Truck Accidents in Las Vegas, Nevada and on the 1-15 Corridor causing wrongful death and personal injuries

Posted by: on Thu, Apr 25, 2013

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Truck (big rig) accidents have an entirely different complexity to them than traditional automobile accidents. Due to the nature of big rigs carrying large and heavy loads over many hours each day, the federal government has imposed strict regulations on truck drivers such as how many hours a truck driver may drive without rest. These strict federal and state guidelines require truck drivers to maintain driving logs with exact driving times and corresponding rest times. When you see a truck driver at a truck stop working on paper work, you can be assured that generally one of the items on their to do list while refilling or shortly afterwards is to fill out their driving log booklet.

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The surface streets and highways of Nevada have heavy traffic. At all times of day and night the roads and freeways through and around Las Vegas, Nevada, are crowded with hundreds of trucks moving fast and loaded with goods. Some of the goods are delivered in Las Vegas, some goods are stored or warehoused here, but much of the truck traffic along interstate highway I-15 is moving south to Southern California or north to other states. Clearly I-15 is the lifeblood of the West. Innumerable work trucks, SUVs, big rigs, delivery trucks and semi’s move along the roads of Nevada, all requiring greater stopping distance than a passenger vehicle. This may result in major truck accidents causing serious injuries or even death. Because some of our interstate highway system in Southern Nevada is long and straight, with few cities in between, driver fatigue and falling asleep at the wheel are major concerns. Other common routes for common carriers include Alamo, Pioche, Mesquite, Nye County, Lincoln County and Clark County.

There are a number of causes for the truck accidents that take place in Nevada. A number of trucks engaged in delivering goods travel the same route each day or week. Due to this, the drivers become inattentive and negligent in their driving. Such drivers are responsible for major accidents that take place on the highways and streets of Southern Nevada.

In addition to the federal trucking regulations, large trucks, commonly referred to as “big rigs”, “semis” or “tractor trailers” (or even just 18-wheelers) typically weigh some 80,000 pounds when fully loaded (and around 32,000 pounds when empty) and range from about 67 to 75 feet in length. Even though big rigs represent only 3% of all the registered vehicles on U.S. roads, they account for over 25% of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in multiple vehicle accidents. The tremendous difference in size and weight between passenger vehicles and large trucks make it easy to understand the validity behind these statistics.

Stopping distances are another critical factor. For example, it takes a 40 ton 18-wheeler traveling at a legal speed of 65 miles per hour an additional 100 feet to stop than if it were traveling at just 55 miles per hour. Given this, it is not surprising that semi truck accidents often involve rear-end collisions. Jack-knifed trailers, right hand turning collisions, and break failures are also common accidents involving large trucks.

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Many of the major truck accidents throughout our country involve truck drivers who have violated the minimum federal sleep regulations. With the help of appropriate expert witnesses, violations that many attorneys normally might miss can be discovered, and these negligent errors by the driver often can lead to large settlements. There is almost no such thing as a minor accident involving a big rig. The attorneys at Albright Stoddard can assist in getting to the bottom of what caused a big rig or semi truck accident, including but not limited to the following:

  • Improper sleep and driving periods
  • Driver stress resulting in inattention
  • Poor driving skills or inadequate training of the truck driver
  • Exceeding maximum weight load limits for a truck on a particular highway
  • Delivery deadlines that are unreasonable for the truckers to fulfill, forcing the driver to exceed the posted speed limits
  • Inappropriate breaking distance between truck and automobiles

Federal crash statistics have shown that at least 20% of large trucking accidents are due to excessive speed. Nonetheless, while mechanical failures, reckless driving and improper driver training account for many of the crashes, the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) reports that driver fatigue is responsible for between 30% and 40% of all big rig crashes and is the probable cause in over 30% of the crashes that resulted in the truck driver’s death. Every 16 minutes another person in the United States will be injured or killed in a trucking-related accident.

It is not surprising that at least one-third of the injured suffer catastrophic harm and damage when their vehicle is involved in a collision with a big rig. For example, in 2003 alone, over 450,000 large trucks were involved in crashes. In a survey done that year, almost 20% of truckers admitted that they had fallen asleep at the wheel of their semi truck at least once in the previous three-month period. Statistics also show that each year there are around 500,000 big rig accidents in the United States. Every year, around 5,000 people will die from those accidents

Persons involved in accidents with an 18 wheeler, big rig truck or bus can end up with severe bodily injury, paralysis, life-changing disability or even death. An involved automobile may easily be totaled in such an accident. For long term expenses, injured persons will have loss of income, high medical bills, rehabilitation therapy, equipment expense and many other related financial bills that need to be covered by the company at fault. Attorneys at Albright Stoddard Warnick & Albright will work diligently to help you recover from 18 wheeler/big rig accidents. We will investigate with our experts not only the cause of the crash and accident, but also the insurance coverage available. Big rig companies typically carry multiple layers of insurance, with umbrella policies or excess policies if the damages exceed the coverage provided by their main or primary insurance policy. Our attorneys will work closely with you, start to finish, helping you gain fair compensation for personal injuries you have sustained due to your involvement in an accident. In Nevada, it may still be possible to recover some damages, even if you were in some small way negligent (in an amount less than 51%). Call now for a case review and to begin your recovery. Contact the attorneys at Albright Stoddard for a free consultation at 702-384-7111 or email us at gma@albrightstoddard.com.

About the Authors: The law firm of Albright, Stoddard, Warnick & Albright is an A-V Rated Nevada-based full-service law firm having attorneys licensed in Nevada, California and Utah. Our firm’s practice includes a strong emphasis on personal injury accidents. Call us at 888-927-8551.

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