Heavy commercial truck drivers need to exercise caution on the road. The reason is that the sheer size and weight of 18-wheeler vehicles vastly exceed the size and weight of automobiles. As a result, truck accidents are far more deadly than other traffic-related collisions. Data compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration fully supports the above observation.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
There are many causes that contribute to 18-wheeler trucks getting involved in traffic accidents. Some are common among all vehicle accidents, and some are unique to these larger vehicles.
Such causes include:
- Speeding – commercial trucks have to cover a long distance, sometimes in a short amount of time. This means that speeding may occur particularly if a driver feels they are behind schedule and want to reach their destination sooner.
- Fatigue – drivers keep long hours, and though the amount of time they are allowed to spend driving is regulated, these rules are often broken. If truck drivers don’t stay within the drive time regulations, the resulting long hours of driving can easily cause fatigue.
- Distraction – distractions can happen to any driver given the number of distractions available in today’s world. Distractions can be anything from cell phones, tablets, navigation systems, daydreaming, and not watching the road, etc.
- Stopping Distance – 18-wheeler trucks can weigh as much as 40 tons, so it’s much harder for them to stop than normal-sized vehicles. This longer stopping distance can be the cause of serious accidents.
- Malfunction – there are a lot of mechanical and technical components that make up a commercial truck. As such, there are many more parts that may malfunction than a normal car would have. These malfunctions may result in accidents.
If you or your loved one is injured in a big rig accident, you need to understand your legal rights to pursue compensation in such situations. You need a competent attorney who can help you recover full compensation for your losses.
If you want to recover the monetary damages you are entitled to after a truck accident, there are specific actions you should take immediately. Here are some details on what to do after an 18-wheeler collision.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
The priority after any kind of road accident is seeking treatment for injuries as soon as possible. Your health is your first priority after a crash. If you are at the scene and your loved one has respiratory issues, is unconscious or bleeding excessively, you should head to the emergency room right away preferably by ambulance.
You may consider an urgent care center for injuries that are less serious but still require same-day care. These facilities can treat such medical issues as:
- Cuts and abrasions;
- Minor broken bones;
- Whiplash or other soft tissue injuries, to name a few.
Accessing same-day treatment after a truck accident is the best action to take, particularly if you mind your wellbeing. Getting immediate medical attention after an accident helps you avoid further health complications going forward.
Remember, if there is a significant delay between the date of the crash and the date you visit a health care provider, the claims adjuster will contest the severity of your injuries. The assumption is that you would have sought immediate medical treatment if you were hurt badly. An insurer could take advantage of the delay and use the information as grounds to offer a lower settlement amount. The best rule of thumb is to seek care the same day of the truck collision, or at least within 72 hours afterward.
Exchange Information with The Truck Operator
As with any motor vehicle crash, you should obtain basic contact and insurance details from the operator of the truck. However, with a truck accident, it’s also important to get information regarding that person’s employment.
You may have a claim against the driver’s employer, trucking company, or other entities involved with operating the truck as a business.
Leaving an accident scene without evidence is not advisable. The reason is that the injured party or their loved one will face various difficulties when claiming monetary damages later. You need to gather as much evidence from the scene of the accident if you are physically able to do so.
Some of the things you should do when gathering evidence at an accident scene include the following:
- Taking pictures of the surrounding area. Use your cell phone and take as many pictures as possible.
- Take note of obstacles to visibility, traffic signals, lanes of traffic, signs, among other aspects of importance.
- Obtain contact details of any witnesses.
You should also consider approaching businesses with security cameras within the vicinity of the scene of the accident. You can gather valuable information relating to the accident from the video footage that such cameras capture.
Do Not Make Statements to The Insurance Company
As with any accidents, once you notify the truck driver’s insurance company, you should not make any other statements. Insurance companies are not your friend. You need to understand that insurers are always working against victims of a crash. That means that making statements to employees of an insurance company may very well hurt your ability to recover the full compensation that you are entitled to for your property damages and personal injuries.
Additionally, insurance adjusters do not have the best interests of truck crash victims in mind when they are trying to get you to settle your claims. That implies that victims and their loved ones’ risk compromising their rights whenever they discuss the accident and injuries with insurance workers.
Get A 18-Wheeler Accident Attorney Immediately
Reach out to a lawyer with experience in truck crash claims within the shortest time possible after the incident. Part of the benefits of consulting a truck accident attorney after a crash is that they can handle the claims process with the insurance company, which will include;
- Negotiations with the insurance firm.
- Preparing claim forms and supporting documents.
- Conducting the necessary investigation.
- Collecting and reviewing your medical records.
A competent truck accident attorney will have an understanding of the tricks that insurers use to deny payment or to offer the lowest settlement amount. Some of the tactics that insurers use when they want to avoid claims relating to 18-wheeler accidents include contesting the severity of a victim’s injuries, blaming the collision on the victim, among others.
Also, a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer can help you recover the full amount of monetary damages entitled to you by law including;
- The losses you incur as a result of injuries, which will, in turn, affect your relationships.
- Lost wages in case the injuries you suffer will force you out of work.
- Decreased quality of life and enjoyment.
- Pain and suffering.
- Scarring and disfigurement.
- Emotional anguish.
In case your attorney fails to reach a fair and reasonable settlement amount with the insurer in question, they have the option of heading to court where they will represent you accordingly.
Need an Attorney After an 18-wheeler accident?
If you were recently injured in a commercial vehicle accident, you will need an experienced and skilled personal injury attorney on your side. Walker Texas Lawyer has the resources and skills to help you obtain the fair compensation you deserve. You need compensation for your pain, suffering, and financial losses. With over 35 years of experience, he knows and understands how to handle an accident claim. Walker Texas Lawyer will only get paid for his services when you receive compensation for your claim.