Here at The Segal Law Firm, we have seen every kind of coal truck accident. These wrecks are almost always devastating, especially if a passenger vehicle is involved. Coal truck drivers have a special set of federal regulations that must be followed at all times, but, unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Lack of caution, fatigue, speed and impaired driving are common causes of negligence. If I have a client who has been hurt or killed in one of these tragedies, I work hard to figure out what caused it and who we can sue to get the victim as much help as possible.
Too Fast, Too Heavy
Speed is definitely a major culprit in coal truck accidents. We see a lot of wrecks where the road was narrow or curvy and the driver is simply going way too fast. They might be overloaded, but even if they aren’t, it’s not hard to speed when you weigh that much. Because of the truck’s size, if it collides with a passenger vehicle, it’s not going to be pretty. When we are investigating a case, we usually start looking for signs of speeding from the get-go; various types of reconstruction, skid marks and other clues will help us.
You’ve also got drivers who are not paying attention to the road. The weather can play a huge part here. Take the narrow and curvy roads and add snow, sleet or rain and you’ve got a recipe for disaster if the driver isn’t taking caution. It seems like common sense to slow down and pay attention, right? Well, when you’ve been on the road for eight hours and this is the sixth day you’ve been doing it, you might end up on autopilot. It’s during those times, when the driver loses focus for just a few moments, that accidents occur.
When it comes to coal truck accidents, fatigue is the word to remember. You’ve got drivers who are overworked, haven’t slept properly in days and are just plain worn out. We figured out a long time ago, during the First and Second World Wars, that people who are tired do not function as well as people who are well rested. We learned this with our troops who were driving caravans for literally multiple days without sleep, flying airplanes and on bombing missions. All of that science translates to coal truck drivers. If you work a guy to death, day in and day out, and he doesn’t have enough rest, well that’s an accident looking for a place to happen. Often times, we will see that the driver has not had sufficient rest to be operating something that weighs that much.
Impaired and Lethal
Unfortunately, we at The Segal Law Firm also see a lot of cases where the driver of the coal truck is under the influence of pain pills, speed, drugs, or alcohol. The combination of speed to stay awake and alcohol is a formula for death. Throughout our investigation, we will often stumble across evidence that proves the driver was impaired and it led to a very serious injury or death. We obviously have very strict rules about passenger vehicles driving under the influence. These same rules apply to coal truck drivers and it’s not hard to understand why when you see the deadly effect they can have.
There are several different causes of coal truck accidents, but the above mentioned are the ones we find the most. Of course, I’ve been accused before of being too nitpicky, of trying to put blame on these poor drivers who are just trying to make a living. Well, let me tell you, I’m not out to get them. I’m out to get the boss who has put his driver on the road ten, eleven, twelve hours a day and then expects him to be back at work four hours later! Those are the folks that deserve to pay if my client has been seriously hurt or killed due to their negligence. There’s a way to operate these trucks safely and effectively and it’s our job to hold the companies accountable and make sure that happens.
If you’ve been hurt in a coal truck accident, you’ve got to find an attorney who knows how to protect you. They must have the experience and knowledge to get to the bottom of the case as quickly as possible; looking at the paperwork, the investigation, studying what happened to you or a family member and understanding the environment that a coal truck driving works in. We have that experience here at The Segal Law Firm. If you have been involved in an accident or have questions for a family member, I’d be happy to answer them. You can call me up at 855-344-9100.