Trucking accident cases are not like typical car accident cases. These 18-wheeler behemoths are an entirely different breed of vehicle. They have different regulations they must follow before and during their time on the road. What’s not different is their obligation to practice safe driving, just like anyone else. But when you drive a machine that is literal tons heavier than the other machines around you, certain risks and circumstances follow. If you’ve been injured in an accident with a tractor trailer, it’s imperative to understand what you need to do, and what your options are.
The First Things to Do After a Trucking Accident
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a truck, put your health first by calling 9-1-1 to aid anyone in the accident who was injured. Then, if you are physically able, you should also:
- Take photos of the truck, your vehicle, and the scene.
- Gather the names and contact information of anyone involved.
- Write down the full names and contact information of any witnesses to the crash.
- Take notes about the trucking company, the truck number, and other accessible information.
- If police arrive on the scene, be honest when you speak with them, but do not admit fault to anyone.
- Contact an experienced trucking accident lawyer as soon as you have the chance.
If you want to stand a chance of earning the compensation you deserve after a truck driver causes you injury, you need the right legal team by your side. These cases can go far beyond just attempting to file a claim with insurance companies.
Why Trucking Accidents Are Complicated
Automobile accidents involving large trucks that are employed by trucking companies are more complex than typical car accidents. The primary liable party in the accident is the trucking company itself, not the driver of the truck. So if you file a personal injury lawsuit in the wake of experiencing an accident, you aren’t taking on an individual driver. You’re taking on a large business that has a team of lawyers on its side.
These types of accidents are also more complicated because trucking companies are legally required to record and maintain massive amounts of data related to their trucks and drivers. Destinations, miles traveled, speed traveled, rest periods, driving habits, truck maintenance, and many other aspects of operations are all meticulously recorded by the company. These numbers can sometimes benefit the company, but they can also benefit you, the victim. That’s why gathering this kind of evidence in a timely manner is so important. But trucking and insurance companies don’t willingly hand over such valuable data.
Trucking insurance companies are notorious in the legal industry for defending themselves ruthlessly — even by insurance company standards! Instead of doing what they can to make sure you get the medical care you need, these companies take immediate action to protect themselves and their money. They dispatch their own teams to the scene to gather evidence. Their team of lawyers immediately start building a case. Meanwhile, if you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, you may not even have the capacity to start thinking about how to proceed with seeking compensation.
The Causes and Results of Trucking Accidents
When you pit a 40-ton vehicle against a 2-ton vehicle, it’s not much of a competition. Tractor trailers have the weight and bulk to make them dangerous to other vehicles on the road — especially when other risk factors are involved.
The leading causes of trucking accidents include:
- Distracted driving: Being distracted on the road can lead to poor concentration and dire mistakes.
- Fatigue: Truck drivers spend long hours behind the wheel every day. Fatigue naturally occurs, which is why truck drivers have legally designated hours and distances they’re allowed to operate their vehicle.
- Impaired driving: Impaired driving can include driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, and truck drivers are not exempt from making these deadly choices.
- Poor judgement: Semi-trailers are massive machines that require more self-awareness to maneuver. They need extra time to slow and stop. When speed is miscalculated, it causes accidents. Misunderstanding the sheer size of the vehicle and its turning radius can also be deadly.
- Lack of experience: All truck drivers start somewhere. Newly hired drivers may be less knowledgeable about their truck, how to properly operate it, or the contents they’re transporting.
- Failure to obey traffic rules: When a semi-truck driver disobeys traffic laws, their vehicle can cause much more extensive damage than other vehicles.
Any of the above can lead to serious accidents with severe injuries. Rear-end collisions, head-on collisions, rollovers, blind spot accidents, wide-turn collisions, lost load wrecks, tire blowouts, and bridge strikes are all common trucking crash scenarios.
These types of accidents between car and semi-trailer can have catastrophic results for the passenger vehicle involved. In addition to broken bones, lacerations, and internal injuries, things like traumatic brain injuries and spinal injuries can result in paralysis, loss of brain and bodily function, or death. If you survive, you may require lifelong care. And the company responsible for causing the accident should be held accountable for covering your medical bills, inability to work, and other damages for pain and suffering.
We Can Help You with Your Trucking Accident
Florida has one of the highest rates of trucking accidents in the country. On average, over 30,000 accidents involving these large types of trucks happen in our state each year. The result is hundreds of injuries and dozens of deaths. These crashes are often preventable, which is why the trucking company needs to be held liable for their driver’s negligence. But they’ll do everything in their power to fight that reality.
That’s why you need The Whisler Law Firm. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a truck driver’s negligence, we want to hear your story. We can help you make these companies give you the settlement you deserve. We can prove their negligence when they won’t willingly admit it. Call 833-529-5677 or schedule a free consultation with our team today.