Vehicle accidents occur every day in Wilmington. From local side streets, to highways and even parking lots, accidents are simply a fact of life that can happen anywhere. When an accident involves a semi-truck, though, it is likely to be on a highway where vehicles travel at high rates of speed, or at an intersection where the potential for a head-on or “t-bone” collision is high. Consequently, truck accidents can be severely damaging and victims may have a variety of accident-related expenses.
If an accident victim believes their injuries were caused by negligence in some manner, an experienced truck accident attorney can help uncover the root cause of that negligence. In an 18-wheeler accident, such negligence can take many forms. It may come in the form of an inattentive truck driver who was texting while driving, or a negligent company that hired unqualified drivers, or negligent truck maintenance that caused the truck itself to be dangerous on the road. Negligence may also come in the form of truck driver fatigue, which itself may be due to a negligent driver or a company that urges its drivers to violate laws and regulations.
Why is it so important to discover the true cause of a truck accident? Knowing how and why a truck accident happened is key for the victim. If negligence can be demonstrated effectively, it is more likely that a victim will receive compensation for damages. In addition, in a civil personal injury suit, the defendant may also have lawyers working hard on his or her side to claim that an accident was caused by something other than negligence — they may even blame the victim for the incident.
The attorneys at Murphy & Landon have extensive resources available to investigate the causes of an accident and determine exactly who was at fault and why. Moreover, our skilled personal injury lawyers are also experienced in showing the extent of injuries caused by an accident and how these injuries have affected the victim. For help uncovering the cause of an accident, a victim of truck driver or truck company negligence can contact Murphy & Landon for a consultation. Our website has more information about our firm and about truck accident litigation.
When most Delaware residents look back on their time spent learning to drive, they probably remember many different things. One such remembrance is probably the term “defensive driving,” which can be defined in several ways but which overall stresses the importance of incident avoidance. This critical concept also applies to truck drivers, perhaps even more so than to passenger car operators.
For any truck driver, avoiding a truck accident should be a top priority at all times. One overarching concept that can aid greatly in this is the approach of defensive driving. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, defensive driving is operating one’s truck in a manner that deliberately tries to avoid the careless or aggressive actions of others. Three main points stressed by the FMCSA include a safe following distance, alertness and keeping at a safe rate of speed.
Interestingly, a majority of the crashes that happen when drivers change lanes are due to drivers not fully realizing another vehicle is in the next lane – usually in their “blind spot,” which many drivers have to turn around to check. Both truck drivers and passenger car drivers are responsible for making sure no one is in the lane into which they are trying to merge.
For truck drivers especially, it’s critical to check their multiple blind spots each and every time they change lanes so as to not accidentally strike another car or truck. Most lane-change crashes are actually caused by lighter vehicles, so truck drivers must always be vigilant to avoid causing crashes or getting involved in one. An inattentive truck driver can easily miss the chance to utilize an evasive maneuver to get out of another vehicle’s way.
Avoiding 18-wheeler accidents is important for everyone on Delaware’s roads. Trucking accidents can instantly produce very serious injuries and even death for both truck drivers and passenger drivers. By utilizing defensive driving techniques, commercial vehicle operators can help do their part to keep Delaware’s roads safe.
Source: FMCSA, “CMV Driving Tips – Inadequate Surveillance,” accessed Aug. 15, 2016
What happens after a truck accident on one of Delaware’s roads? If the accident victim is a Wilmington local he or she can find a strong ally in the attorneys at Murphy & Landon. Knowing what to do after a collision with a semi-truck is just a part of the process of obtaining compensation for injuries. Determining who was at fault is another large piece of the puzzle, one that the legal team at Murphy & Landon has much experience with.
If truck accidents are caused by the negligence of a truck driver, by an unqualified truck driver or by negligent truck maintenance, to name just a few causes, the accident victim is likely to be entitled to compensation for his or her injuries. However, this is not a simple task, as a single accident can sometimes be caused by many different factors.
The legal team at Murphy & Landon understands how to conduct a thorough accident investigation that focuses on what, specifically, caused both the crash itself as well as the particular injuries stemming from the crash. With that knowledge, a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit can then move forward.
