Commercial trucks often use South Dakota's roads and highways. Whether it's 18-wheelers transporting cattle, tanker trucks delivering fuel, or delivery trucks filled with retail goods, all different types of commercial vehicles travel throughout the state. Many long-haul truckers also pass through the state in 18-wheelers on cross-country trips.
When accidents happen involving such large vehicles, the consequences can be very serious. Due to their large size, the resulting injuries can be catastrophic or even fatal. The truck accident attorneys at Northern Plains Justice help injury victims get the compensation they rightfully deserve.
Types of Truck Accidents Our Personal Injury Attorneys Handle
There are many different types of truck accidents. Each one presents its own unique legal challenges that need to be addressed in specific ways. Some of the most common types of truck accidents we deal with at our law firm include:
- Highway truck accidents. Truck accidents on the highway often result in serious injuries or fatalities. South Dakota recently raised the speed limit on I-90 and I-29 to 80 mph in many sections. As a result, truck drivers now have even less time to slow down to avoid crashing into other cars.
- Rear-end truck accidents. When these accidents involve large commercial trucks, they're often very serious. Many drivers sustain serious head and neck injuries due to large trucks driving into the back of their vehicles. Fatal rear-end truck accidents are also common given the force involved.
- Underride accidents. Underride truck accidents occur when a car drives underneath the rear end of a tractor-trailer and gets caught there. As you might expect, such accidents often result in life-altering injuries (spinal cord injuries, neck injuries, etc.) and even death.
- Jackknife accidents. Jackknife truck accidents involve the trailer of an 18-wheeler truck folding back into itself. As a result, the trailer and the cab of the truck form a 90-degree angle, resembling a jackknife. What makes these accidents so serious is other vehicles can get caught between the truck's cab and trailer. When that happens, the other vehicle can get crushed.
- Rollover accidents. Rollover accidents involving tractor-trailers, delivery trucks, tanker trucks, and other large vehicles often occur because the truck driver was going too fast or tried to turn too quickly. Once a truck rolls over, the driver has no control of the vehicle.
- Fatal truck accidents. If a loved one has died in an accident caused by a commercial truck driver, it's hard to know what to do next. Most people rightly want to take time to grieve the loss of a loved one. That's why we want to help. We can handle every aspect of your accident investigation, from gathering evidence to reviewing the official accident report. That way, your accident will receive the attention it rightfully deserves.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents happen for many different reasons. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Speeding. Commercial truck drivers are under tremendous pressure to complete deliveries as quickly as possible. That's why truck drivers drive so fast, especially on interstate highways. But what many people might not realize is that larger, heavier trucks need more time and space to slow down. That's why accidents involving speeding trucks are so serious.
- Tired truck drivers. Strict federal laws exist regarding how long commercial truck drivers can stay on the road before they're required to take a mandatory break. Such rules exist because it's common for truck drivers to fall asleep at the wheel due to working long hours without a break. Unfortunately, some truck drivers ignore those laws and end up causing serious asleep-at-the-wheel accidents, especially on the state's wide-open highways.
- Distracted truck drivers. Truck drivers, especially tractor-trailer drivers, have to pay attention to so many different things while they're operating a large vehicle. As a result, truck drivers can easily become distracted and cause a serious accident. That's why the federal government has banned all CDL drivers from texting while driving and operating a handheld cellphone while driving nationwide. Even so, some truck drivers continue to do so and put everyone on the road at risk.
- Inexperienced drivers. Driving a large commercial truck takes a tremendous amount of skill. That's why inexperienced truck drivers can be so dangerous. These drivers might not have ever encountered certain scenarios such as black ice or high crosswinds that make it difficult to control a large truck. They might also be unfamiliar with certain highways or roads.
- Drunk drivers. Drinking and driving are always a dangerous combination. Add in large trucks that can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, and you have a recipe for disaster.
- Drivers who abuse prescription or illegal drugs. In an effort to stay awake and drive longer hours, some truck drivers take prescription or illegal drugs. As a result, these impaired truck drivers are not fully alert while they're operating a commercial truck.
- Poorly maintained trucks. Trucking companies have an obligation to properly maintain their trucks. This includes routine maintenance such as regular oil changes, making sure the truck's brakes work, and verifying that all the truck's tires have enough tread. Trucking companies also need to perform more significant repairs or replace the truck altogether in certain circumstances. Otherwise, unsafe trucks can cause serious or fatal truck accidents.
Get the Help You Need to Move Forward
Even if the cause of your truck accident seems clear-cut, there's no guarantee that you will be compensated for your crash.
The laws governing trucks driven by people with a commercial driver's license (CDL) can be confusing. In addition to state laws, many federal laws also apply to accidents involving CDL drivers.
Unlike car accidents, truck accidents often involve the driver as well as several different companies—the company that owns the truck, the one that loaded it, and the manufacturer of the goods on board. The cab and the trailer may have different insurance.
Fortunately, you're not alone. The attorneys at Northern Plains Justice know all the rules and regulations governing accidents caused by commercial trucks. That's because we have been working with people injured in truck accidents for years. Our law firm has a well-earned reputation for successfully resolving such complex cases.
Contact Experienced Sioux Falls Truck Accident Attorneys Today
We realize you might want to take a break after your truck accident, but the reality is you only have a limited time to take legal action and gather the evidence you need to build a strong case. That's why you need us fighting for your rights every step of the way. We offer a free case evaluation to all clients, and you only pay if we win your case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.