Trucking accidents involving U-Haul vehicles happen every day in America. Some are minor fender benders, while others involve serious injuries or death. There are many reasons why U-Haul truck accidents occur; however, with big, heavy vehicles, particular care and attention must be taken while driving to ensure the safety of all road users.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that over 90% of the deaths in commercial vehicle accidents were due to driver error. It heightens the responsibility of drivers to pay close attention to the road ahead, ensure they do not exceed speed limits and watch out for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vehicles.
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC seek just and fair compensation for the victims or a family member filing a U-Haul accident claim. We can maximize the compensation clients receive by identifying the involvement of each party and directing litigation to the driver responsible.
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What Makes a U-Haul Accident So Devastating?
A U-Haul crash is among the most devastating types of crashes because of the vehicle’s sheer size. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about one out of every four fatal crashes involves a commercial motor vehicle.
Many people do not realize just how dangerous it is to operate a rental truck. Truck drivers of U-Haul rental trucks often don’t know how to handle them correctly. They often lack training, experience, and proper equipment. It makes driving a big rig even more difficult than driving a regular passenger vehicle.
Being safe behind the wheel of a U-Haul vehicle takes more than a valid driver’s license. In preventing a U-Haul accident, drivers must consider the following:
- Be prepared: Before getting behind the wheel, check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. Make sure you have enough fuel and water. Also, keep a cell phone handy to call for assistance.
- Keep your distance and don’t drive too fast: Always maintain a three-second gap when passing another vehicle. Do not pass too close to the car in front of you. Do not try to overtake unless it is necessary.
- Check the U-Haul truck: Ensure that the U-Haul rental vehicle does not have bad brakes and that the tires are pumped and within specifications.
What Causes U-Haul Truck Accidents?
Most U-Haul accidents happen because drivers aren’t paying attention. Most of the accidents involve speeding, drunken driving, and improper passing. Therefore, knowing how to operate a large rental truck responsibly is essential.
U-Haul trucks weigh up to 80,000 pounds, making them difficult to control. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA reported that 55% of the time, the critical reason for a truck or car accident is the truck driver.
Distracted Driving and U-Haul Truck Accidents
A U-Haul truck is a large vehicle built to carry heavy loads over long distances. They are used for moving furniture, equipment, and other items. These types of moves require careful planning and execution.
If you’re driving a U-Haul truck, you must obey all speed limits and not text or talk on the phone behind the wheel. In most states, cell phone use while operating commercial motor vehicles such as U-Haul trucks and trailers is illegal, including texting, talking on the phone, emailing, or browsing social media.
How Speeding Contributes to Moving Truck Crashes
Speeding contributes to a moving truck crash and is one of the leading causes of fatal truck crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding accounts for about 10% of fatalities caused by commercial trucks. Speeding is responsible for approximately 30% of deaths involving large tractor-trailers.
When a driver tows his family vehicle, it becomes even more dangerous because the trailer’s weight increases the force needed to stop the truck and trailer. It makes it harder to brake safely and control the truck. If you are driving a semi-truck, remember that the maximum legal speed limit while towing is 55 mph.
You don’t want to become another statistic; therefore, adhere to the following::
- Be aware of posted signs.
- Slow down when approaching intersections and railroad crossings.
- Keep a safe distance behind vehicles ahead of you.
- Use turn signals when changing lanes.
Drunk Driving and Moving Truck Accidents
Moving vans are often used to transport large items such as furniture, appliances, and vehicles. They are typically rented out by companies like U-Haul, Ryder, and Budget to a renter with a valid driver’s license. A valid driver’s license is also compulsory to validate the insurance policy on the rental agreement.
A drunk driving crash is common among those who use moving vans. Between 2010 and 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that nearly 10,000 moving van crashes involved alcohol and included both fatal and nonfatal crashes.
Dangerous Lane Changes by U-Haul Drivers
U-Haul drivers have been accused of putting others at risk by moving large vehicles into traffic without paying attention to what’s happening around them. Accident footage shows a U-Haul driver driving a moving truck into the highway’s left lane. As soon as he does it, another car cuts him off, and then, just seconds later, another vehicle slams into his truck.