Since the injuries caused by a truck accident are often extensive due to the size and weight differential between a car and a truck, the medical bills may be overwhelming for accident victims. Thus, it’s critical that they obtain legal help as soon as possible in order to get the process started. An experienced truck accident attorney can explain any issues involving statute of limitations and the timing of a potential lawsuit.
Residents of Delaware who routinely travel on the state’s highways and byways are probably accustomed to sharing the road with large trucks and other massive vehicles, ranging from buses to snow plows and beyond. Typically, drivers exercise a bit more caution around these huge vehicles for obvious reasons: getting into a wreck with one of these conveyances is often extremely catastrophic. However, when it comes to truck accidents in general, many question what causes them.
What are some of the more common causes of truck accidents? It’s important to know that truck crashes can be caused by a passenger car driver, by a truck driver, by both or by a third party who may or may not have been involved in the crash itself. For accidents caused by truck drivers themselves, some of the more common causes involve driving too fast and driving without the level of alertness needed for a potentially dangerous activity.
Since large semi trucks are often significantly heavier than passenger cars, they typically need much more time to come to a stop in order to avoid an accident. A truck driver who is simply speeding may be committing a grievous error should he or she need to stop quickly to avoid a hazard.
Likewise, truck drivers or their employers may be at fault for drowsy driving, which results in an accident. Truckers often spend long hours on the road, yet driving is an activity that demands constant attention. Taking one’s eyes away from the road for a second can prove devastating; falling asleep behind the wheel or being drowsy enough to have a longer reaction time can easily lead to a deadly or damaging incident.
Moreover, inadequate truck driver training is another common cause of harmful accidents; truckers must follow many rules and regulations and also be able to perform common vehicle checks and maneuver their rig skillfully. Without the proper training, cutting corners can lead to serious injuries or worse.
Knowing the main causes of truck accidents may help the drivers of passenger cars as well as truck drivers be safer on the road. Unfortunately, truck accidents – like all motor vehicle accidents – can have a huge variety of causes and it’s impossible to predict every wreck on Delaware’s roads. Individuals and families who have been affected by truck accidents have a lot to deal with, from knowing their legal rights and options to receiving compensation for damages done to them.
Source: FindLaw, “Common causes of truck accidents,” accessed June 26, 2016
Memorial Day Weekend has come and gone, and many in Delaware have either already hit the road for traveling or are planning to do so in the near future. Summertime road trips can be a memorable annual event, but steering clear of some of the dangers involved can help keep this tradition alive.
For residents of Delaware, a trip to various popular vacation destinations usually means getting on the interstates and sharing the road with countless others. Some of these other vehicles inevitably include large semi-trucks hauling their loads across the country. Understandably, driving near these massive vehicles makes some people nervous, and for good reason. Truck accidents can be particularly devastating when an 18-wheeler collides with a smaller passenger car. Regardless of the type of collision it is often catastrophic for the person in the smaller car, and often for the truck driver as well. Thus, avoiding truck accidents is a goal everyone can appreciate all summer long.
One of the most basic safety precautions regarding trucks on the interstate is increased following distance. Too short of a distance between cars is the cause of countless unnecessary wrecks, but this is especially important with semis. A huge semi-truck can create a wind current of its own that affects the stability and handling of other vehicles, particularly those following closely behind, motorcycles and vehicles that are hauling loads of their own such as boats on trailers or campers.
According to the well-known roadside service AAA, motorists can do themselves a favor by simply not following semi trucks too closely. A few moments of patience can save a driver – and his or her passengers – a lifetime of trauma. Rear-ending a truck can cause extremely serious injury, fatal wounds, a multi-vehicle accident and more. For survivors, affording medical care and rehabilitation can be a tremendous challenge. For family members of deceased victims, the devastation can be endless. An experienced truck accident attorney can investigate negligence in relation to a truck accident and determine if it caused a damaging incident.
Source: AAA, “Driving Around Big Trucks,” accessed May 31, 2016
Many Delaware residents have probably either experienced a car accident or witnessed one. If not, almost everyone has glimpsed examples of negligent driving at some point. Unfortunately, bad drivers are everywhere, from passenger vehicles to huge semi trucks. Negligent truck drivers, though, can cause much more damage than the driver of a passenger car, even though all irresponsible drivers have the potential to wreak havoc. Victims of both truck accidents and car accidents can explore their options with the aid of a Wilmington personal injury attorney.
