Traffic accidents involving big rigs, 18-wheelers, semis, semitrailers most often end up with catastrophic injuries. When a crash takes place between a big rig and a passenger car, the persons in the smaller automobile are particularly vulnerable to severe injuries and even loss of life.
Operating big rigs is a difficult task, for that reason, truck drivers are required to receive extensive preparation and training and special licensing. Careful investigations of truck accidents often reveal that a truck driver was engaged in some type of negligent behavior. Certainly, there are also instances where truck drivers are not responsible for the loss – for that reason, many big rigs are equipped with dash cameras.
COMMON CAUSES OF “BIG RIG” TRUCKING ACCIDENTS
Some of the common causes of big rig accidents involve:
- Driver fatigue
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Excessive speed
- Lack of experience and training
- Failure to obey traffic laws
- Weather conditions
- Faulty road designs
The faster your speed, the longer it will take you to stop the automobile that you’re driving. But when you are operating a vehicle up to 70 feet long that weighs almost 80,000 pounds, coming to a stop would be far more difficult. The heavier the big-rig, the longer it takes for it to come to a complete stop; the longer it takes to stop, the greater the scale for danger and destruction. Even a slight distraction on the part of a truck driver can result in serious injuries, property damage and even loss of life.
COMMON TRUCK ACCIDENT INJURIES
The weight of the truck is a key factor in the catastrophic nature of the injuries. When a crash happens between a passenger automobile and a big-rig, it is almost always the smaller vehicle that suffers the most damage. Common truck accident injuries involve:
- Fracture bones
- Spinal injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Burn injuries
- Loss of life
After experiencing traumatic injury, or other symptoms relating to a truck related accident, seeing your healthcare provider is essential to assess the likely causes and treatment options.
Do not ignore your symptoms. Any signs of injuries after an auto accident, however minimal, needs to be addressed by a medical doctor to avoid any complications and additional injuries.
FEDERAL TRUCKING LAWS
The vast majority of federal regulations relating to the trucking industry are in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Federal trucking laws establish standards that carriers, owners, and drivers must meet, and often establish who’s responsible for a trucking accident.
For instance, federal law restricts the number of hours that drivers can work. Drivers that carry property in their commercial vehicles can work a maximum of 14 consecutive hours, during which time they can drive for a maximum of 11 straight hours. The driver must be off-duty for ten consecutive hours before starting a shift. A driver cannot drive after being on duty for 60 hours over seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight consecutive days, depending on whether the carrier operates its vehicles every day of the week. (49 C.F.R. § 395.3). Federal law also requires truckers to record their driving information in logbooks. (49 C.F.R. § 395.8).
Agencies that regulate truck driving include the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The USDOT sets safety regulations, while the FMCSA works to prevent deaths and injuries from commercial motor vehicles. Truck safety standards, for example, equipment, emissions, truck weight. Also, trucking entities must have various levels of insurance coverage based on what they’re transporting.
TRUCK ACCIDENT SETTLEMENTS AND COMPENSATION
Depending on the number of parties involved, the facts and evidence of the case, there may be various insurance policies that apply in a truck related wreck. Before settling injury trucking claims, our firm would have to identify who is legally liable for causing the crash.
In a commercial trucking accidents, numerous parties may be responsible for paying. Such process would entail a thorough investigation for potential liability and a source of payment for your damages. Even if there is evidence that you may be partly responsible for the accident, you still might be able to recover for your damages. Remember, insurance companies are in the business of making money and not settling claims. This is why, you should let our firm handle your injury claim while you concentrate on your recovery – do not attempt to resolve your claims yourself.
Aside from the truck driver’s insurance, some of the parties or entities that may be liable for damages in a truck injury case would include:
- Company leasing the truck
- Trucking company
- Owner of the truck
- Company leasing the trailer
- Shipper who’s supplies, merchandise, cargo, are being transported
- Truck, trailer or parts manufacturer
- A local government or contractor responsible for highway design or maintenance
STEPS TO TAKE AFTER AN ACCIDENT WITH A BIG RIG TRUCK
Preserving and collecting evidence after any kind of accident is the key factor in injury related cases. If you get in a collision with a big rig truck, seek immediate medical attention. If you are able to:
- Notify the law enforcement about the incident
- Be sure to get information on all the parties involved in the accident, including driver license and insurance information
- Use your phone to take as many photos as possible for the damages caused to all vehicles and the scene of the accident
- If you see independent witnesses at the scene of the accident, document their name and phone number.
WHY CHOOSE ARATTA LAW FIRM?
At our firm, every injured client will be in direct contact with an attorney. Many large corporate law firms end up transferring you to a case manager – you never speak to an attorney directly and your case becomes part of the mill.
At our firm, we do things different. We pay close attention to every individual case, from the inception and throughout the process of the claim / lawsuit. Our diligence and attention to detail result in consistent higher settlements, which adds up to a higher compensation for you, the client.
ATTORNEY’S ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE
Even though you may have a solid personal injury claim, the skill and the attentiveness of your attorney can also considerably impact how much compensation you will receive for your injuries. If your injury claim is negotiated by a case manager, assigned to your file at a firm, and not an attorney, your claim may end up settling for a lesser amount. This is because adjusters know who they’re dealing with and how aggressive the firm is when settling injury cases. Insurance adjusters also know who they can bully into accepting lower settlements.
An attorney’s ability to negotiate a settlement is, in many ways, the most important skill an attorney possesses. Lawyers who are effective negotiators know the importance of timing, preparation and strategy. That being said, our firm recognizes the importance of precision, timing and subsequent results, which is the foundation of Aratta Law. At our firm, nothing happens by luck but by great preparation and good strategy.