Failure To Yield the Right of Way
Drivers of large vehicles think they have the right of passage over those who drive smaller ones. This belief leads drivers of large vehicles to believe they are entitled to the right of way even though it is not required under the law and accounts for about 80% of fatal crashes involving large trucks.
Mechanical Failures in U-Haul Moving Trucks
U-Haul trucks are the most used moving vehicle. They are reliable and affordable rental trucks, making them popular among consumers looking to move themselves or their belongings. However, mechanical issues with a U-Haul rental truck can cause serious property damage and even injuries to occupants.
Who Is Responsible for Paying My Damages?
If you rent a moving truck or van, you know it’s essential to protect yourself against potential liabilities. You are responsible for the vehicle’s safety during transport, even though you might not be the driver responsible for the crash and the negligent party.
But what happens when something goes wrong? Who will pay for the damages and medical bills caused by a crash?
The answer depends on whether an auto insurer covers you under the terms of your rental contract. For example, if you have a commercial auto insurance policy covering you and your vehicle, the owner of the truck or van could be held liable for the damages.
However, if you are covered under your personal auto insurance policy, the renter would be responsible for paying those costs.
Types Of U-Haul Accidents
Depending on the needs of the person renting, U-Haul has made many kinds of vans, trucks, and trailers available to those seeking to move across town or to another state. Most drivers have no experience driving large trucks or towing trailers, and inexperience contributes to rental truck accidents.
The most common types of U-Haul crashes include the following.
- Loss of trailer control: Many drivers have little to no experience towing a trailer and cannot make corrections when a rented trailer begins to sway or lose control. Runaway trailer and trailer sway crashes can result.
- Blind spot collisions: There is an incredible difference in the blind spots most drivers are used to when considering the blind spots of large U-Hauls. Inexperienced drivers that do not notice vehicles in their blind spots can cause multi-vehicle crashes when moving into an occupied lane in heavy traffic.
- Truck rollover: The center of gravity of a moving truck is much higher, making it much more prone to roll over when drivers make sudden movements or attempt to take curves at excessive speeds. Rollover accidents with U-Hauls can result in catastrophic injuries.
- Cargo shift: Most commercial vehicles carry loads evenly distributed to prevent trailer control loss or crashes resulting from cargo shifts. A moving truck must check in to weight stations to ensure that trailers are not overloaded or unevenly loaded.
Private truck renters are not subject to these requirements and may load their moving truck without regulations, resulting in an uneven load leading to an accident.
Inexperienced drivers can cause and contribute to the cause of U-Haul accidents. Still, they are not the sole factor when our Chicago trucking accident lawyers consider a case.
The common causes of rental truck accidents include, but are not limited to, the following.
- Driver negligence or reckless behavior: Speeding, distracted driving, failure to obey traffic laws, and substance abuse are all key factors to consider. The accident police report will corroborate the reason for the accident and the at-fault party.
- Improperly maintained vehicles: U-Haul has been known to rent vehicles to customers with inadequate or nonexistent service records. When brakes, tires, and other critical equipment are not maintained or repaired, it can be the cause or primary contributing factor in an accident.
- Failure to perform routine vehicle inspections: U-Haul has a history of poor vehicle maintenance, and vehicles are regularly rented out and have not been inspected for potential safety concerns. This history shows a complete disregard for the safety of the renter and others on the road.
- Defective equipment and truck design: Sometimes, the truck or parts manufacturers are to blame for an equipment failure that results in an accident. When this is the case, the manufacturer can share liability with the other parties found at fault.
Liability In U-Haul Crashes
Regarding rental vehicles, drivers must understand what coverage they purchase. For example, many people do not realize that renters are responsible for injuries caused by the negligence of others. If someone else causes an accident while driving a rented vehicle, the renter could be liable for damages.
In addition to being legally obligated to pay for any injuries caused by the drivers of other vehicles, renters are often required to purchase additional liability auto insurance. These auto insurance policies cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and funeral costs.
The best way to avoid potential liability problems is to carefully check the terms and conditions of the rental agreement. Inquire about the insurance information (such as the amount of insurance) on the insurance policy included in the rental trucks’ price.
