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We share the roads with commercial trucks every day. And for the most part, any interactions we have are uneventful. However, that can change in the blink of an eye if there is an accident.

Collisions involving semi-trucks can happen for a number of reasons, including those we discuss below. Determining the cause of these crashes will be critical for victims seeking compensation. It can also help people avoid dangerous behaviors and situations that could lead to an accident.

Common causes of truck accidents

Broadly, there are three different causes of a truck accident: drivers, vehicles and environmental factors. This can include:

  • Poor driver training
  • Driver medical event like heart attack or seizure
  • Distracted drivers
  • Improperly loaded trucks
  • Drowsy truckers
  • Drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Speeding
  • Bad weather conditions
  • Following too closely
  • Failed truck performance

In some cases, individuals can prevent accidents with trucks by adjusting their own behaviors. They can give trucks plenty of room, refrain from driving while fatigued or impaired, and steer clear of any trucks that appear to be swerving or driving too fast.

However, there are many contributing factors that are out of a person’s control. An individual motorist does not know if a trucker has been trained properly or when a truck was inspected last. Individuals don’t have control over how long a trucker has been on the road or whether the truck manufacturer used defective parts.

Why cause is critical

Accidents involving commercial trucks are often catastrophic, especially for people in smaller vehicles. People can be killed or suffer life-changing injuries, and the cost of damages and recovery can be incredible. Because of this, holding the appropriate party or parties liable can be vital.

However, as this Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration article notes, determining cause can be highly complicated. There may be numerous factors to investigate and multiple parties that attempt to shift blame. And often, there is more than one cause of an accident.

As such, accident victims would be wise to refrain from signing anything or accepting any settlement offers before consulting an attorney and having a thorough medical exam.