Some of the most damaging and extensive automobile accidents on New Mexico’s roads and highways have been caused by 18-wheelers.
Because our economy runs on our country’s trucking industry, there are thousands of semi-trucks on the roads no matter the time of day. With this number of big trucks, there are bound to be hundreds of truck crashes every year.
Because tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds fully loaded when they cause an accident, usually the crashes are quite violent, involve multiple vehicles, and cause significant injuries, even deaths. This is why it’s so important to have the right New Mexico truck accident lawyer represent you.
A tractor-trailer accident case can be very complex because there are typically many different entities involved—with many parties that may potentially bear partial fault. Not just any lawyer can properly handle these cases.
The New Mexico trucking accident lawyers at Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C. focus their practice on helping seriously injured victims of trucking industry negligence. We will use our knowledge, skills, and resources to take on the huge trucking companies and insurance companies to fight for your rights.
Common Causes of Tractor-Trailer Crashes
Our trucking industry is essential to our economy, and without it, we would be in rough shape. However, although it’s important, the trucking industry has a considerable safety problem within its ranks, and there are many safety issues with our tractor-trailer fleet as well as the truck drivers.
Despite the trucking industry being a highly regulated industry, they still have way too many crashes and hurt way too many people.
In 2019, for example, there were 5,237 fatal crashes involving large trucks and buses. Also in 2019, there were 127,000 crashes with injuries involving large trucks and buses. Now we’re going to highlight some of the common causes of crashes that our New Mexico truck accident attorneys sees.
Big rig drivers are human. And just like with every other person who drives, truck drivers are tempted to be distracted by their smartphones, radios, the scenery, or other vehicles.
When you take your eyes off of the road in front of you, even for a second, there’s a risk of a crash. Semi-truck drivers can’t afford to take this risk, especially given the size and weight of the vehicles they are driving.
One of the areas of long-haul truck driving that is heavily regulated is the amount of time truck drivers can spend behind the wheel.
Cargo-carrying big rig drivers are allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. Truck drivers must take a 30-minute break when they have driven for 8 cumulative hours without at least a 30-minute interruption.
The break may be satisfied by any non-driving period of 30 consecutive minutes. Also, there is a strict requirement to log the hours so that there can be accountability and drivers can be monitored.
Despite these heavy restrictions on driving time, many drivers and their employers attempt to skirt the regulations and law and drive a lot longer than allowed.
This is because the longer they drive, the more money they can earn. And many employers and trucking companies encourage this behavior. But tired semi-truck drivers mean increased highway accidents, increased injuries, and increased deaths.
There is also a problem in the trucking industry with accidents caused by driving under the influence.
Of the 127,000 injury crashes involving large trucks in 2019, 2% of the truck drivers were driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. This may seem like a small percentage, but it translates into a lot of actual crashes, given the number of big trucks on the road.
For example, in New Mexico there were 10 accidents involving large truck drivers who were DWI in 2019. News reports of accidents caused by alcohol-impaired semi-truck drivers appear all too frequently.
Because semi-trucks are constantly on the road, they face wear and tear mechanical issues. The trucking companies sometimes cut corners when it comes to repairing vehicles properly, failing to replace brakes, and checking the various hoses and the steering. The longer a truck stays in the garage for repairs, the less money it makes.
Potential At-Fault Parties
As mentioned above, these cases can be very complex, involving many parties that will ultimately be responsible.
First, there is the negligent truck driver and their trucking company employer that could be held responsible. The trucking company is held responsible for the negligent actions of its employee. But the trucking company’s own negligent actions could make it individually responsible.
For example, the trucking company may not train their drivers properly, may not supervise them to make sure they are following safety regulations, and may not inspect or maintain their trucks in a safe manner.
Second, in some instances, the truck is owned by a separate company from the truck driver or their employer. If the issue that caused the crash was a maintenance issue, then the owner of the truck could also be at fault.
Third, the owner of the product that’s being transported could also be at fault. Some tractor-trailer crashes are caused by the improper loading of goods in the trailer, causing the product to shift and making the trailer tip over.
What Can a Big Rig Accident Lawyer Do For You?
As you can tell, these cases can be very complex and potentially have several at-fault parties, all with their own automobile insurance policies—and lawyers.
The huge trucking companies and their insurance companies have a small army of people fighting to try to pay you as little monetary compensation as possible. This is why you need a semi-truck accident lawyer who has the skills and resources to take on these large corporations and fight for your rights.
How We Can Help
Our 18-wheeler accident attorneys at Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway focus their practice on helping seriously injured victims of semi-truck accidents.
We have helped people injured by negligent truck drivers and trucking companies recover millions of dollars in compensation. Suffering from a serious personal injury due to the negligence of a truck driver can turn your life upside down, but you don’t have to go through it alone.