Insurance Coverage If Mechanical Failure Causes Your U-Haul Collision
If you rent a U-Haul moving van, you probably know how important it is to keep track of your U-Haul rental agreement. You want to ensure you don’t miss anything, such as mileage limits or terms and conditions. But what about liability insurance? What happens if you cause damage to someone else’s property during a move?
The answer is simple: you’re responsible for paying for any damage caused by mechanical failure. However, the type of insurance coverage you receive depends on whether the accident happened while the vehicle was being driven by you or not.
In most states, renters are required to carry U-Haul’s liability insurance. It protects the property owner against claims made by other drivers injured due to negligence on the part of the renter. Liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage up to $50,000 per occurrence.
While you might think that you’ll never use U-Haul’s insurance, accidents happen. And if one occurs while driving, you could be liable for any damage.
If you rent a U-Haul moving van, read through the contract carefully and take note of your coverage limits. If you find something missing, contact your agent immediately.
Insurance Liability Coverage If the U-Haul Driver Is at Fault
If you are involved in an accident while driving a U-Haul, there are several things you need to know about insurance liability coverage. First, if you are at fault in the accident while driving your personal vehicle, your auto insurance policy will likely cover damages and injuries caused to others.
However, their policy will likely not provide coverage for damages and injuries if you, the U-Haul driver, is at fault because most personal auto policies exclude coverage for rented or leased vehicles.
The U-Haul driver is usually responsible for any damages and injuries caused in an accident if their negligence caused it. To protect yourself, it is important to purchase liability insurance from U-Haul. This insurance will cover damages and injuries caused by the U-Haul driver up to the policy limits.
It is also important to note that U-Haul’s liability insurance only covers crashes that occur while the truck is being used for rental purposes.
Your Responsibilities in A U-Haul Accident Claim
New Jersey law requires drivers involved in accidents to stop and exchange information about what happened. If you fail to do so, you could face fines and penalties, whether you were negligent or not.
Under current law, you still have to prove that the other driver was responsible for causing the U-Haul accident. In addition to proving fault, you’ll want to establish liability from the crash, which will mean proving the other driver was legally liable for your injuries.
There are several ways to make this happen, including showing that they failed to yield the right-of-way or had a history of reckless driving.
Motor Vehicle Accidents Involving Defective U-Haul Trailers
UHaul is one of the largest moving companies in the United States. In 2016 alone, it moved over 4 million vehicles across the nation. In addition to their driving vehicles, UHaul offers various types of trailers.
One type of trailer that UHaul sells is called a “cargo box.” These cargo boxes hold large items like furniture, appliances, and boats.
However, there are some problems with these cargo boxes.
- They’re cumbersome and can weigh up to 2,500 pounds.
- They don’t always fit properly in the truck bed.
- They often break down while being towed.
How Much is a Typical U-Haul Accident Case Worth?
A U-Haul accident attorney can help you file a claim with the insurance company covering the vehicle’s owner involved in the crash. You must consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible if you are injured.
You might qualify for free legal assistance if you meet specific criteria. An experienced U-Haul truck accident lawyer will work closely with you to understand what happened during the collision and how much money you are entitled to receive, especially if you received medical attention for your injuries.
They can negotiate a settlement directly with the insurance company or represent you in court. In either case, an experienced U-Haul accident lawyer knows how to maximize your recovery.
In addition to negotiating a fair settlement amount, an experienced U-Haul attorney can assist you with filing a claim with the insurance provider and obtaining the necessary documentation.
For example, if you cannot provide proof of income because you are still recovering from injuries sustained in the accident. In that case, your personal injury lawyer can obtain wage loss statements and tax returns to support your claim.
Obtain a Free Case Review for Your U-Haul Truck Accident Case Today
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, personal injury lawyers, is the most trusted truck accident law firm in Illinois. If you or a family member have been injured in a U-Haul trucking or car accident, speak to an experienced attorney today to schedule a risk-free consultation.
Our personal injury lawyers can secure the compensation needed to pay for your medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and other financial losses relating to your truck or car crash.
Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis and only receive payment upon successfully securing compensation on your behalf. If we cannot win your case or obtain an out-of-court settlement on your behalf, our services will be free of charge.