It’s often said that commercial vehicles like semi-trucks and big rigs are the lifeblood of America: transporting cargo on our highways to destinations all over the country. But these large commercial trucks can weigh 10 to 20 times more than a regular passenger car, so they need to be careful as they share the highway with our families, and when collisions occur, you need an experienced truck accident lawyer by your side.
After all, many rules and laws exist which truckers and other commercial vehicle operators must follow to keep the interstate highways and roadways safe for the rest of us. So why do accidents continue to happen? Because these operators are human, and their employers often cut corners to increase profit which also increases risk to you.
Our Lincoln truck accident lawyer has experience in holding commercial trucking companies and operators accountable when they break the rules or create conditions which cause serious injury.
Below, our detailed truck accident guide discusses common causes of collisions, how these types of accidents differ from regular car accidents and why it's important to hire a skilled and experienced attoreny to preotect your rights to financial recovery.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Lincoln and Throughout Nebraska
Simply put – mistakes happen. Even though substantial trucker and commercial vehicle company regulation exists, these vehicles are driven by human beings. And humans often make mistakes. Below, our Lincoln truck accident attorney details 10 of the most common reasons truck accidents happen.
One of the leading causes of semi-truck and other commercial vehicle accidents is drowsy driving. Operators need to get their cargo to its destination on time. Traffic, poor weather, and other conditions outside of operator control can create pressure to keep driving instead of taking a break.
Semi-trucks, cargo vans, big rigs, and other large commercial vehicles often weigh much more than a typical passenger vehicle and take longer to slow down or maneuver in an emergency. Additionally, drowsy driving increases operator reaction time, which can be a recipe for disaster for victims in these vehicles’ path.
The Lincoln truck accident lawyers at Steffens Law Office understand how to force operators and their employers to provide the driving logs and records which uncover a lack of required breaks or unreasonable distance driving - which can make for a strong case against the responsible party or company.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Whether on YouTube or in person, we’ve all seen a big rig or tractor trailer tire bouncing and careening down the highway at incredible speed only to slam into a small car or other passenger vehicle and cause serious injury or worse.
The reality is that these types of vehicles, because they transport heavy loads weighing many thousands of pounds daily, require much more frequent and extensive maintenance than a typical family vehicle. Unfortunately, this maintenance costs money and time that decreases profits for large trucking companies. Because of the time and cost, it often gets overlooked, which creates an unreasonable risk of danger.
One of the leading maintenance items trucking companies often overlook is simple to fix: brake systems. The heavy loads trucks carry wear down brake pads and other systems responsible for slowing a commercial vehicle. When this happens, frequent replacements are necessary, but because of the high cost of replacements at regular intervals, companies often force operators to drive trucks with worn braking systems, and it doesn’t take a mechanic to understand that bad brakes can make the difference between a close call and serious accident.
Similar to brakes, truck or other commercial vehicle tires are a wear and tear item, meaning they regularly wear out over time even when used properly. The problem is that when trucking companies and operators stretch the expected lifespan of tires, stopping distance, traction, and the ability to evasively avoid collision suffers greatly. Because commercial vehicles like semi-trucks, tractor trailers and cargo vehicles require many tires and replacement more often, the time to perform this regular maintenance item can eat into profits.
Especially since current supply chains are tight, sourcing and replacing commercial tires can very easily get overlooked as unnecessary. When large companies skip replacing tires, bad accidents are more likely to occur. The Lincoln truck accident attorneys at Steffens Law Offices have seen accidents occur because of bald tires or poor tire maintenance.
When the burden of replacing tires is outweighed by the harm that bad tires cause, our lawyers go to war against the large trucking companies who place profits before people.
Skipping mechanical checks
Spending thousands of hours on the road with heavy loads means that trucks and other commercial vehicles need to undergo frequent mechanical safety checks. These can be a simple 15-minute pre-route check or a complete vehicle overhaul, but either way commercial trucking companies need to regularly ensure their vehicles are safe for the nations highways.
Loose metal, frail parts, bad fenders or deteriorating mud flaps are just a few items that can be easily spotted by trained professionals performing a pre-route check of commercial vehicles about to go on the road. Even though these types of safety checks are required by all 50 states, sometimes they just don’t happen when they should and this can lead to debris in the roadway, or parts becoming loose and becoming a safety hazard for the rest of us.
