot cause an accident?
Commercial trucks are the backbone of the nation’s economy, but they are also dangerous to drive near. Accidents involving trucks can be incredibly serious, causing permanent, disabling injuries or even death. One of the biggest reasons why trucks are so dangerous are their blind spots. The Department of Transportation provides the following statistics when it comes to truck blind spots:
- More than 413,000 accidents are caused every year across the country due to truck blind spots
- More than 160,000 fatalities are blamed on accidents involving truck blind spots
Truck blind spots are bigger than you expect. Unlike in a car, where the blind spots extend a few feet back, a truck’s blind spots can extend almost the entire length of the trailer on the right side, plus several yards in the back. Even when a vehicle is in front of a truck, the driver might not be able to see how much room he has between the front of his truck and the vehicle because of how high up the driver is sitting.
Blind spots make it nearly impossible for truck drivers to see other drivers who are in these spots. That’s why it’s important for drivers to avoid pulling up next to a truck on the highway, or riding directly behind a truck. If you are in an adjacent lane, be sure to travel ahead of the cab or behind the trailer so your vehicle is at a good enough angle for the driver to spot in the sideview mirrors.
What technology can help prevent blind spot accidents involving trucks?
Technology continues to develop that could very well help to prevent blind spot accidents involving trucks and passenger vehicles. This technology includes:
- Rear-facing cameras
- Blind spot mirrors
- Vehicle detection systems
- Lane assist
- Front-facing cameras
If a driver’s error led to your injuries, the driver may be held liable for them. In some cases, the trucking company could also be liable – especially if the truck’s safety equipment has not been maintained properly.
Who can I sue for a fatal truck accident?
These are some of the possible parties against whom you might be able to file a lawsuit after a trucking accident:
- The truck driver. In the accident with the Marsellos, the truck driver ran a red light, but the investigation will reveal why. Was he driving drunk? Was he groggy and just blew through the intersection in a sleepy haze? Had he taken drugs or some kind of medication that impaired his judgement? Could he have been driving aggressively and did not even see the victims' vehicle? Truck drivers are just one of the possible liable parties in a truck accident case.
- The trucking company. Sloan, the truck driver, was employed by a commercial milk transport company, which is regulated by federal laws and is required to follow safety procedures with regard to their trucks and drivers in order to prevent accidents. The company could be sued for wrongful death if any safety regulations related to the accident were violated.
- The truck's manufacturer. What if the truck had defective brakes, or a malfunctioning axle that caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle? If any of the truck's parts that contributed to the accident were defective, you may be able to take legal action against the truck manufacturer or the company that made the parts in question.
- The maintenance company. If the commercial trucking company had a contract with an outside maintenance firm which was responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of their trucks, and an accident occurred because of a lack of maintenance, the outside firm can be held liable.
Accidents involving commercial trucks can involve several responsible parties, making the litigation quite complex. A Delaware personal injury lawyer from our team will be familiar with all of the state and federal laws that govern the interstate trucking industry such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations. We can help those who have been injured or lost loved ones in trucking accidents to investigate the accident, discover all of the responsible parties and hold them liable for your losses.
How can your Delaware truck accident lawyer prove liability?
As with any accident case win Delaware, our truck accident attorneys devote considerable time and effort to researching the causes of the accident, liability, and the extent of the damage. We engage with accident experts to piece together the smallest details of the event. Our knowledgeable team thoroughly investigates the truck driver and his or her company to ensure that all safety regulations and precautions were followed, requesting evidence and documentation such as:
- Inspection of equipment histories
- HOS logbooks
- Compliance with drive time requirements
- Compliance with the ban on cell phone use while driving
- Adequate safety training and procedures
Through our attorneys’ exhaustive research, the legal team at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman helps ensure the merits and ultimate success of your truck accident, personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Trust us to protect you after a serious truck accident injury in Delaware
At Silverman, McDonald & Friedman, we examine every aspect of your accident to make sure we prove liability and win you damages. We have the resources, experience, and skills you want on your side. To make an appointment with a dedicated Delaware truck accident attorney, please call 302-888-2900 or fill out our contact form. From our offices in Wilmington, Seaford, and Newark, we proudly represent clients throughout the state.
Related Truck Accident Articles
- Online Software is Helping Truck Drivers Learn How to Avoid Accidents by Teaching Better Driving Skills
- New Truck Underride Guard Safety Standards are Helping Reduce Underride Accidents
- Pickup Truck Crashes into Delaware Home
- Box Truck Crash Kills Driver on Delaware’s DuPont Highway
- Electric Trucks and More: The Future of Trucking