As the demand for online shopping increases, so does the demand for truck drivers. Trucking companies frequently hire young, inexperienced truck drivers so they can fulfill their orders. Unfortunately, truck driver inexperience is one of the leading causes of truck accidents in the United States.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a truck accident caused by an inexperienced truck driver, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit or an insurance claim, and you need an experienced attorney on your side. Attorney Tim Reed has the experience, litigation skills, and resources necessary to aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve for your losses. Contact the Reed Firm today to schedule your free case evaluation and learn more about your legal options.
A Younger, Inexperienced Truck Driver Is Common in the Trucking Industry
Trucking is physically and mentally demanding, so it’s no surprise that aging truck drivers have been retiring. The rate at which truck drivers have been retiring has left a void in the industry, with fewer and fewer new truck drivers to fill that void. In fact, the transportation industry has identified the need for new truck drivers as a crisis because trucking is an essential part of our economy.
We must encourage new truck drivers to gain experience, but trucking companies must make sure that the newer drivers are properly trained and abide by the law. Studies have shown that young, inexperienced drivers increase truck accident rates. Some of the most common types of accidents caused by inexperienced drivers include the following:
- Side-impact collisions
- Underride collisions
- Jackknifing impacts
- Rear-end collisions
- Wide-turn accidents
- Blind-spot collisions
Why Is An Inexperienced Driver More Likely to Cause Accidents?
Driving a commercial truck is not the same as driving a passenger vehicle. Doing so requires a special skill set, knowledge, and experience. For example, truck drivers must utilize certain driving strategies for maneuvering large, semi-trucks. They are bound by specific maintenance and inspection rules. They must be sure to log their hours of service to ensure they don’t drive while fatigued.
Practice makes perfect, and inexperienced truck drivers are more likely to miss a step when they first hit the road. That’s why many new drivers are accompanied by more experienced drivers who can share their wisdom. But there is no substitute for firsthand experience, and until inexperienced drivers become comfortable driving a tractor-trailer, the risk of an accident will remain increased.
An Inexperienced Driver May Not React Safely in Inclement Weather
Truck drivers often encounter inclement weather like heavy rain, fog, and snow, and inexperienced truck drivers need to learn how to drive safely under those conditions. That includes learning how to navigate bad roads and knowing when to simply take a break from driving. More experienced truck drivers know how to drive in bad weather, and they also know when it’s best to pull over and stop driving.
Inexperienced Drivers May Not Properly Maintain Their Trucks
Inexperienced drivers must learn how to inspect and maintain their semi-trucks properly. Companies frequently cut corners and do not adequately train their drivers about what parts of their vehicles must be inspected before driving. For example, new drivers must learn how to implement effective, pre-trip inspections of their brakes, tires, and lights. Without that experience, truck drivers are more likely to be involved in serious, semi-truck accidents, posing a major risk to other motorists.
Common Injuries Caused in Truck Accidents
Semi-truck accidents account for over 100,000 injuries yearly. Common injuries include neck and back injuries, head injuries, and broken bones. Injuries are often severe and result in a lifetime of complications and impairments. In other cases, victims unfortunately lose their lives. Semi-truck accidents account for 11 percent of all auto accident fatalities.
Can I Sue the Trucking Company?
Trucking companies have a legal obligation to properly screen and train their employees, and US Department of Transportation (USDOT) regulations require trucking companies to follow certain rules when hiring drivers. The regulations also require trucking companies to maintain an up-to-date driving history for each of their drivers. When trucking companies don’t follow the rules, you can sue the company directly.
To recover compensation from the trucking company directly, you’ll need to show that the company itself was negligent. For example, you may be able to show that the company engaged in negligent hiring practices or allowed a known, dangerous driver on the road. But even if you can’t prove direct negligence on the part of the trucking company, it will likely be enough to show that the driver was negligent, in which case the company will be responsible for that negligence, provided the driver is an employee of the trucking company at the time of the crash.
That said, trucking companies often claim that their drivers are independent contractors, not employees, in which case the trucking company would not be liable for the truck driver’s negligence. When you work with a skilled, trucking attorney, he or she can determine who is liable for your injuries. It could be the truck driver, the trucking company, a third-party driver or company, or a combination of multiple parties.
Damages Available in Trucking Accident Cases
Plaintiffs can pursue both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include past and future medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and other quantifiable expenses. Non-economic damages include losses that are harder to quantify, like the pain, suffering, and mental anguish a victim endures.
When a person dies due to an inexperienced truck driver accident, the deceased’s family can pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. In those cases, successful plaintiffs can recover medical expenses, as well as funeral and burial expenses. They can also pursue compensation for their loved one’s lost income, pain and suffering, and “loss of life.” Finally, certain family members can pursue compensation for their own mental anguish.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Little Rock Truck Accident Attorney
If you’ve been involved in a Little Rock truck accident with an inexperienced truck driver, attorney Tim Reed is here to help. Trucking companies have commercial insurance companies and attorneys who will promptly come to their defense when their drivers cause accidents. When you work with Tim Reed, you can rest assured that he will use his legal skills and vast resources to level the playing field for you. He knows how to hold trucking and insurance companies accountable and will tirelessly advocate for you. Contact the Reed Firm today to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation case evaluation.