In Arizona, a “truck” is defined as any motor vehicle used primarily for carrying property other than the personal property of the driver or passengers. This may include delivery trucks, 18-wheelers, box trucks, tow trucks, and a variety of large, commercial vehicles.
Because many of these trucks are commercial vehicles, the process when a truck accident occurs is a bit different than a typical collision or auto accident involving a car or motorcycle. Knowing what to expect and understanding potential situations and outcomes can be incredibly helpful when attempting to navigate a truck accident case.
Arizona Truck Accidents
A recent Crash Facts report from the Arizona Department of Transportation, there were more than 129,000 motor vehicle accidents in Arizona in 2019. As a result of these accidents, more than 54,000 people were injured. Trucks account for more than 2,500 of those accidents annually. The number of people injured and killed in truck accidents nearly doubled from 2009 to 2016, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The time needed for an 18-wheeler, or semi truck to stop is approximately 40 times greater than the time needed for a car to stop. This puts these trucks at greater risk for collision, especially in urban and densely populated areas where traffic is more common.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
As with other auto accidents, truck accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. According to the FMCSA, there are 3 main types of truck accidents:
- Running out of the travel lane, either into another lane or off the road
- Vehicle loss of control due to traveling too fast for conditions, cargo shift, vehicle systems failure, or poor road conditions
- Colliding with the rear end of another vehicle in the truck’s travel lane
In addition to the above classifications, the FMCSA has further broken down the most common causes and occurrences of truck-involved accidents:
- Decision (38%): The driver was driving irresponsibly, too fast for conditions, misjudged the speed of other vehicles on the road, or followed too closely
- Recognition (28%): The driver was inattentive, distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle, or failed to observe the situation adequately for some other reason
- Non-performance (12%): The driver fell asleep, was disabled by a heart attack or seizure, or was otherwise physically impaired
- Vehicle (10%): Vehicle-specific failure, such as engine or brake problems
- Performance (9%): The driver panicked, overcompensated, or exercised poor directional control
- Environment (3%): Fog, heavy rain, other bad weather or roadway problems
Trucking Accident Injuries
Because trucks can weigh significantly more than the average automobile on the road, damage and injuries are often significantly greater. Trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, while the average car weighs about 4,000. Injuries sustained in trucking accidents are often far more severe than those involving two passenger vehicles.
Common truck accident injuries include:
- Back, neck, and spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries, or TBI
- Broken Bones
Phoenix Truck Accidents – What You Need to Know
Arizona awards economic and non-economic damages in truck accident settlements and lawsuits. Economic damages include monetary losses as a result of the accident. This covers medical bills, physical therapy, lost wages, property damage, and other quantifiable expenses. Non-economic damages are trickier to calculate. These include intangible items that may not have a direct dollar value, such as pain and suffering, counseling for grief or emotional trauma, and potential future lost earnings.
In rare cases, the courts will also award punitive damages in the case of a negligent driver or trucking company. If a trucking company or truck driver knowingly ignored safety laws or displayed extreme signs of dangerous driving that caused the crash, this may result in a significantly higher truck accident payout, considering the additional damages. These damages are not common, and typically come into play if the accident resulted in a fatality or lifelong disability due to the negligence of the truck driver.
Contact An Experienced Phoenix Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, contact the injury accident lawyers at Stewart Law Group. From medical bills to future lost earnings, we are here to assist you and take care of your case so you can focus on healing after your accident.
Our experienced truck accident lawyers have extensive experience and know how to make sure you get the care and coverage needed after your accident.