Accidents with commercial vehicles

Accidents with commercial vehicles

As drivers, we have all encountered commercial trucks during our outings. For some, sharing the road with a truck can be a nuisance. They are difficult to see around; they can be slow-moving and take up a great deal of space and, let's face it, a truck can be intimidating when you are driving near one. Scarier still is the thought of being in an accident with a tractor-trailer.

However, trade is the lifeblood of the Canadian economy, and the trucking industry is a crucial element in ensuring the delivery of goods. Without commercial trucks, the economy would grind to a halt. There are more than 300,000 truck drivers working in this country. According to Statistics Canada, 90 percent of the 72.9 million freight shipments in Canada were hauled by truck in 2017. One hundred thirty-four thousand for-hire trucking companies are operating on more than one million kilometres of double-lane roads, generating $67.8 billion in operating revenue.

About 2,000 people are killed, and 165,000 are injured in traffic accidents each year in Canada. Statistics show that you are more likely to be involved in a collision with another motor vehicle than a truck. But, catastrophic injuries in an accident with a truck are higher due to their sheer size.

Your world can be shattered in a collision with a commercial vehicle, and there is much to consider when you are making a claim for benefits. Ensuring you receive all you are entitled to can be complex and may require substantial medical evidence and expert opinion. At Kantor LLP, we are here to help. We can provide the advice and access to resources you need to build your case, and we work on a contingency basis. That means our fee is a percentage of the settlement we recover on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation.

The danger on our roadways

You might be surprised to learn that if you laid all the roads in Alberta end to end, you would have enough to drive to the moon. According to CBC News, our province is home to nearly a quarter of Canada's entire roadways. That is the equivalent of about 473,000 kilometres in a single lane. Ontario may be twice the size of Alberta, but we have nearly as many roads. That's because there are many people to connect with over large distances, CBC reports.

Recent statistics reveal there are more than five million vehicles registered in Alberta, which includes one million trucks. With that many roads and vehicles, accidents are bound to happen. Transportation Alberta reports there are close to 400 collisions in this province daily.

More than 90 percent of road crashes are the result of human error or conditions. And many of the same contributory factors can lead to an accident involving a motor vehicle or a commercial truck. This includes driver distraction, fatigue, following too closely, impaired driving, not driving according to road conditions, speeding or unsafe lane changes.

There are other aspects to consider with commercial vehicles. For example, if cargo is not properly secured it can shift and result in a loss of control. Large trucks are more difficult to handle than an average automobile because of their size and weight, especially those with large cargoes. Trucks sit higher and blind spots are more significant. They also need more space to brake and take more time to come to a complete stop than the average motor vehicle. Most of us have seen the aftermath of a collision between a truck and a car, where the truck may only have minor damage while the car absorbs most of the impact.

When a truck loses control, the consequences can be devastating or even fatal. A truck that rolls over or jackknifes can do significant damage to vehicles in its path. If a truck takes a sharp turn too quickly, it can tip over.

Trucks that tailgate can do significant damage if the vehicle ahead is forced to stop quickly. Drifting between lanes or not checking blind spots can cause sideswipe accidents that can total a motor vehicle and lead to life-changing injuries.

Truck drivers are regulated

Driver fatigue can be a contributory factor in an accident. For that reason, carriers and drivers who operate within our province are governed by the Alberta Drivers' Hours of Service Regulation. These rules apply to commercial vehicles that are registered for a weight of 11,794 kilograms or more and commercial vehicles with a manufactured seating capacity of 11 persons or more, including the driver.

Carriers and drivers who operate commercial vehicles in multiple provinces, territories or states must also adhere to Canada's Commercial

Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations.

These rules govern how many hours a driver can work (up to 13 hours) and how many hours of rest are required (eight) before starting another shift. Depending on the circumstance, drivers must keep logs of the kilometres driven, where they went, when they take breaks and when they sleep. These logbooks can provide valuable information if you have been in an accident involving a truck.

What if I have been injured in a truck accident?

If you suffer injuries in an accident, your priority is getting medical attention. Some injuries are not readily apparent. You may have internal injuries, or you may be in shock. Even if you feel fine, you should still see a physician. Seeking timely treatment is also essential if you need to file a claim since it will be necessary to prove you were hurt in the accident.

Gather information if you are able. Get statements from those at the scene or ask witnesses for their contact details so you can get in touch with them later. Take photos or videos of the scene. Exchange the necessary information with the truck driver. The less you say, the better, and do not take even partial responsibility for the accident. Remember, you have just been in a collision, and your emotions may affect your ability to make decisions in your best interest.

If you need medical treatment or therapy while recovering from your injuries, auto insurance policies in Alberta include no-fault accident coverage, also known as Section B benefits.

This ensures your basic medical expenses are covered regardless of the eventual outcome of any personal injury litigation. The limit for coverage for medical treatment is $50,000 per person. 


AFTER AN ACCIDENT, CONTACT US

A personal injury lawyer can help guide you through your options and help you obtain the compensation you need to help you recover from any injuries. They can also make sure that your insurance company does not attempt to limit the compensation that you are owed. Schedule your Free Consultation by calling (403) 452-2011 or send a message to kantor@kantorllp.ca. We will represent you on a contingency fee basis, so we do not get paid for our time and attention until we settle.

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