Truck Driver Negligence in Virginia Beach
Any driver behaving in a negligent manner poses a threat to you and your family and anyone else sharing the road. But negligence by the driver of a vehicle five times as large and heavy as the average sedan is particularly dangerous. There are many rules and regulations that truck drivers are required to follow. Failure to do so may mean they are liable for injuries in an accident they cause.
At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, we are well versed in Virginia and North Carolina truck accident law, and we know the federal regulations that truck drivers must adhere to. If you have been hurt in an accident with a large truck, speak to our Virginia Beach truck accident lawyers who can investigate whether that accident was caused by driver negligence.
Types of Truck Accidents
Large commercial trucks have a particular commercial purpose: delivering goods on time, often under demanding schedules. Those deadlines only add to the likelihood of an accident. Most wrecks involving big trucks are caused by driver error, recklessness or negligence. Drivers are 10 times more likely to be the cause of trucking wrecks than other factors like bad weather and poor maintenance.
Sources of truck accidents include:
- Truckers following too closely — Big rigs take much longer to stop than cars but drivers often follow too closely. A tractor-trailer takes about 525 feet to stop whereas it takes a car about 310 feet. The figure is double that distance in wet weather. Rear-enders are common types of tractor trailer accidents in Virginia.
- Speeding truck drivers – The Large Truck Crash Causation Study published in 2014 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) revealed traveling too fast for conditions was a factor in 23 percent of fatal wrecks.
- Failure to secure a load properly — Due care must be taken to make sure that cargo is properly stowed in the truck’s bed or cargo container. There are very specific requirements about how to load a tractor-trailer. Debris from a vehicle that causes an accident suggests that due care might not have been used. A shipping or a loading company can be liable for improperly secured cargoes. The driver also has an obligation to check for obvious loading hazards before he or she gets on the road.
- Distracted driving — Technology has increased the potential for distractions while on the road, and that potential is even more significant for truckers. Truck drivers rely heavily on radio, navigation equipment and communication with other parties. Collisions with other vehicles may be the result of distracted driving. Under federal regulations, it’s illegal for a truck driver to use a hand-held cellphone, either for texting or talking.
- Exhaustion —Lack of sleep and the danger that comes with it is a factor that every driver must confront on long trips. However, in the case of truck drivers, breaks and rest periods are mandated by federal law. Failure to follow those mandates may mean that fatigued truckers are liable for your accident. Read more about the federal hours of service rules
- Mechanical failures — A truck driver, a maintenance company and a trucking company can be held liable for mechanical failures. A recent report alluded to an increase in tire blow outs because truck drivers are traveling at speeds above the 75 mph limit that the tires were designed to handle. Brake failures are factors in as many as 29 percent of all fatal big truck crashes, according to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study.
It is critical to contact both police and an experienced truck accident lawyer immediately after a collision with a large truck so that evidence can be preserved and you have the best possible chance of recovering damages.
How We Can Help
With more than five decades of combined experience handling car and truck accident cases on Virginia roads, our attorneys know both state and federal laws surrounding truck driver negligence. We can:
- Determine the responsible party — Some commercial trucks are owned and operated so that several companies are involved. Our firm thoroughly investigates the parties to your accident so they do not escape liability.
- Review the details of the accident — Virginia’s laws on negligence bar someone from recovering compensation if they were even the slightest bit responsible for the crash. Small details can make a huge difference in your case. Our investigative staff reviews your accident to give you the best chance of success.
- Represent you in negotiations —Many clients wish to settle cases before proceeding to trial. Our firm is experienced at negotiating settlements that meet our clients’ needs.
We take pride in helping our clients recover from truck accident injuries, and we look forward to helping you understand your rights and options after such an accident.
To find out more about Virginia truck accidents, view our infographic.
Filing An Accident Claim
At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, we have more than 55 years of combined experience representing Virginians and people in North Carolina in accident cases involving truck driver negligence. We have helped people who have been very seriously injured in trucking crashes in Hampton Roads and western and northern Virginia as well as in other states. If you have been injured in a truck accident, contact our firm to find out more about your rights to claim against big rig drivers, the trucking companies and other parties in a free consultation.