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Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Columbus, Ohio


Do You Have a Claim? Find Out From a Columbus Truck Accident Lawyer for Free

Truck accident victims in Columbus, Ohio, have clear legal rights. If you were seriously injured in a truck accident—or if a loved one was seriously or fatally injured in a truck accident—you should speak with a Columbus truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. You may be entitled to significant financial compensation, and an experienced lawyer will be able to help you seek the full compensation you deserve.

One of the first steps for seeking financial compensation after a truck accident is determining why the accident happened. Once you determine the cause of the accident, you can identify the company responsible. While there are several possibilities, you need to identify the specific cause or your (or your loved one’s accident) in order to pursue a case. This is one of many reasons why it is important to have an experienced Columbus truck accident lawyer on your side.

10 Common Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents in Columbus

When you hire an experienced lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will evaluate all possible causes of the accident in order to identify all viable claims. Based on this evaluation, your lawyer will then build a case for maximum compensation. Building a strong case requires evidence from the crash site (among other sources)—and this makes it important to hire a lawyer as soon as possible.

When we represent truck accident victims and their families at Malek & Malek Law Firm, we work quickly to investigate the crash site and determine where else evidence may be available. Traffic camera footage, cell phone photos and videos, trucking companies’ employment and maintenance records, and various other forms of evidence can all be useful for piecing together the cause of a serious or fatal crash. Using the available evidence, we then evaluate all possible causes, including common causes such as:

1. Truck Driver Fatigue

Safely driving an 18-wheeler or other large commercial truck requires constant attention to the task at hand. It also requires the ability to scan the road for potential hazards, and it requires the ability to brake safely and make evasive maneuvers when necessary.

Fatigue negatively impacts truck drivers’ ability to do all of the above. In fact, studies have shown that fatigue causes impairments equivalent to those associated with low-level alcohol intoxication. While fatigue is dangerous for all drivers, it is especially dangerous for truck drivers who are behind the wheel of a rig weighing as much as 80,000 pounds. Of course, falling asleep behind the wheel is even more dangerous, and truck drivers who have spent long days behind the wheel can be at a much higher risk of falling asleep than other drivers.

2. Truck Driver Negligence

Truck driver negligence can take many different forms, and it only takes one careless or reckless mistake to cause a lifetime of consequences. While inexperience is a factor in many serious and fatal truck accidents, even highly experienced truck drivers can make costly mistakes behind the wheel. Among both experienced and inexperienced drivers, some of the most common mistakes that lead to serious and fatal truck accidents include:

  • Braking too late or too harshly
  • Merging in front of (or into the side of) a passing vehicle
  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Texting, using social media and watching videos behind the wheel
  • Turning in front of oncoming traffic
  • Turning too quickly (resulting in a truck rollover accident)
  • Tailgating

These mistakes (among many others) can leave truck drivers and other motorists helpless to avoid a severe collision. Unfortunately, while there are no excuses for any of these mistakes, they are all far more common than they should be.

3. Alcohol or Drug-Impaired Driving

Driving under the influence is another form of truck driver negligence for which there is no excuse whatsoever. Yet, the statistics show that far too many truck drivers choose to drink and use drugs behind the wheel. Along with alcohol consumption, the use of marijuana, prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs is an all-too-common factor in serious and fatal collisions involving 18-wheelers and other large commercial trucks.

When it comes to proving that a truck driver was under the influence, there are several potential sources of evidence available. Along with the police report and toxicology report, the truck driver’s own statements, receipts for recent purchases of alcohol or medications, and statements from bar owners or eyewitnesses may be available as well. If we suspect that drug or alcohol intoxication played a role in your (or your loved one’s) truck accident, we will focus on gathering the evidence we need to prove that the truck driver was drunk, high or otherwise impaired.

4. Inadequate Truck Maintenance

Commercial trucks require constant maintenance to ensure that they are safe for the road. When 18-wheelers and other large trucks are not properly maintained, even the safest truck drivers won’t always be able to prevent accidents. Some examples of common maintenance issues that can lead to serious and fatal truck accidents include:

  • Failure to replace burnt-out headlights, tail lights, and brake lights
  • Failure to replace worn tires
  • Failure to replace worn brake pads or rotors
  • Failure to properly maintain hydraulic brake systems and components
  • Failure to properly maintain or replace other systems or components that are necessary for safe truck operations

All vehicle owners have a legal duty to ensure that their vehicles are safe for the road. This includes trucking companies. If your (or your loved one’s) truck accident was the result of negligent maintenance, a Columbus truck accident lawyer at Malek & Malek Law Firm can use this to prove your right to just compensation.

5. Cargo Loading Errors

Cargo loading errors are another common factor in commercial trucking accidents. Proper cargo loading is essential for ensuring that truck drivers can safely maintain control on the road. Some examples of issues that can cause truck drivers to unexpectedly lose control include:

  • Exceeding the truck’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)
  • Failing to cover cargo and prevent spills (i.e., failing to cover a load of gravel, dirt or garbage)
  • Failing to properly secure cargo
  • Failing to pressurize liquid cargo
  • Improperly balancing a truck’s cargo load (i.e., placing too much weight on one side of the truck)

Even if a truck is not directly involved in a collision with another vehicle, if a cargo spill or other cargo-related issue is to blame, the trucking company can—and should—be held accountable. Like all truck accident cases, these cases require experienced legal representation. If you need to know more about filing a claim, we encourage you to contact us right away.

6. Truck Defects

Along with inadequate maintenance and cargo loading errors, truck defects can also lead to accidents that are beyond truck drivers’ control. In these cases, the company that manufactured the defective truck (or a defective component) can be held fully liable under Ohio law. Brake failures, electrical system failures, tire blowouts, and loss of cargo are all examples of issues that can (and do) result from truck defects.

7. Hiring Inexperienced, Unlicensed or Unqualified Truck Drivers

When hiring truck drivers, trucking companies and other businesses have a legal duty to ensure that their drivers are qualified for the job. If a company hires a driver who has no business being behind the wheel—and if the driver causes an accident while on the job—this can also provide grounds to pursue a claim for financial compensation. As part of our investigation, we can obtain the driver’s employment records and license history, and we can determine if the driver’s employer did enough to ensure that the driver was qualified to be behind the wheel.

8. Requiring Truck Drivers to Work Too Many Hours

Federal trucking regulations limit the number of hours that truck drivers can spend on the job each day and each week. Unfortunately, many companies ignore these regulations or look the other way when their drivers put in extra hours. Working too many hours can lead to fatigue, distracted driving, recklessness and other issues that put other motorists’ safety in jeopardy.

9. Roadway Hazards and Defects

In addition to trucking-related issues, road-related issues can lead to serious and fatal truck accidents as well. Dangerous construction zones, poorly maintained roads, debris in the roadway, inadequate treatment of snow and ice, and various other issues can all leave truck drivers (and other drivers) unable to avoid a dangerous or deadly collision.

10. Other Drivers’ Negligence

Finally, while truck driver negligence is a leading cause of serious and fatal truck accidents, other drivers can (and frequently do) play a role in causing these accidents as well. For example, if another driver cuts off an 18-wheeler and then brakes suddenly, the driver of the 18-wheeler may have no way to avoid a multi-vehicle accident. In these cases, determining the chain of events leading up to the crash is essential for determining whose insurance company should pay.

Discuss Your Legal Rights with a Columbus Truck Accident Lawyer for Free

If you need to know more about asserting your legal rights after a serious or fatal truck accident, we encourage you to contact us promptly. Call 888-444-7440 or get in touch online to schedule a free consultation today.