In Delaware, one must meet certain requirements before they are able to obtain a CDL, or commercial driver’s license. This special type of license is the kind held by most truck drivers and other commercial drivers. Most of the time these drivers have a special skill set and perform their jobs with the utmost of precaution, but just one reckless commercial driver is far too many.
In order to help prevent unqualified truck drivers from getting behind the wheel of commercial vehicles, Delaware restricts CDL eligibility to those who have driving records clear of certain offenses. The list of disqualifying offenses includes past operation of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a refusal to take a breath test or leaving an accident scene. More disqualifying offenses include the use of a motor vehicle to commit a felony-level crime, even if that crime is not a traffic offense, and operation of a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 or higher. In addition, a person cannot obtain a CDL license in Delaware if their regular driver’s license is currently suspended, revoked, cancelled, denied or disqualified.
Recovering from an 18-wheeler accident can be incredibly lengthy and difficult. Such recovery is even more difficult if the accident was caused by an unqualified truck driver. Some unscrupulous employers may hire drivers even knowing they have past records of dangerous driving. Such truck companies may retain drivers even if they have caused an accident. In any case, the damage caused by these drivers can easily involve serious injuries or even death. A Delaware truck accident attorney may be able to help.
Source: The State of Delaware, “Driver Services: Commercial Driver’s Licenses,” accessed May 21, 2016
In today’s technology-driven world, monitoring devices can be used to improve the safety of many different things. Local parents might use a baby monitor to keep watch on a newborn, while home and business owners might utilize surveillance cameras to keep a digital eye on their surroundings. In any event, these devices are usually used with safety as their underlying purpose. In some cases, though, when monitoring devices are mandated in the name of safety, opposition arises.
According to a legal brief recently filed in a U.S. Court of Appeals, a government mandate centering on monitoring devices in commercial vehicles will not solve the truck accident problem in America. The brief, filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, argued that the mandate, a new FMCSA regulation, is arbitrary, in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and does not even improve safety.
The recent regulation aims to have interstate truckers put electronic monitoring devices in their vehicles. The devices would record a truck’s movement and location; however, the OOIDA notes that this would not be much of an improvement over the current paper trucking log system, since the devices cannot input changes in duty status without the driver actually entering that data in. Thus, the OOIDA argues, the regulation is not in compliance with a statute requiring ELMs, or electronic monitoring devices, to correctly and automatically record changes in drivers’ duty status.
The regulation was finalized last year for all interstate commercial vehicles from the year 2000 and newer. It remains to be seen what the outcome of the OOIDA’s brief will be, although it is sure to keep those in the industry paying attention. Also likely to want to know more are those who have been affected by 18-wheeler accidents and the tremendous damage they can cause. Truck driver fatigue is a serious problem and one that is at the root of many truck accidents in Delaware. For legal advice and information regarding truck driver fatigue and negligence, a personal injury attorney can help.
Source: American Journal of Transportation, “Truckers say monitoring device mandate won’t improve safety and violates constitutional rights,” March 31, 2016
When a person in Delaware attends driver’s education, he or she learns various tips and tricks to stay safe on the road. For truck drivers, there is an added responsibility of handling a relatively massive vehicle that has the power to easily cause serious injuries or death if they are in an accident. Trucking safety is always evolving, and avoiding truck accidents should be a huge priority for truckers and their employers.
Perhaps contrary to popular assumption, most truck accidents actually occur during the daytime, in good weather and on dry, non-curved pavement. Not surprisingly, given this information, countless truck accidents are avoidable. Of course, all drivers have the responsibility of following the rules of the road and not driving in a negligent manner. For a truck driver, negligence can take many forms, including not paying attention. An inattentive truck driver has the potential to cause a lot of damage in a moment of distraction.
Truck drivers are often taught to be aware of smaller cars driving around them on the road. Indeed, a car can easily drive into a truck’s large “blind spot” and be stuck there due to other traffic. Truck drivers need to exercise constant vigilance regarding their blind spots, just as drivers do. Unlike most passenger cars, trucks also have blind spots in front of them and directly behind them.