Semis, big rigs and tractor trailers require special lighting both to see the roadway ahead and to properly be seen by others on the highway. If lighting gets overlooked or worse, is allowed to fail, visibility becomes limited and creates an unreasonable risk of harm to other road travelers. This too is a maintenance item that can be easily checked and replaced, but all too often goes overlooked and accidents occur.
Improperly Secured Loads
Heavy duty loads require high-strength restraints, straps and other methods of securing cargo. But weather, time and other elements can wreak havoc on the fabric and metal these restraints are created with, and this in turn causes accelerated wear resulting in dangerous conditions.
When cargo suddenly becomes loose and enters the roadway and endangers other travelers unexpectedly, serious accidents can occur. The Lincoln truck accident lawyers at Steffens Law Offices have represented many clients who have been injured or killed by loose or falling cargo from commercial vehicles or semi-trucks and these situations can become complicated to litigate. Don’t trust inexperienced attorneys who haven’t spent decades representing clients injured by commercial cargo.
If you are seriously injured due to a commercial company’s negligence, the stakes are simply too high to trust your future with anyone but the seasoned lawyers at Steffens Law Office.
Like commercial airline pilots or large ship captains, commercial vehicle operators need extensive training to safely perform their duties. Because lives are at stake, these people need to be certified and regularly tested to ensure that they are operating with the highest level of training, experience and knowledge possible.
Unfortunately, too often trucking and logistics companies rush drivers and other personnel through training and other safety operations to get them on the road and make the company money. Steffens Law Office Lincoln truck accident lawyers know how to obtain the safety training manuals, logs and completed programs of commercial trucking operators to truly understand whether these programs were followed as they should be.
When serious accidents happen due to a trucking company’s negligence or recklessness, our lawyers will work tirelessly to obtain the evidence necessary to hold them accountable for your injury.
Sadly, one of the most avoidable conditions which lead to horrible collisions and injury are operators who become needlessly angry at fellow motorists and make rash decisions. Brake checks, sideswiping, and running fellow drivers off the roadway seem completely avoidable and wrong, but still contribute to a large percentage of injury and death on the highway.
If you are an injured victim of road rage by a commercial vehicle operator like a semi-truck or tractor trailer driver, the Lincoln truck accident attorneys at Steffens Law Offices know how to uncover the evidence necessary to ensure a strong case against the responsible operator or trucking company.
We stand up to bullies, whether in court or behind the wheel of a 50,000 lb. vehicle.
State or County Negligence
Sometimes, it’s not the truck operator or company who is negligent and therefore responsible for your injuries. It may be poor roadway maintenance by Nebraska or a local county. Often construction areas are poorly marked or not maintained in a way as to avoid the unnecessary risk to motorists who encounter these conditions.
When a condition on the roadway is unreasonably dangerous and causes you injury, trust Steffens Law Offices’ Lincoln truck accident lawyers to uncover the necessary facts to hold the State or county responsible for your pain and suffering.
How Semi-Truck or Commercial Vehicle Accidents Differ From Car Accidents
While most truck accidents likely involve a regular car in addition to the semi or commercial truck involved in the crash, a truck and car accident is way different than an accident that involves two cars. Below, our Lincoln truck accident lawyer details the two main ways the two kinds of cases differ.
Nature of Risk and Injury
Commercial vehicles can weigh 50,000 lbs. or more. Despite laws which exist to restrict drivers to no more than 8-10 hours a day of driving, often trucking companies interested in increased profits provide cash bonuses to drive faster, longer, or reaching destinations quicker – these types of perks create a higher risk of injury by directly lowering roadway safety for the rest of us.
Commercial Insurance Policies
Trucking companies’ insurance policies tend to be much larger than a passenger car, this is because of the increased risk of collision, injury or death. This frequently means that the value of these policies can be several millions of dollars. So, it’s a safe bet that the trucking companies and their insurance companies have excellent defense teams who will do anything to avoid liability for paying a settlement to victims injured by their clients’ vehicles.
