What You Need to Know About Las Vegas Truck Accident Safety
In 2010 Clark County had the highest percentage of traffic accidents statewide at 78.89% (Nevada DOT). Although only 1.5% of these accidents involved large trucks (Nevada DOT), that’s more than enough to be a point of concern. For example, an accident involving a tractor trailer on June 25, 2018, near the intersection of Nellis Boulevard and Washington Avenue, resulted in one fatality and two cases of life-threatening injuries. A pickup truck ran a red light and hit a tractor trailer, which then overturned and crushed a car, killing the car’s driver (LasVegasNOW.com). It’s a good idea, then, to know some basic Las Vegas truck accident safety measures and, if the worst happens, which Vegas personal injury attorney to call.
Important Facts About Vegas Truck Accidents
Accidents involving large trucks often result in severe injury to car drivers or cyclists because of the size and weight of the trucks. Big rigs (semi trucks, tractor trailers) weigh in the neighborhood of 80,000 pounds (40 tons) fully loaded and even 32,000 pounds (16 tons) empty. The average weight of a car today is just short of 3,000 pounds, a little less than 1.5 tons. In addition, many truck drivers are fatigued. According to some studies, 20% of semi drivers admitted to falling asleep at the wheel during the previous 30 days.
Cars – As mentioned, large trucks can weigh 20 to 30 times more than cars, and their stopping distance is about 20% to 40% greater. That, coupled with driver fatigue and blind spots, can be bad news for car drivers. The ultimate result is that most deaths in truck accidents are occupants of passenger vehicles.
Motorcycles and Bicycles – Motorcycle riders and bicyclists are even more vulnerable in accidents with large trucks. The most common injuries in these accidents are severe head injuries, including brain injury. Next are broken bones, with broken legs being the most common.
Why and Where Truck Accidents Are More Likely to Happen in Vegas
Las Vegas is a bustling night-time entertainment center with heavier traffic for longer hours than other cities. That includes more trucks making more deliveries at all hours, sharing Vegas roads with innumerable cars as well as motorcycles and bicycles. It’s a road and traffic situation ripe for accidents.
The chief concern, though, is I-15, the main artery of the West. This road carries uncounted delivery trucks and tractor trailers delivering goods to Las Vegas and on to southern California every day. Many of these drivers, not a few of whom are battling fatigue, travel this route daily or weekly, which leads to inattention and negligence owing to familiarity. Simply put, it’s often a recipe for accidents.
Knowing About and Avoiding the Different Types of Vegas Truck Accidents
The first step toward avoiding truck accidents involves an awareness of the different types in order to be able to take measures to avoid them. The most common types of truck accidents include:
- Blind Spot – The size of trucks and trailers makes for more and larger blind spots than with a car. Often, then, truck drivers are simply unable to see motorcycles and bicycles.
- Rear-end – With a truck’s heavy weight and long stopping distance, other driver’s following trucks often fail to stop in time.
- Underride – One of the most dangerous (and often fatal), this occurs when a smaller vehicle rear ends a truck and continues to move under the trailer.
- Lost Load – This happens when a portion of a load, usually on a flat-bed trailer, isn’t secured properly and flies off into traffic.
- Jack Knife – Often occurring in the middle of fast moving freeway traffic, this accident happens when axle brakes lock up and the truck driver loses control.
General Tips to Avoid Truck Accidents in Las Vegas
The safety tips for avoiding accidents with trucks flow naturally out of the causes and types of truck accidents in Vegas. The main points to keep in mind while sharing the road with big trucks include:
- Remember the size/weight and stopping distance. Don’t follow too close, and give trucks plenty of room for maneuvering – changing lanes, turning, and the like.
- Stay out of the blind spots. Don’t drive (or ride) directly in front of, behind, or on either side to the rear. Make sure the truck driver is able to see you at all times.
- Don’t pass a turning truck, especially on the right. Trucks have to make wide turns, and a truck turning right may even move into the left lane in order to have enough turning radius to make a right turn.
