Scottsdale Truck Accident Attorney

Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer in Scottsdale

With more large trucks than ever on the roads today, the number of collisions between passenger vehicles and semi tractor-trailers (18 wheelers) continues to rise. Although large trucks and semi-tractor trailer rigs are involved in only about 10% of all road and highway traffic accidents, virtually every single collision between an 18-wheeler and a passenger vehicle or smaller truck severely injures or kills the occupants of the smaller vehicles involved. Obviously, in cases where that smaller vehicle is a motorcycle or bicycle, the outcome is usually catastrophic or fatal.

Not all serious collisions between big trucks and passenger vehicles are the fault of the truck driver, truck owner, or trucking company the driver is hauling for. When the truck owners and operators are at fault, and when the collisions result in the wrongful death or serious personal injuries to the occupants of the smaller vehicle(s) involved, Arizona laws provide those victims and their surviving family members the right to file claims and lawsuits against the negligent parties.

Wrongful death and personal injury claims seek reimbursement of medical expenses, lost earnings, permanent disabilities, funeral expenses and all of the pain and suffering experienced by the victims and their surviving family members.

Causes of Truck Accidents in Arizona

When large trucks are on the road, their drivers are "on the clock" and usually running on tight schedules, with tight deadlines. Truck drivers facing missed deadlines also face lost earnings, so they often drive faster and less cautiously, which can result in serious or even fatal collisions with one or more passenger vehicles. Even those truck-automobile collisions that are not fatal usually cause serious and permanent injuries, including broken bones, scars, burns and all manner of back, neck, spinal cord and brain injuries. In addition to tight delivery deadlines, driver fatigue and working excess hours, truck accidents may be caused by shifting cargo, overweight cargo loads, worn tires or brakes, and a host of other preventable factors.

There are many types of large commercial vehicles, not all of which are "semis." There are dump trucks, large construction vehicles, moving vans, buses, tankers, and many more; but they all have a few things in common:

  1. They are generally much larger and can inflict more damage than ordinary passenger cars, pickups and SUVs.
  2. They are governed by different laws than those that apply to passenger vehicles; and
  3. Most of these vehicles are owned by corporate entities that will strongly defend even the most legitimate claims by injured victims -- or the survivors of drivers and passengers killed in the collisions; so victims and their families should always hire an experienced truck accident lawyer.

The sheer size and weight of trucks makes them the most potentially-dangerous and deadly vehicles on the road today, but why do truck crashes and collisions occur?

There are, or course, all of the same reasons that apply to car, pickup and SUV crashes, plus several additional reasons. As mentioned, the combination of tractor-trailer trucks' immense size, weight, and unique physical and design features greatly affect their braking ability, distance required to stop safely, their turning radius, and the major "blind spots" preventing truck drivers from being able to see small vehicles on the streets and highways. Other common causes of truck accidents include:

  • Speeding trucks
  • Aggressive and reckless truck drivers
  • Poor background screening of truck drivers
  • Poor training of truck drivers
  • Improper truck maintenance
  • Unsafe road conditions
  • Truck drivers drinking alcohol or drug use
  • Driving in conditions of poor visibility due to smoke, fog, snow or rain
  • Poorly maintained tires
  • Wide turns
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Missing and defective safety systems, reflectors, lights and other warning devices

Ironically, in most truck accidents caused by the trucker, the truck driver walks away unharmed, usually leaving his victims dead or suffering from severe and sometimes life-threatening injuries. If you have been the victim of a truck accident or your loved one is suffering in the aftermath, do not hesitate to retain the legal representation you truly deserve from The Watkin Law Office, PC.

The Likelihood of Trucking Accidents

Recent statistics show:

  • Out of all the truck accidents that occur in the U.S. each year, 25% of them involve 18 wheelers and large tractor trailers.
  • Each day there are 90 people that suffer injury or are killed due to a truck accident in the U.S.
  • Annually, more than 450,000 large trucks get into some kind of collision. These accidents affect more than 1,000,000 people.
  • Out of the 1,000,000 people affected, more than 5,000 people are killed from these accidents.
  • Approximately another 140,000 walk away with severe injuries.
  • Generally another 30% of those 140,000 injured are left with catastrophic damage.

