Attorney William J. Price discusses the pitfalls of proving lost wages
for a client injured in a tractor-trailer accident.
Each day, we go about our lives on the road — expecting those around us to be alert and aware of their surroundings so as not to cause an accident.
Despite improved safety measures, traffic accidents continue to occur across the country, with thousands of deaths and millions of injuries each year. Deaths from U.S. motor vehicle crashes rose 5.3 percent in 2012, according to new numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It’s the first time since 2005 that fatalities have gone up. National Safety Commission officials pointed to distracted driving and an increase in the number of heavy trucks on the roads as possible explanations for increase.
Earlier this year, the NHTSA released a Large Truck Report stating that 287,000 large trucks were involved in accidents in 2011, resulting in 3,757 deaths and injuring 88,000 people. The number of registered large trucks (gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds) have steadily increased from around 8 million in 2011 to over 10 million in 2013.
While tractor-trailer drivers undergo special schooling to drive such a vehicle, it is ultimately the driver’s responsibility to be aware and cautious while on the road. The truck may cause an accident due to improper maintenance or equipment failure. The driver can also contribute to an accident by allowing himself to become distracted.
A truck driver can become distracted by the same things divert the attention of all drivers, including cell phones, playing with the radio or looking at maps. Additionally, tractor-trailer drivers may be affected by long hours on the road. Some truckers drive for many more hours than is legally allowed – and that’s just the driving portion. They may have other work, such as loading and unloading, and the cumulative hours without rest can greatly affect the abilities of a truck driver.
Truck accidents are less common than collisions involving private vehicles, but they are associated with far more serious injuries. If you are struck by commercial truck, you and your family may face substantial economic and non-economic damages, including medical expenses, prescription drug costs, pain and suffering, lost wages and even future losses — as some injuries can be significant and/or permanent.