Personal Injury & Accident Attorneys, Services and Consultations

Truck Accident Lawyers

Sharing the road with big rigs is an intimidating yet necessary factor of driving. Truckers are necessary to transport goods and keep our economy flowing.

The trucks can be extremely heavy and weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, this is not good news for motorists who may find themselves in a collision with a semi truck.

Unfortunately an accident with a larger vehicle, such as a semi-truck, has a higher probability of fatalities among passengers and drivers. Knowing what causes accidents among big trucks can help reduce serious injury or death. 

In order to safely share the road with big rigs, drivers must remember to not follow them too closely, to stay out of their blind spots and to be patient with semi trucks, especially when they are accelerating because due to their massive weight, it can take them quite a bit longer to accelerate. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a big rig, it’s important that you find a personal injury attorney to handle your case because insurance companies and trucking companies may try to offer victims lowball offers or no compensation at all, but an attorney will make sure you get the compensation you deserve.

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Are you a victim of a Truck Accident?

The roadway can be a dangerous place, whether you encounter somebody who is driving under the influence, driving while distracted or who can’t see you from a blind spot, the hazards on the road are a plenty. 

But, when you throw in a semi truck that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, the consequences of an accident can become life-altering and deadly. Statistics show that semi accidents claimed the lives of 4,761 people in 2017 and injured tens of thousands more people. 

The vast majority of trucks involved in fatal accidents were tractor trailers, and more than 70 percent of those who were killed were the occupants of cars and other vehicles.

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What to do after a Truck Accident

There are many types of accidents that can occur when you collide with a semi truck but the protocol for what to do after such an accident remains the same.

Seek legal help as soon as possible. Truck accidents are more complex than other auto accidents, be sure to find an experienced attorney who specializes in truck accident lawsuits.

Call 911 Immediatly

If you are involved in a semi accident, stay at the scene until help arrives. Call 911 immediately and wait there or you could be charged with leaving the scene of an accident and/or hit-and-run.

Don't Leave

If you need to move your car for safety reasons or because it is blocking traffic, and you can do so safely, pull it over to the side of the road. Turn your hazard lights on. By waiting for the police, you have an independent third party at the scene of the accident who has the authority to ask for the driver’s identity, registration, and insurance information.

Are you OK? "I don't know"

Never tell the driver or police that you are “okay.” This can be used against you in court at a later date. In fact, you don’t even know if you really are okay until you have been cleared by a doctor. Seemingly minor injuries may develop into serious and permanent injuries. When asked if you are alright, simply say "I don't know".

Don't Negotiate

Never try to negotiate with the at-fault driver. The driver may not give you accurate information about his or her identity, insurance coverage, or vehicle ownership. Many drivers who cause a crash will apologize at the scene and accept blame for the collision, but later, after they have had time to consider the consequences of their negligence, will deny that they were negligent. They may even deny that they were even at the accident scene!

Document for yourself

The police officer will be responsible for taking photos of the scene and collecting any evidence for the official police report but you should still take your own pictures as well. Document any damage to the road such as skid marks, damage to the driver’s vehicle as well as your car and any injuries that you have sustained.

Collect Information

If you are able, get the names and insurance information of other people involved in the accident. Also make note of the location of the accident and conditions at the time of the accident, including weather conditions and time of day. Take any photos that you can of the scene, all vehicles involved and any injuries. Only do this from a safe place and don’t put yourself in danger or in traffic to take photos. The police and/or insurance adjuster will also come to take photos and collect evidence. Important information to collect after a truck accident: The license plate of the truck and any other identifying information (make/model). Names and contact information of all drivers and any witnesses.

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Most Common Truck Accident Causes

Driver error
A contributing factor in most fatal crashes involving large trucks. Just over half of passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal truck crashes were cited for driver-related factors in 2017. Truck driver errors, on the other hand, were a factor in nearly one-third of those crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Careless driving
Another contributing factor to accidents involving big rigs. Approximately 5 percent of large trucks involved in fatal crashes had vehicle-related problems, such as brake problems or tire issues.

Truck driver fatigue

This is a serious problem in the trucking industry. Truckers work long hours and have very far commutes. They often don’t get adequate sleep and instead rely on short naps. One federal study that monitored 80 truck drivers over 7,500 hours of truck driving found that they averaged only 4.8 hours of sleep per day, and more than half experienced at least one 6-minute interval of drowsiness while at the wheel.

Drowsy driving can have deadly consequences. Being awake for at least 18 hours is comparable to having a blood alcohol content of 0.05 percent, according to the CDC.

Distracted driving

This is also a serious problem. A 2009 study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that distractions played a role in 71 percent of crashes involving commercial drivers. Distractions on the road these days are plentiful from text messaging, video chatting, calling, messing with the radio, eating, interacting with a dispatching service, reaching for an object and many more.

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Preventing Truck Accidents

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration urges motor vehicle drivers to follow these rules to avoid accidents with large trucks:

Blind Spot Awareness

Trucks have bigger blind spots than cars. Be sure not to drive in these zones. A good rule of thumb to abide by is that if you can’t see the truck driver in their side mirror, they can’t see you.

Pass with care

Never try and pass a commercial truck until you can see it in your rearview mirror and always give them extra space. Never pass trucks on downgrades, where they tend to pick up speed. If a truck is trying to pass you, stay to the right, slow down and give them room.

Anticipate wide turns

Recognize that trucks need more room to maneuver and may swing wide. Never block the box at intersections and never try to squeeze by a turning truck and the curb.

Common Sense

Use common sense on the roads. Stay alert, never drive under the influence, avoid distractions and always buckle up.

Never cut off a truck

If you move in front of a truck too quickly, you might be in a blind spot and could get hit. Remember that a truck needs way more space than a car to come to a complete stop in an emergency.

Don’t tailgate

Don’t tailgate. Never ride on a truck’s bumper because this not only puts you in their blind spot but it also increases your danger of sliding under the truck if there is a crash.

Practice patience

Big rigs do not operate the same way that passenger cars do and they need longer to accelerate due to their massive weight. Don’t be aggressive because that can cause a distraction that leads to an accident.

Personal Injury Accident Attorneys, Services and Consultations for victims of Truck Accidents

Hiring a personal injury attorney will give you the time you need to heal and get back on your feet while entrusting an experienced legal professional to get you the compensation you deserve.

It’s important to remember that in these situations, insurance companies are not on your side. They will try to take advantage of the fact that you aren’t familiar with the laws or with insurance claims processes and they will offer you a settlement that will not cover all of your costs. When you hire an experienced attorney you will get the compensation that you deserve.

There also may be more than one party at fault for the accident and the legal process can get quite complex, but an attorney will be well-versed in these types of situations and will not be intimidated by multiple parties or insurance companies.

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