Causes of Truck Accidents

Written By: The Champion Firm Team

Date Posted: 07.11.24

Category: Motor Vehicle Accidents

Commercial trucks are a necessary part of our everyday lives. They transport goods, from groceries to construction supplies, and significantly contribute to our economy. However, large trucks also present significant danger on roads. For this reason, truck accidents are a particularly common occurrence.

But what exactly causes truck accidents? Several factors can contribute to a semi-truck collision. Determining the cause of your wreck is crucial to figuring out who is responsible and seeking proper compensation for your related injuries and losses. A Smyrna truck accident lawyer can help you determine liability and navigate legal procedures.

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Truck Accident Cases are Particularly Complex

More often than not, truck accident cases are complicated to navigate. There are many details you’re more likely to encounter in a trucking collision claim than other types of accident claims, like car and motorcycle crashes. This is one of the primary reasons why it’s crucial to have a skilled attorney handle your case on your behalf.

The Trucking Industry is Highly Regulated

Trucking, as a whole, can be hazardous. Therefore, in an effort to keep individuals involved in the trucking industry and others on the road safe, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets forth strict regulations.

Many times, trucking collisions are the result of some party violating one or more of these rules. Therefore, it’s important to determine what violations occurred, as proving the transgression can help your case. A knowledgeable truck accident attorney is best equipped, as they have a unique familiarity and understanding of these trucking laws.

Insurance Claims are More Challenging

Accident Injury Insurance ClaimDealing with insurance companies isn’t easy to begin with, especially when you’re filing a claim for a truck accident. Due to their massive size and weight, minimum insurance requirements for commercial trucks are much greater than regular vehicles. Depending on certain details, including the size of the truck and the type of cargo being transported, insurance policies can be in the six and seven-figure range.

When insurance companies have more to lose, they’ll work as hard as they need to to try to protect their money and avoid paying out what your claim is actually worth. Consequently, dealing with insurance companies in trucking collision cases is much tougher and requires the skill of a truck accident lawyer.

Determining the Cause of a Trucking Collision Can be Difficult

Truck accidents can happen for many different reasons, and sometimes, there is more than one cause. Oftentimes, getting down to the bottom of what caused your trucking collision can be harder than you’d think. While burdensome, it is vital, as figuring out the cause of your crash helps you determine who can be held liable. A thorough investigation may be necessary to get the answers you need.

Several Parties Could be Liable for a Commercial Truck Accident

Not only can there be multiple causes of your trucking accident, but also several liable parties. Depending on the cause of your crash, at-fault parties for a truck collision can include:

  • Truck drivers
  • Truck driver employers
  • Trucking companies
  • Cargo loaders
  • Truck maintenance workers
  • Truck manufacturers
  • Governmental entities

When more than one party is responsible for your accident, you may have to deal with numerous insurance companies, complicating your case. A truck accident lawyer can figure out who would be financially liable to you for your accident injuries and do everything necessary to pursue a fair result.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

As previously mentioned, trucking collisions can happen for several reasons. The following are some of the top reasons for commercial truck crashes.


Speeding is a significant issue on the roads, especially for truck drivers. Truckers are often in a rush to get to their destinations on time, causing them to drive faster than the posted speed limit.

When drivers speed, they endanger themselves and others around them and increase the likelihood of a crash. Speeding increases stopping time and distance, heightens the degree of crash severity, and reduces the effectiveness of vehicle safety features. A truck accident caused by speeding usually results in much more severe injuries, as a speeding truck is particularly dangerous.

Distracted Driving

Distractions are ever-present on today’s roads. It’s up to drivers to not give in to distractions and stay focused on their driving. Otherwise, there can be detrimental consequences.

Driving so many hours at a time, truck drivers often become bored and easily distracted. Common distractions for truckers include:

  • Eating
  • Texting
  • Talking on the phone
  • Changing the radio station
  • Grooming
  • Daydreaming

Driving while distracted is unsafe for any driver, but especially drivers of large commercial vehicles.

Traffic Violations

Unfortunately, many truck drivers look at road rules as mere suggestions, not the law. Truckers often feel comfortable violating traffic laws, engaging in dangerous behaviors such as:

  • Running red lights and stop signs
  • Following too closely
  • Failing to yield

Rules are rules for a reason. Any traffic violation, whether major or minor, can result in a trucking accident.

Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue is one of the biggest issues for truck drivers. Time matters when transporting cargo from point A to point B. To ensure timely deliveries, trucking employers often put pressure on their drivers to drive longer hours to get to their destinations faster.

The FMCSA has hours of service regulations that dictate how long drivers can drive before needing to take breaks and specifies how long rest periods must be before drivers can return to work. Still, trucking companies often violate these rules by forcing drivers to skip breaks and minimize their rest times.

Driving while drowsy is risky for any driver, but especially for truck drivers. Fatigue can actually have similar effects on the body as alcohol, causing slowed reaction times, impaired judgment, and an increase in the likelihood of falling asleep behind the wheel.

Driving Under the Influence

Another common problem truck drivers face is substance abuse issues. Trucking is a lonely occupation, and truckers often spend long periods of time away from home. This regularly results in excessive drinking and drug use.

