Motor vehicle accidents are complex events because most collisions involve two or more vehicles. Accidents involving large trucks create even more challenges because truck accidents often lead to a chain reaction of collisions. In an extensive study, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) examined the common causes of large truck accidents. Understanding the causes of an Oregon truck accident is critical to establishing truck accident liability and recovering damages.
Establishing Causation After a Truck Crash in Oregon
Many elements can influence the likelihood of a truck accident. These factors might even occur hours, days, or months before the accident. Some common causes of Oregon truck accidents that occur before a crash include the following:
- Poor driver training and experience,
- Defective vehicle design and manufacture,
- Poor highway conditions,
- Defective traffic signals, and
- Weather conditions.
Other factors could occur right before an accident. Such factors include the following:
- Sudden lane changes,
- Tire blowout,
- Reckless driving, and
- Unexpected environmental factors.
In addition, fatigue, impairment, and speeding can be significant factors in truck accidents. While their presence does not always lead to a collision, these factors, in addition to other drivers, vehicles, and environmental factors, are likely to increase the risk of a large truck accident.
Truck Crash Statistics
NHTSA reviewed crash data from a period of 33 months and found nearly 120,000 fatal and injury crashes involving 141,000 large trucks. Moreover, the most recent data from Oregon’s Crash Analysis & Reporting Unit revealed about 1,900 crashes involving medium to heavy trucks in the last reporting year.
What Are the Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Oregon?
In FMCSA’s study on large truck accidents, the agency found that driver errors accounted for 87% of truck crashes. While there are many types of truck accidents, driver errors generally fall under the following categories:
- Non-performance: This includes situations where the driver suffered disability because of a heart attack, fell asleep behind the wheel, or suffered another physical impairment.
- Recognition: This includes incidents where the driver was inattentive, distracted, or failed to observe their surroundings.
- Decision: If the driver drove too fast for weather conditions, misjudged other drivers’ actions, or followed too closely behind other cars, these poor decisions can cause a crash.
- Performance: Poor performance can include situations where the driver panicked, overcompensated, or exercised poor vehicle control.
In addition, the following were the top 10 factors involved in large truck crashes (in no particular order):
- Brake defects;
- Speeding, especially going too fast for weather or road conditions;
- Lack of familiarity with the route, area, or street;
- Over-the-counter drug use;
- Traffic congestion or other factors that interrupt traffic flow;
- The use of prescription drugs;
- Roadway issues;
- Failure to stop at a traffic signal or crosswalk;
- Inadequate surveillance; and
There are some key differences between crashes involving two or more large trucks and crashes involving a large truck and a passenger vehicle. For larger trucks, but not passenger vehicles, tailgating and distraction were significant contributing factors. Further, truck defects involving brakes, tires, and cargo shifts were linked to accidents occurring between two large trucks. For accidents involving passenger vehicles, alcohol and drug impairment were statistically significant causes of accidents.
Most Common Injuries After an Oregon Truck Accident
Studies examining truck collisions have found many factors that can impact the severity of injuries after an accident. Specific driving errors, such as speeding, improper driving, and drinking alcohol, contribute to severe injuries. Further, environmental factors and vehicle characteristics such as nighttime driving and driving on dark roads led to higher risks of accidents with serious injuries.
These behaviors can lead to serious injuries, including the following:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI),
- Internal organ damage,
- Neck injuries,
- Permanent disfigurement and scarring, and
- Broken bones.
The extent of the injury also depends on the size of the truck and the length of time between the injury and receiving medical treatment.
Who Is Liable After an Oregon Truck Crash?
Holding the appropriate party responsible for the damage is essential to recovering adequate compensation after an accident. In most cases, trucking accidents involve individuals and usually at least one company or agency. Depending on the unique circumstances of the accident, there may be several potentially liable entities.
In many cases, the truck driver’s negligence is at least partly, if not fully, responsible for the accident. For example, the truck driver might be liable if they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, or driving while distracted.
A trucking company that hired the truck driver might be liable if they engaged in specific negligent hiring, training, or retention practices. Further, the trucking company could be responsible if they failed to inspect, maintain, or repair defective parts.
In some cases, a trucking company might not own the truck they provided to the driver. In these cases, the truck owner might be liable if they failed to maintain the truck in accordance with federal trucking standards.
Some trucking accidents stem from shifting or unsecured cargo. In these situations, the individual or entity responsible for loading the cargo could be responsible.
Those who suffer injuries in an accident caused by defective or malfunctioning truck parts may hold the truck or truck parts manufacturer liable.
Truck accident cases are usually more complex than passenger vehicle accidents, especially if they involve multiple parties. An attorney can help truck accident victims understand their rights and remedies in these challenging claims.
Have You Been Injured in an Oregon Truck Accident?
If you or someone you love was recently injured in a truck accident, reach out to the dedicated Oregon truck accident attorneys at D’Amore Law Group for immediate assistance. Attorney Tom D’Amore established D’Amore Law Group over 30 years ago to help accident victims recover meaningful compensation so they can get their lives back on track after a serious accident. Attorney D’Amore is both a skilled attorney and the only Board-Certified (by the National Board of Trial Advocacy) trucking law attorney residing in Oregon, which gives him unrivaled knowledge when it comes to developing a successful case against negligent truck drivers, trucking companies, and truck manufacturers. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our team at D’Amore Law Group today.