Truck drivers and their employers have incentives to get cargoes to their destinations as quickly as possible. Trucking companies want to maximize their profits, while drivers want to stay on the schedule provided by the company without violating hours of service rules. These incentives sometimes lead to speeding violations, for which tens of thousands of truckers are cited each year. Speeding in any vehicle poses risks, but trucks are especially likely to crash when drivers speed. Trucks have a higher center of gravity than passenger vehicles, and their size and weight make them harder to stop. Speeding thus may lead to rear-end accidents when a driver cannot stop in time to avoid colliding with a car in front of them. Meanwhile, rollover accidents may happen when a driver loses control as they take a curve too fast.
Most people think of “speeding” as violating the speed limit that applies to a certain highway or road. However, some speeding accidents arise when a truck driver travels too fast for conditions. A driver must account for factors such as inclement weather, traffic congestion, poorly maintained roads, or construction zones, which may make driving at the posted speed limit dangerous. Truckers should drive more slowly in these situations. They also may need to reduce speed to a greater degree than cars when they are navigating curves or exit and entrance ramps. A driver of a fully loaded truck may need to drive more slowly to make sure that they have enough stopping distance and to prevent the truck from rolling over due to the higher center of gravity.
Compensation for Truck Accidents Caused by Speeding
Collisions at high speeds tend to cause catastrophic injuries, ranging from brain trauma and broken bones to spinal cord injuries and damage to internal organs. A victim may never fully recover from their injuries and return to their normal occupation and activities. They can pursue damages from the speeding truck driver and the trucking company that employed them. Trucking companies may be held liable for careless actions by an employee driver if they occurred in the course and scope of employment. Sometimes trucking companies may be directly liable as well. For example, perhaps a company hired an unqualified driver or failed to properly supervise its drivers.
To avoid or reduce their liability, a trucking company or its insurer may argue that the victim was partly responsible for the crash. Even if this is true, most states still allow a victim to recover damages in an amount reduced by their percentage of fault. However, many of these states allow a victim to recover damages only if their fault did not reach a certain percentage, which is usually 50 or 51 percent. A few states still apply the harsh rule of contributory negligence, which prevents a victim from recovering any damages if the defendant can show that the victim was at fault to any degree.
Damages in truck accident cases may cover a wide range of economic and non-economic harm, such as:
The costs of future medical treatment
Lost earning capacity
Pain and suffering
Lost enjoyment of life
These cases tend to be fiercely contested, and the amounts at stake may be substantial. Therefore, anyone who has suffered catastrophic injuries should consider hiring a lawyer to handle their claim. Truck accident lawyers usually work on a contingency fee basis, which means that they do not charge upfront fees but instead wait to collect payment for their services until they get compensation for a client. The attorney then subtracts a percentage of the compensation as their fee.