Impaired driving is illegal in every state, with good reason. A drunk driver cannot drive safely and responsibly like they can when they’re completely sober. Impaired driving is even more unsafe for truck drivers, as operating a large commercial truck is much more difficult than a regular vehicle.

Inadequate Training and Experience

Truck drivers must go through extensive education and training to get their commercial driver’s license. They must also gain experience to ensure they have adequate skills to properly and safely operate large trucks.

When a truck driver does not have the right training or insufficient experience, they’re more likely to endanger themselves and those around them. In an accident caused by a lack of skills, the truck driver’s employer can be at fault for not ensuring their driver had the right tools to do their job right.

Defects and Malfunctions

At any moment, something can go wrong with a truck. From brake failure to an unforeseeable tire problem, a defect or malfunction can substantially affect a trucker’s ability to maintain control over their vehicle.

An issue with a truck may be due to improper maintenance and repairs. Alternatively, a defect or malfunction can be due to a bad design or problem during manufacturing or distribution.

Hazardous Road Conditions

Dangerous road conditions can cause a truck driver to lose control of their vehicle and cause an accident. Some of the common road hazards that most often result in collisions include:Hazardous Road Conditions

  • Cracked, broken pavement
  • Large potholes
  • Uneven lanes
  • Inadequate road maintenance
  • Poorly designed roads
  • Insufficient merging space
  • Missing or defective road signs and lights
  • Debris and other obstructions
  • Shoulder drop offs

Cities and governmental entities are usually in charge of maintaining their roads. If your trucking collision is caused by road conditions, you can pursue compensation from the appropriate entity.

Improperly Loaded Cargo

The way cargo is loaded in a commercial vehicle matters. Cargo must be properly placed and secured to ensure it remains in place during transport. When cargo shifts during the trip, it can cause issues with weight distribution and make it more challenging for a truck driver to operate the vehicle.

Negligent Hiring

Employers have the responsibility of performing sufficient background checks on their drivers before offering employment. Before hiring a truck driver, an employer should look into their criminal background and driving history. This not only helps protect others but also safeguards the employer from potential liability.

When an employer negligently hires a driver without doing their due diligence, the driver may engage in wrongful actions and harm others. When this happens, the trucker’s employer may be liable for the actions of their driver while they were on the job.

Injuries from Trucking Collisions Can Be Serious and Life-Threatening 

The type of truck accident injuries you sustain from an accident and the severity of these injuries depends on many details, including the cause of your collision. Still, commercial truck crash injuries are usually severe and often life-altering. Some of the most common injuries resulting from trucking collisions include:

  • Burns
  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Back and spinal cord injuries
  • Crush injuries

Truck accident injuries don’t just impact a victim in the short term. In many cases, injuries can worsen and result in serious complications that affect a person for a lifetime. Consequences from trucking collision injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Amputations
  • Paralysis
  • Brain damage
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Nerve damage
  • Chronic pain
  • Hearing or vision loss

Additionally, the impacts of a truck accident aren’t just physical. The trauma of a trucking collision can result in mental and emotional issues like depression and PTSD.

Pursuing Compensation Following a Truck Accident

After a truck accident, you deserve to seek justice and compensation from the responsible party. Your path toward financial recovery depends on the details of your case.

You may have the opportunity to file an insurance claim for compensation. When you file your claim, the insurance company will investigate the collision to decide whether to approve or deny your claim. If you receive approval, the insurance company will provide a settlement offer based on what they believe your case to be worth.

Depending on how your claim goes or whether you can file an insurance claim at all, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury claim allows you to seek monetary damages with the court’s help.

Regardless of what your journey to compensation looks like, you can rely on your truck accident attorney to handle your claim every step of the way. Your lawyer can assess your case to decide how best to pursue financial recovery and do everything necessary to get you the most beneficial case result.

Damages for Commercial Truck Crashes

Compensatory damages provide monetary recovery for your truck accident-related injuries, losses, and expenses. You can pursue economic and non-economic damages, such as:Commercial Truck Crashes

  • Present and future medical and rehabilitation expenses
  • Lost earnings
  • Diminished or lost earning potential
  • Property damage
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Under certain circumstances, you may also have the opportunity to pursue punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, which compensate victims, punitive damages serve to punish defendants for their grossly negligent or intentional wrongdoings.

How much your truck accident claim is worth depends on several crucial factors, including the severity of your injuries, the total cost of your medical care, and how your injuries have and will impact your life. Your truck accident lawyer can evaluate these and other vital details to assign value to your claim and pursue full and fair compensation.

A Skilled Truck Accident Attorney Can Determine the Cause of Your Collision and Handle Your Case

Following a commercial trucking collision, do not wait to seek legal guidance from a seasoned truck accident attorney. Among the many tasks your lawyer can handle, they can investigate your collision to determine the cause of the crash. Doing so helps provide direction concerning liability and propels your case forward.

Time is limited to take action and seek financial recovery for your losses. Consult with a personal injury attorney in Smyrna as soon as you can to get started on your case.

About the Author

The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C. is a full-service personal injury law firm serving the greater Metro Atlanta area. Our award-winning team of attorneys specializes in car accidents, wrongful death, premises liability, and slip-and-fall cases. Learn more about our team here.