Have you or a loved one been injured in a tractor-trailer accident? We know how hard this is to deal with as a family, and we want to help. Contact Burg Simpson for a free consultation to find out your legal options.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 74% of large truck crashes in 2020 involved tractor trailers. Long hours and safety defects are major contributors to large truck crashes. In 2020, at least one large truck was involved in 15 percent of work zone injury crashes and 26 percent of work zone fatal crashes. Fatal large truck collisions increased 27 percent from 10.6 to 13.49 fatal crashes per million people in the United States.
Many trucking accidents are caused by negligent truck drivers, whether they are speeding, driving recklessly or under the influence, distracted, or fatigued. Other times, the cause could be negligence by the truck company or even the local government. Regardless, a tractor trailer accident is a terrifying event with a high cost of physical and emotional injuries. If you’ve been injured in a tractor-trailer accident, a personal injury lawyer can provide you with a free consultation. Call Burg Simpson at (888) 895-2080 or fill out a FREE case evaluation form today.
A tractor-trailer is a transport vehicle for goods that consists of a type of large truck called a semi-tractor, semi-truck, or large semi-truck, and attached trailer. It is also known as an 18-wheeler or a big rig. The average semi-truck in the United States is about 13.5 feet high, 8.5. feet wide, and 72 feet long. It can weigh up to 80,000 pounds by federal law, or more with a special overweight permit. Most truckers are long-haul drivers and operate trucks that have a total weight of 26,000 pounds. By comparison, standard passenger vehicles weigh 3,000 to 4,000 pounds.
What makes trucking accidents different is not only the large weight of the semi trucks, but their disproportionately large size in comparison to smaller passenger vehicles. Furthermore, semi-trucks often transport hazardous materials such as flammable liquids and toxic chemicals. Also, they take 40% longer to stop when braking compared to cars, and poorly maintained brakes or slippery roads mean they take even longer.
A trucking accident can take several forms:
Side-impact collisions as with the T-bone and sideswipe are often more dangerous than head-on or rear-end collisions. That’s because the driver in a passenger vehicle has less protection and any injuries they sustain in a side-impact crash may not be immediately apparent. Regardless of the type of collision you experienced, even if you believe it was minor, it’s in your best interest to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Your doctor will be able to determine the extent of your injuries. Since part of supporting your tractor-trailer accident claim is being able to describe the type of accident you experienced and how it caused your injuries, a medical evaluation following the incident is a primary piece of evidence. With the help of an experienced lawyer, you’ll be able to create a strong case for fair compensation.
Trucking accidents involving tractor-trailers close down roadways and can result in fiery collisions and deadly crashes involving multiple drivers. Accidents involving semi-trucks are more serious than accidents involving other vehicles because these types of commercial vehicles have a large size, length, and weight. Such large trucks are difficult to maneuver and have larger blind spots than other vehicles, so a small mistake or oversight by a driver or another party could result in disaster for the driver and other vehicles around them. Smaller vehicle drivers cannot see in front of or alongside the truck due to its rear blind spot, which is approximately 200 feet from the truck’s back bumper.
Common causes of tractor-trailer accidents when the at-fault party is a negligent truck driver are:
Other causes are adverse weather conditions or dangerous road conditions. When the trucking companies are at fault to any degree, it is often due to:
Tire blowouts can cause any one of several types of truck accidents and are often due to improper loading or a lack of maintenance on the tires. However, by far, the most common cause of large truck crashes is some form of driver inattention or driver error that causes them to lose control of the wheel or the weight of the truck.
A semi-truck is long and wide, making it difficult to steer around debris and other obstacles in the road. It can easily push other vehicles under its trailer during a collision. The injuries from trucking accidents are similar to those in car accidents but often more severe. Here are some examples:
Personal injury law often holds at least one party accountable in any type of accident. Truck accidents involve multiple parties. Depending on where you’re located, your state is either an “at-fault” or a “no-fault” state for vehicle accidents. Some at-fault states have a modified comparative fault rule that assigns a portion of liability to each party. Under a comparative fault rule, anyone can seek compensation for injuries they sustained from a trucking accident if they were 50% or less at fault. Their state’s negligence law then determines the amount of damages that will be awarded to each party.
The potentially liable parties in a trucking accident are:
Both at-fault and no-fault states allow people who’ve been injured in a truck accident to seek compensation by filing a claim with their own insurance company or with the other driver’s insurance company. In a no-fault state, you cannot generally file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party unless certain conditions are met, such as having severe injuries. Car insurance in no-fault states requires drivers to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) for their car insurance, and it is their PIP that pays for their injury claims.
Typically, the truck driver and trucking company are financially liable for paying damages to accident survivors and victims’ families. The primary damages are economic as they are compensation for bills, expenses, and physical consequences related to injuries sustained from the accident:
To receive compensation for economic damages, it is important to save every bill and receipt associated with the accident, your injuries, or your medical care. A lawyer can gather the medical records that will be necessary for showing the set dollar amounts you need to be compensated for. For instances in which you do not have a receipt, it is sometimes possible to estimate the cost.
Secondary are non-economic damages, which include things like:
Non-economic damages are difficult to calculate. To do so, it is best to have a personal injury lawyer on your side to determine the types of non-economic damages you are entitled to, and then calculate them based on a daily value or multiplier times the number of days the survivor experienced pain and suffering.
Punitive damages are another type of damages that accident survivors or their loved ones may collect in a trucking accident. In cases where the semi large truck driver was extremely negligent through fraud, willful misconduct, or malice, punitive damages are sometimes awarded by the judge. Such damages serve as a message to the public and punishment for the at-fault party. Punitive damages are rare. Your attorney can advise you on whether you should try to collect them.
Determining liability is a major priority in your truck accident injury claim. But to obtain full compensation and recover from the incident, it is necessary to hold the correct party responsible. For example, if certain regulations were not followed, both the driver and an associated party could be at fault. That’s why it’s important to thoroughly investigate your case, gather evidence, and carefully deal with insurance companies. We at Burg Simpson are committed to our clients and giving them the legal representation they need to hold the responsible party accountable.
Here are some facts about tractor-trailer accidents from 2020:
You can safely share the road with semi-trucks by keeping some helpful tips in mind:
Drivers, including truckers themselves, experience serious injuries from truck accidents. Commercial trucks provide essential goods to businesses, but that doesn’t mean negligent behavior that causes people to get injured is acceptable.
If you or your loved one has been injured in a truck crash, you need legal representation with extensive knowledge, experience, and a successful track record. Burg Simpson is ready to fight for you to avoid being bullied by a trucking company. We want to help you get the maximum compensation you are entitled to. To get a free consultation, call us at (888) 895-2080 or fill out our online form.