Richmond Distracted Truck Driver Accident Lawyer
Legal help for Virginia clients injured by distracted or texting truckers
Distracted driving is emerging as one of the biggest driving dangers on the road today. A common cause of motor vehicle accidents, distracted driving occurs whenever a driver takes their attention off the road to focus on something else – even for a second. Driving while distracted in a passenger vehicle can cause a serious wreck, but doing so in a multi-ton commercial vehicle can have catastrophic results.
At Phelan Petty, our Richmond-based truck accident attorneys work for victims of distracted driving accidents throughout Virginia. We understand the complicated legal issues involved with dealing with trucking and insurance companies, as well both the federal and state laws around trucking industry regulations. When we take your injury case, we work to secure compensation for your injuries while you take the time to heal.
What is distracted driving?
Put simply, distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention off the task of safe driving. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that the most common form of distracted driving is texting. In fact, they state that both sending and reading a text “takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.”
Distracted driving, however, is not just taking your eyes off the road. The CDC lists three types of distracted driving:
- Visual, taking your eyes off the road
- Manual, taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive, taking your mind off driving
Distracted driving can encompass one or all of these at the same time.
How common is distracted driving in the trucking industry?
The overall statistics on distracted driving in the United States are not encouraging. The NHTSA reports that 3,142 people lost their lives in distracted driving-related crashes in 2019. Further, nine percent of all fatal crashes that year involved distracted drivers.
Distracted driving is enough of an issue in the trucking industry that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) devotes a website to the subject. One study found that 71 percent of commercial truck crashes happened because the truck driver was distracted. The FMCSA lists the following safety tips all big rig drivers should follow:
- Do not be distracted by objects outside the truck’s cab, like billboards, people, or other vehicles.
- Do not text while driving – this is illegal for commercial truck drivers.
- Do not use a dispatch service while driving, as this takes a driver’s mind away from the task at hand.
- Do not dial a handheld phone while driving – this is also illegal for commercial truck drivers.
- Do not read, write, or use paper maps while driving.
- Avoid eating and/or drinking while driving.
The FMSCA adds this guidance to truckers: “One way to think about distraction is to ask yourself if something is drawing your attention and taking your eyes away from the road ahead of you. If the answer is ‘yes,’ it is probably a distraction.”
What are common injuries from distracted driver truck accidents?
Crashes with commercial trucks and big rigs tend to be much more severe than accidents with passenger cars, due to the size and weight of semi-trucks. Both property damage and physical damage will likely be much worse, with injuries including things like:
- Airbag or seatbelt injuries
- Broken and fractured bones
- Burn injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Internal injuries
- Loss of limb
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Wrongful death
The Richmond personal injury attorneys at Phelan Petty will investigate the cause of your accident and injuries and work to hold the right people or parties accountable.
How do you prove liability in a Richmond distracted truck driving crash?
When we take your case, we get to work determining exactly who is responsible for your injuries and losses. In some cases, this is the truck driver who crashed into your vehicle, motorcycle, or bike. In other cases, third-party entities may also be responsible. These parties can include the driver’s employer, for negligent hiring practices or other factors. Our attorneys can explain more depending on the facts of your case.
Our attorneys launch an investigation into the accident, examining in-cabin video footage, evidence within the cab, cellphone logs, and other confirmation that the driver was distracted and caused the crash that resulted in your harm.
What is my distracted truck driver accident claim worth?
Although the circumstances of every truck accident and every person’s injuries are different, there are a variety of different factors our attorneys consider when demanding compensation for your losses. These can include things like the:
- Ability to return to work and earn income
- Amount of insurance coverage involved in your claims
- Cost of your current and expected future medical treatment
- Extent of your injuries
- Likelihood of fully recovering from your injuries
- Scope of your pain, suffering, and other non-economic damages
- Strength of the insurance company’s defenses
- Strength or weakness of the liability case against the truck driver or the trucking company
Above all, we work to secure you the proper amount of compensation to which you are entitled – not the low settlements the insurance company offers.
Richmond distracted driving truck crash lawyers
If you or a loved one were injured from a distracted commercial truck driver, talk to the attorneys at Phelan Petty today. Taking legal action immediately gives you the best chance for a successful outcome, and we can help you seek financial compensation for your injuries and losses.