- Exercise caution and keep your distance under adverse conditions. Large trucks and their many large tires through up a lot of water, snow, and/or mud when weather conditions aren’t the best, which reduces visibility and poses a significant risk.
- Watch out for disintegrating truck tires. Truck tires are notorious for throwing off large chunks of tread with the cord still in it.
Las Vegas Truck Accident Lawyers With Inside Knowledge
But when the worst happens, consider a Las Vegas truck accident attorney who not only understands these cases, but also has inside knowledge about how insurance companies operate. Ramzy Ladah used to worked for the big insurance companies that back trucking companies. So, whether you’ve been in a tire blowout accident, a loose cargo accident, or a blind spot accident, contact Ladah Law.
Frequently Asked Questions & Answers about Las Vegas & Nevada Truck Accidents & Safety
Nobody expects to be involved in a severe truck crash. However, preventable accidents happen much more often than they should as a result of careless and reckless behavior. If you were injured in a truck crash, the first step you should take is to seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. Then, you should get in touch with a Las Vegas truck accident attorney to learn about options for seeking financial compensation.
Given the severity of truck collisions, it is likely that you are facing enormous medical bills and the possibility that you will never be able to return to work. By filing a truck accident claim with the help of an attorney, you can seek compensation for some of those losses.
Truck accidents and truck safety errors can result from the careless or reckless behavior of many different parties. Many truck accident plaintiffs are eligible to file a claim against multiple defendants. While each case has its own set of facts, the following are examples of some of the parties that may be responsible for the truck accident and thus may be liable for damages:
- Truck driver;
- Truck driver’s employer;
- Owner of the truck;
- Employee who loaded the truck;
- Company responsible for loading the truck;
- Mechanic who serviced the truck; and/or
- Designer or manufacturer of the truck or one of its parts, such as a tire manufacturer or a truck brake designer.
If you are considering filing a truck accident claim in Nevada, it is essential to know what the statute of limitations is for filing a lawsuit. Nevada law (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 11.190(4)(e)) says that most personal injury lawsuit—including most truck accident claims caused by negligence—have a two-year statute of limitations. The statute of limitations specifies how much time a plaintiff has to file a claim for compensation.
The clock on the statute of limitations typically starts when the plaintiff sustains an injury, or the date of the accident. If the plaintiff fails to file a claim within two years, she can be barred from filing a lawsuit to seek compensation from the truck collision.
When a truck driver behaves unsafely behind the wheel, or when another party is careless in loading or maintaining a truck, an injured plaintiff can be eligible to receive compensatory damages. This type of damages award compensates a plaintiff for losses, as the name suggests. There are two kinds of compensatory damages:
- Economic damages: compensation for direct, financial losses like medical bills and lost wages for which there is an objective dollar amount.
- Non-economic damages: compensation for subjective losses like pain and suffering for which there is no objective dollar amount.
In very serious cases, Nevada’s punitive damages law (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 42.005) allows plaintiffs to seek and to recover punitive damages. This type of damages award is not designed to compensate a plaintiff for losses but instead is designed to punish the defendant for especially egregious harm.
According to Nevada’s contributory negligence law (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 41.141), a plaintiff can still receive damages as long as she or he is not more at fault for the accident than the defendant(s). In other words, as long as a plaintiff is 50 percent or less responsible, then the law says that she can recover damages but her award will be reduced by her percentage of fault.
For instance, if a plaintiff in a truck accident claim contributed to the accident by speeding, a jury might find the plaintiff 20 percent at fault. If the jury awards a total of $100,000, that award would be reduced by the plaintiff’s negligence, or 20 percent of $100,000 (which totals $20,000). Accordingly, the plaintiff would recover $100,000 minus $20,000, or a total of $80,000.
If you need assistance with your truck accident claim, you should contact a dedicated Las Vegas, Nevada truck accident attorney at the Ladah Law Firm.