A semi-truck accident can happen in an instant, resulting in severe injuries for those in smaller passenger vehicles. Unfortunately, distracted driving due to fatigue, inattention, or use of technology such as inputting GPS direction or texting is a major cause of big truck accidents.
According to a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration study, driver distraction played a part in 10% of large truck crashes, resulting in 14,000 crashes. If you were hurt in a distracted driving crash, proving the driver’s negligence is vital to receiving compensation.
Our attorneys at Fieger Law can help you gather evidence to prove the crash was caused by distracted driving and win a fair settlement to pay for your injuries.
Understanding Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a major cause of road accidents, including those involving commercial trucks. Nationally, distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,522 people in 2021. Distracted driving is any action that diverts a driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving, such as:
- Texting or talking on a mobile phone
- Eating or drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Daydreaming or not paying attention to the road
- Operating a GPS or other in-vehicle technology
- Staring at events outside the vehicle, such as accidents or roadwork
Common Examples of Distractions for Truck Drivers
Some specific distractions are more common for truck drivers due to the nature of their work. Despite federally mandated breaks, truckers often work long hours. This can lead to distracted driving behaviors like using a cell phone to alleviate boredom or eating on the road rather than stopping. Common distracted driving behaviors for truck drivers include:
- Mobile device use: With strict schedules, drivers might be tempted to text or call to coordinate deliveries or communicate with their base while driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that driver inattention led to 9% of crashes in its study.
- Eating or drinking: Truck drivers often eat on the go to save time, which can lead to distracted driving. 16,000 crashes were caused by a driver feeling pressured to keep driving, according to the FMCSA study.
- Using onboard systems: Modern trucks often come equipped with onboard systems for navigation, communication, and entertainment, which while practical, can also be a source of distraction.
- Fatigue: Exhaustion can lead to a lack of focus or even falling asleep at the wheel, which are dangerous forms of distracted driving. Fatigue was a factor in 18,000 or 13% of crashes in the FMCSA study.
How to Prove Distracted Driving
If you are hurt in a semi crash caused by a distracted truck driver, the skilled Michigan 18-wheeler accident lawyer from Fieger Law can help you prove liability. Our attorneys can gather the following evidence to submit a successful compensation claim:
- Dashcam footage: Your attorney can secure and analyze dashcam footage from the truck, your vehicle, or any other involved parties. This visual evidence can provide a clear view of the driver’s actions leading up to the accident, indicating distractions such as phone use, eating, or other inattentive behaviors.
- Witness testimonies: Our attorneys can interview witnesses present at the accident scene. These witnesses may have observed the at-fault truck driver engaging in distracting activities like texting, talking on the phone, or interacting with in-car entertainment systems.
- Cell phone records: Our legal team can subpoena the distracted driver’s cell phone records to determine whether they were using their phone at the time of the accident. These records can reveal incoming/outgoing calls, text messages, or data usage, establishing that the driver was distracted during the crash.
- Expert testimonies: We will consult with accident reconstruction experts who can analyze the circumstances of the accident and provide expert opinions on whether distracted driving was a likely cause.
- Vehicle data: Your lawyer can access the semi-truck’s black box or event data recorder (EDR) to retrieve information about the vehicle’s speed, acceleration, braking, and steering inputs. Lack of braking or evasive steering during the critical moments before the accident can suggest distraction.
- Driver statements: If the distracted driver admits to being preoccupied or provides inconsistent statements about their actions before the crash, your attorney can use these admissions to establish liability.
Why Hiring an Attorney is Vital to Your Claim
Hiring an attorney is essential to receiving damages for serious injuries caused by a distracted truck driver. At Fieger Law, our legal team is skilled in navigating legal complexities regarding truck accidents and can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Injuries sustained in big rig accidents can be catastrophic, requiring extensive medical treatment and ongoing care. This can mean a larger settlement for accident victims, which trucking companies and their insurers don’t want to pay.
Our experienced attorneys can assess the full extent of your damages, from medical expenses to lost earning potential, ensuring you receive a comprehensive settlement. We can also use aggressive negotiating tactics to ensure the trucking company doesn’t intimidate you into accepting less than you deserve.
Get Fair Compensation with Fieger Law
If you or a loved one has been a truck accident victim and suspect distracted driving was a factor, contact Fieger Law. We represent cases in Michigan and throughout the U.S. and can guide you through the legal landscape, help you gather the right evidence, and fight for the compensation you deserve.