In some situations, a truck driver may let his or her vehicle drift backwards a bit before taking off–it’s helpful for passenger car drivers to maintain a safe distance from trucks even when at a stop, just as trucks must do regarding all other vehicles. Trucks making a turn must also be careful to avoid hitting cars alongside them; a smaller car can easily get run over by a slow-moving truck making a simple turn.
Regardless of whether one is driving on a freeway or a suburban street, awareness and vigilance can save a life and prevent a semi truck accident. Trucks and smaller cars can share the road safely. This accomplishment, though, requires constant attention from all types of drivers.
Source: National Traffic Safety Institute, “Truck Safety Tips,” accessed March 11, 2016
It is not unusual for residents of Delaware or any other state to undergo drug testing as part of their job. For some, it may be the final part of the initial hiring process, while for others it may be a random or routine element of keeping their job. For truck drivers, drug and alcohol testing is extremely important, as sobriety is critical for safely operating any motor vehicle, let alone a potentially dangerous truck.
Unfortunately, all too many truck accidents are caused by drivers who choose to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The U.S. Department of Transportation takes this problem seriously, however. Essentially, all Commercial Driver’s License drivers operating commercial vehicles are potentially subject to the Department of Transportation’s drug and alcohol testing. This does not just apply to full-time drivers; part-time drivers may also be tested as well as backup drivers, international drivers and intermittent drivers.
The Department of Transportation can test for marijuana, phencyclidine or PCP, cocaine, methamphetamines, amphetamines and opiates. These groups compose a wide variety of drug classifications, all of which can lead to serious injuries if these types of drugs are used on the job. The Department of Transportation may also test for alcohol-the tests will typically identify blood alcohol content of .02 and higher. Since Commercial Driver’s License drivers are often in charge of safely maneuvering huge and heavy vehicles or driving them at high rates of speed on our nation’s interstates, they are usually subject to stricter blood alcohol content limits than non-commercial drivers.
A person who has been hit by a drunk truck driver will likely never forget their accident. These wrecks can cause catastrophic injuries and death; a truck crash victim is often lucky to make it out alive. It is possible to hold an inattentive truck driver accountable whether or not he or she was using alcohol or drugs at the time of the incident. Uncovering negligence can be much easier with the help of a Delaware truck accident law firm.
Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “Who is Tested?” accessed Feb. 24, 2016
For most residents of the Wilmington area, health is an important area of concern in life. For truck drivers and others who make their living in the transportation industry, health can affect not only one’s job performance but also the safety of others. According to a recent report, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) included driver health among its top priorities for potential federal trucking regulations of the future.
There are lots of federal trucking regulations already in existence. The purpose behind many is to prevent dangerous truck accidents. Earlier this month, the NTSB released a list of “most wanted” regulations for trucking safety. These suggestions for regulations include a comprehensive approach to truck driver fatigue. A sleepy and inattentive truck driver can cause serious injuries or claim a life all too easily. It only takes a moment of inattention for a semi truck accident to alter the lives of everyone involved. As a result, the NTSB says that tackling the problem may require a combination of hours of service rules, scheduling policies, technological innovations, treatment of drivers’ sleep disorders and education as well as research and training.
In addition to their recommendation that driver fatigue be addressed in a thorough manner, the NTSB’s list also included technology that can help stave off collisions. According to the NTSB, federal agencies can help by not only developing standards of performance for these technologies, such as adaptive cruise control and blind stop detection, but also effectively gauge their capabilities.
Some may be surprised to learn that the NTSB does not have regulatory power, despite the fact that it is a government agency. Still, the NTSB’s recommendations are taken seriously by those who legislate on the subject of transportation regulations. For those who have already been in the unfortunate position of truck accident victim, receiving advice from an attorney can be of help. In some circumstances, victims of truck accidents can pursue compensation. A truck accident lawyer may be able to determine if negligence is behind a damaging wreck.
Source: Commercial Carrier Journal, “NTSB’s Annual ‘most wanted’ list names driver fatigue, driver health, safety tech as top priorities for regulators,” Matt Cole, Jan. 14, 2016