The ubiquitous U-Haul style box truck or trailer is an everyday sight for many on America’s highways and freeways. The U-Haul company and many others make these large, spacious vehicles available for rent to just about anybody to be able to move to a new home or transport furniture and other large household items. With how common they are and how easy it is to rent one, it’s easy to forget that these are actually very serious vehicles. Box trucks are heavy machinery, designed to withstand the rigors of heavy loads and long travel. When one of them causes an accident on the road, it can lead to utter devastation in the lives of victims who are struck.
How do these types of accidents happen, and who may be liable for your injuries after an accident? Here’s what you should know.
How U-Haul Truck Accidents Happen
One of the biggest issues with these types of trucks when it comes to accidents is that almost anyone can rent one. No special driver’s license or training is required, even for the largest trucks that are up to 26 feet in length. These trucks weigh in at well over 6 tons, or about 12,600 pounds—and that’s empty weight, before any goods are in the cargo compartment. For comparison, the average consumer automobile weighs in at about 1.5 tons, or around 3,000 pounds. Even a larger SUV, pickup truck, or similar vehicle doesn’t weigh much more, in the 2- to 2.4-ton range.
If going from driving even the largest consumer vehicles available to driving a 12,000-pound, 26-foot truck with zero experience sounds like a recipe for disaster to you, you’re right. Inexperienced drivers can cause many accidents with these large vehicles, particularly by not being familiar with:
- Blind spots. Every vehicle has blind spots that cannot be seen with mirrors, but box trucks and other larger vehicles have significantly larger ones. Being unused to having such large blind spots can lead an inexperienced U-Haul driver into causing an accident while changing lanes, merging, or passing.
- A higher center of gravity. Box trucks have higher suspension and a higher overall center of gravity compared to most regular cars. This means that they handle far differently when turning and are at risk of toppling over, leading to horrendous crushing accidents.
- Good cargo loading practices. Properly loading a truck involves more than just putting your things in the back, shutting the door, and driving off. If the load isn’t balanced right and secured properly, it can cause a dangerous weight shift that can tip the truck or roll it right over, even on what seems to be a mild, slow turn.
Box trucks aren’t the only concern, either. Even a trailer rental hitched to a car can pose unique challenges for someone who isn’t used to it. Improper loading can unbalance the trailer, causing it to sway dangerously and even tip it over, taking the attached vehicle with it, for example.
Box Truck Maintenance Problems
Moving truck rental companies are also supposed to regularly maintain their vehicles, but this doesn’t always happen in practice. A vehicle that weighs over six tons that experiences a sudden brake or steering failure due to lack of proper maintenance can cause a deadly accident fast. Worn tires or even the wrong type of tire on the truck can also cause catastrophic failure. Events like these can expose the rental company to legal liability for any injuries or property damage that result from the maintenance issues.
Get Legal Help After an Accident
Determining liability after an accident with a U-Haul or other box truck or trailer rental company can be difficult. You may have to deal with multiple insurance companies, including the driver’s insurance policy, supplemental policies they may have purchased at the time of rental, the rental company’s insurers, and others, including your own company. A personal injury attorney can help you determine your legal options when it comes to making your claim against all responsible parties, so that you can be sure to seek compensation from everyone who owes you after the crash.
The attorneys at Wayne Wright LLP are here to fight for the rights of people who have been seriously injured in automobile accidents, and we would like to help you and your family get the justice you deserve in a court of law. To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced legal professional at Wayne Wright LLP, call us by phone today, use our online contact form, or click the live chat box on this page right now.