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Virginia Injury Blog
Five Common Causes of Virginia Trucking Wrecks

I pride myself in helping clients through their toughest times.- Bill O’Mara

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Five Common Causes of Virginia Trucking Wrecks

Truck crashes occur less commonly than wrecks involving cars but the consequences are often more tragic.

Although the drivers of big rigs are usually well trained there are several factors that put pressure on drivers and may lead to accidents.

Driver error is a big cause of trucking wrecks

Here are five common causes of tractor-trailer accidents.

1 Driver Error

Driver error is the most common cause of trucking crashes. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), driver error is more than 10 times more likely to cause a trucking crash, accounting for 87 percent of all wrecks studied.

There are a number of factors that lead to driver error. Truckers drive for long periods and fatigue is a significant factor. Other causes are inattention, distractions, or substance abuse. Some of the most serious accidents occur when a fatigued trucker fails to slow down and slams into vehicles that are stopped or slowed down ahead.  

2 Bad Weather

At 55 mph it takes two football fields for an 18 wheeler to stop. In wet or snowy conditions it takes even longer. The combination of the sheer weight of the truck and its load and the braking distance, means many truck accidents occur in wet conditions. Truck drivers often fail to realize how long it will take their vehicle to stop in bad weather.  

3 Equipment Failure on a Truck

When there is an equipment malfunction on a big rig, the consequences can be serious. This is the second most common cause of trucking crashes. If a tire on a truck blows out or brakes fail, a driver will often lose control of his rig. The FMSCA requires every truck driver and company to perform a thorough inspection before getting on the road and to perform regular inspections and maintenance. There have been examples of trucking companies being fined for poor maintenance. If you are injured or if you lose a loved one due to a poorly maintained truck you may have grounds to sue a mechanic as well as a trucking company or a manufacturer or a part if it was defective.

4 Improper Loading

Anyone who has been driving behind a truck when a load has fallen off will know how terrifying this can be. Loading a truck is a skill. A poorly loaded truck may topple over on a curve while a failure to secure a load can cause havoc on a highway. Often incidents in which loads fall off trucks cause chain-reaction wrecks as other vehicles seek to avoid the debris.

5 Poor Selection of a Truck Driver

If a trucking company hires a driver with a poor record such as a string of DUIs or a history of drug abuse and he or she causes a wreck, the company can be held liable for failing to carry out proper background checks. At present, the US has a shortage of truck drivers which means some companies are cutting corners in the hiring process.

We hope you are never involved in a trucking accident but we know they happen more often than many of us would like to think . We have helped people who have suffered terrible injuries in wrecks on I-81, I-95, I-64 and other interstates in Virginia and North Carolina. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a trucking wreck, see our Virginia trucking accident resources or call us at (757) 455-0077 for a free consultation.

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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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