It is advisable to seek legal assistance as soon as possible in order to determine whether you have grounds to file a claim for compensation. An experienced lawyer will be able to determine the viability of your case, and can also discuss the various legal options available to you. He or she can then put together as solid a case as possible to ensure that you are compensated for any harm or injury caused as a result of a truck accident.

Understanding Certain Legal Parameters Truck Accident Cases

You may have a series of questions you want answered before you progress with any legal action. The Watkin Law Office, PC is proud to provide you with valuable answers to some of your pressing concerns. Speak with our Scottsdale truck accident attorneys for further information.

Who can make a claim or seek financial compensation in a truck accident injury or death case?

Any innocent party who is injured in a truck accident can seek financial compensation as long as some other person or entity is at fault. Even minor children can seek monetary damages, provided they do so through a parent or guardian. In a wrongful death case, the immediate surviving family members can make a claim for their own pain, suffering and economic damages; and the decedent's estate can bring a claim for the medical expenses and certain other costs incurred on behalf of the deceased victim.

Who can be sued in a truck accident case?

Any person or entity that was at fault for causing the accident can be sued. Depending on the specific facts of each situation, this may include: the truck driver; the trucking company; the owner of tractor; the owner of the trailer; the shipper of the cargo; and all other persons or entities who in anyway caused or contributed to the accident. The manufacturer of the tractor, the trailer, the truck tires, the diesel engine, frame or any other components of the tractor or trailer involved in the accident may be sued if a their act or omission (including defective or dangerous parts) caused or contributed to the accident.

The use of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation (Title 49, Parts 350-399) is an important tool for victims (it may be YOU) to establish liability in truck cases and to show how the negligent conduct of the truck driver caused the collision. Various sections of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation, as well as the U.S. Department of Transportation Codes, are the most regularly used in litigation against defendants. Some of these regulations and codes are mentioned as follows:

  • §383 contains comprehensive uniform standards and qualifications needed to obtain Commercial Driver's Licenses. It deals with drug testing, required knowledge and skills of the drivers, driver's federal disqualification, employers' responsibilities and requirement to obtain a driver's license.
  • §385 imposes regulations on the trucking companies under the general category of Safety Fitness.
  • §387 sets the minimum levels of insurance coverage to be carried by trucking companies ($750,000 per carrier operating in interstate commerce and $1 million per carrier transporting hazardous cargo in interstate commerce.)
  • §390 deals with additional requirements imposed on the trucking companies.
  • §391 deals with the minimum physical and driver competency qualification of drivers and the duties of carriers with respect to insuring these qualifications are met.
  • §392 deals with the operation of motor vehicles. It directly deals with the driving practices under specific circumstances.
  • §393 deals with vehicle options necessary for safe operation. Thus, it regulates the mechanical condition of many parts of the rigs.
  • §395 sets out the hours of the service rules. This includes drivers' hours of operation, including maximum hours on duty, off-duty, and in sleeper berth.
  • §396 deals with the inspection, repair and maintenance of vehicles.
  • §397 deals with the transportation of hazardous materials, driving requirements and parking rules.

Searching for a reliable Scottsdale injury lawyer?

For a free confidential consultation to understand your rights, contact our office online or call at (480) 281-3838 to arrange a consultation.

When results matter, choose The Watkin Law Office, PC. We are a Scottsdale personal injury and wrongful death law firm that specializes in truck and car accidents, motorcycle accidents, boating accidents, and other serious personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout Arizona, including Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Peoria, Cave Creek, Carefree, Fountain Hills and Paradise Valley.

IMPORTANT: If insurance claims adjuster for the person or trucking company at fault calls to "interview" you, decline -- at least until after you have spoken with an attorney who is skilled in large truck accident injury and death cases. Despite what the insurance agent might tell you, he is NOT "just trying to help."