The bottom line: more money at stake means a harder fight to obtain settlement for your accident and injury. Don’t settle for substandard legal representation. The trucking company sure won’t. You need experienced and passionate legal representation that only Steffens Law Offices Lincoln truck accident lawyers can provide.
How to Find a Truck Accident Lawyer in Lincoln
Finding a truck accident lawyer, not to mention a good one, can be difficult, especially if you don't know what to look for. Thankfully, there are certain things that can make one attorney stand out above the rest.
Not all personal injury lawyers have experience with truck accidents. Some focus solely on car accidents, while others may specialize in slip and falls or wrongful deaths. And while it's important for an attorney to know how to handle all types of personal injury, it's especially important that whichever lawyer you hire for accidents involving trucks, has dealt with these types of cases before.
Board Certification and Accolades
This one is partially a no-brainer. Any truck accident attorney you hire in Lincoln, NE, should be board certified. Beyond that, it's always a positive when that attorney has earned awards or accolades in the state.
Perhaps there is no more qualifying factor than reviews from past clients. It's one thing for an attorney to put on a show in an initial consultation to help gain your trust, but that's just the point, it's a first impression and no follow through. Reading client reviews from past clients can give you a better understanding of how the attorney handled the case from beginning to end.
How Our Lincoln Truck Accident Attorney Can Help Make Your Case
There are many things that an experienced and skilled truck accident lawyer in Lincoln, NE, can do to help you win your injury claim. Aside from the basics like keeping clients up-to-date with all the information surrounding their case, below are a few tasks that would be really hard to do if you attempted them on your own.
When you are injured or lose someone you love because of a commercial vehicle operator or company’s negligence, there may be multiple entities responsible for your loss. Frequently these parties will attempt complicated legal defenses and tactics to avoid liability. You may be facing a battle with the truck operator, the trucking company, the contracted cargo company, the shipper, the vehicle manufacturer, or a local county, state, or other party – all at the same time.
Overloaded trucks or improperly secured cargo, product defects, driver negligence, or a company’s failure to follow regulations can all lead to liability. It’s vital to hire a legal team who can understand these complex theories of law and use the facts from your unique situation to encourage a full settlement at an early stage on your behalf.
Structuring Your Case
We at Steffens Law Office have extensive experience in obtaining serious settlements from trucking companies which cause injury to our clients. Gathering evidence like witness statements, recorded video, and statements from the driver or other involved persons is critical, but just the beginning.
After an accident, the operator and/or trucking company’s insurance company will quickly begin a thorough investigation of all aspects of the accident. It may even contact you and request a recorded statement or other evidence. Steffens Law Offices will protect your rights and ensure that all relevant rules of law are followed.
We will conduct our own investigation on your behalf, uncovering evidence like phone records, video recordings, roadway conditions, and accident reconstruction to advance the strongest legal arguments for holding the responsible persons, companies, and insurance carriers liable for your injury and loss. We know how to advance these arguments both prior to and during litigation when it becomes necessary.
Determining and Obtaining Compensation
The various types of compensation available to victims depends on several aspects: details of the accident, relevant law and regulations of the area, and the severity of your injuries. Medical expenses both now and in the future will be analyzed. Your property and lost wages as a result of the accident should be included. Finally, your future medical care and pain and suffering will all be calculated in order to obtain the highest settlement possible to provide for you and your family’s future.
Contact Our Lincoln Truck Accident Lawyer for a Free Consult
Commercial vehicles like semi-trucks, tractor trailers, and other cargo carriers often cause some of the most serious accidents imaginable. Frequently the operators or the companies they work for make mistakes or other decisions which cause innocent motorists severe injury and possibly death. These accidents and resulting theories of liability can be complex and are often defended vigorously by defense teams employed by the operator or company’s insurance company.
Our experienced Lincoln truck accident lawyer at Steffens Law Offices believes that you are entitled to expert legal representation which exceeds that of the responsible parties. You should not have to worry about affording great lawyers who have the experience and passion necessary to obtain full compensation for your loss. Let us represent you so that you can focus on healing, while our legal team advocates on your behalf from beginning to end. At Steffens Law Offices, we place people before profits. Give us a call at (308) 872-8327!