Utah Head-On Collision Truck Accidents Attorney
Head-on collisions are often catastrophic, particularly when they involve commercial trucks. Even cars with the best safety features struggle to withstand the force of impact with a fully loaded tractor-trailer. If you sustained injuries in a head-on collision truck accident that was not your fault, the experienced attorneys at Swenson & Shelley can determine your right to compensation.
Common Causes of Head-On Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are often the result of driver error. A trucker who is inattentive, careless, or reckless puts themselves and other road users at risk of head-on collisions. The most common causes of head-on truck accidents include:
- Distracted driving – Truck drivers spend much of their time alone behind the wheel. Despite federal regulations prohibiting cell phone use while operating a commercial motor vehicle, truckers might turn to their phones out of boredom. Whether they text, browse social media, or watch videos online, distracted truckers are not focused on the road. They may not notice the rig drifting into oncoming traffic, leading to a head-on crash.
- Driver fatigue – Truck drivers often get tired working long hours. They can travel hundreds of miles and spend up to 11 hours driving in one shift. Fatigue slows reaction time, impairs judgment, and interferes with good decision-making.
- Improper passing – Passing cars on a two-lane road requires checking for vehicles approaching from the opposite direction. A head-on crash can occur if a trucker doesn’t leave enough time and space to pass a car safely ahead of oncoming traffic.
- Driving under the influence – Alcohol impairs normal faculties and increases the risk of an accident. For this reason, truckers are subject to strict alcohol regulations to reduce the risks of a crash. Federal law prohibits them from consuming alcohol within four hours of driving. Truckers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 or higher are considered under the influence.
- Improperly loaded cargo – Federal regulations specify how cargo must be loaded onto a truck before transport. Improperly loaded freight can throw the entire vehicle off balance, causing a truck driver to lose control and crash. Loading cargo beyond the maximum weight limit also places extra pressure on the truck’s tires, increasing the risk of a tire blowout that can send a truck hurtling into the next lane and cause a collision.
- Turning too widely – Trucks make wide turns, particularly right-hand ones. Drivers who fail to account for these wide turns could slam into the front of an oncoming car.
Although truck drivers are most directly responsible for their actions behind the wheel, they’re not the only parties that could be held liable for a crash. Trucking companies could be legally responsible for an accident caused by their employee, especially if an investigation shows they urged a trucker to drive beyond their maximum limits or hired someone without conducting background checks or confirming their qualifications.
Injuries Caused by Head-On Collisions
Head-on truck accidents can cause severe injuries, such as:
- Internal bleeding
- Broken bones
- Burn injuries
- Crush injuries
- Back injuries
- Loss of limb
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Psychological trauma
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 30 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes involving large trucks in a recent year were struck head-on by the truck.
Proving Liability in a Utah Truck Accident Case
Proving liability for a truck accident can be complicated, especially when they involve multiple parties. If more than one person is at fault, you might need to file claims with more than one insurance company. Parties commonly liable for truck accidents include:
- Truck drivers – Truckers are often the most directly liable parties in truck accidents. They could be liable if they broke traffic laws and federal regulations meant to keep the public safe.
- Trucking companies – The motor carrier the trucker drives for might be at fault for hiring an unlicensed or unqualified driver. Some employers don’t perform background checks and pressure their employees to make unreasonable delivery deadlines, leading them to drive beyond their hours-of-service limits.
- Maintenance workers – A mechanic responsible for vehicle repairs could be liable for an accident if it was caused by their failure to repair prior damage or replace a recalled part.
- Cargo loading companies – Cargo loaders must comply with regulations regarding securement systems and weight and size limits. A poorly loaded truck can lead to an overweight or unbalanced load, making maneuvering more difficult for the driver.
- Manufacturers – Automakers and parts manufacturers must supply truck parts that meet quality and safety standards. A faulty braking system or defective steering wheel can lead to a devastating crash, even if the trucker does everything right.
An experienced truck accident attorney can thoroughly investigate a crash and gather evidence to prove liability. This evidence might include:
- The trucker’s license and qualifications
- The motor carrier’s maintenance and repair records
- The police accident report
- Traffic camera footage of the collision
- The driver’s employment and driving history
- The event data recorder (EDR), which contains information about the moments before the crash
- Eyewitness statements
- The trucker’s cell phone records
- Photos and videos from the accident scene
The Most Important Thing to Do After a Semi Truck Accident in Utah
Seek medical treatment immediately after a truck accident. Let an ambulance take you to the hospital if you can’t drive. If you don’t need urgent medical care, see your doctor as soon as possible. A physician can examine you to determine the extent of your injuries and any treatment you need.
Attend all follow-up appointments with your doctor. Failing to take your injuries seriously could damage your truck accident claim. Insurance companies might consider gaps in treatment as evidence of a non-serious or non-existent injury. They might use these lapses as an excuse to deny your claim or offer a low settlement.
How Our Experienced Utah Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You
The aftermath of a Utah truck accident can be overwhelming. Treating your injuries while pursuing a case against the truck driver or motor carrier can be challenging. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through this alone.
The Utah semi-truck accident lawyers at Swenson & Shelley can relieve your burden and handle every aspect of your case. We’re available 24/7 for free consultations.