Every year, more than 90,000 people in the United States are injured in collisions with semi trucks. The catastrophic nature of a semi truck accident, especially one involving another vehicle at highway speed, is hard to understand without seeing the results first-hand. If you or a loved one have been involved in a collision with an 18-wheeler, the trauma and injuries can be devastating.
After a Semi Truck Wreck, You Need an Expert
Due to the severe nature of these accidents and the complicated legal process involved, victims need an expert on their side. The 1800-Truck-Wreck network has extensive experience dealing with big trucking and insurance companies. We know their tactics for avoiding blame and compensation and we never back down from the fight. If you or a family member were involved in a semi truck collision, we can provide legal counsel and financial assistance to keep your life moving. You won’t have any legal fees until a settlement is reached.
Understanding Why Your Semi Truck Accident Happened
Loaded semi trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds or 40 tons, resulting in a near-unstoppable force. When improperly operated or maintained, semi trucks have the ability to do unspeakable damage.
At 1800-Truck-Wreck we understand the wide range of factors that come into play during a semi wreck, including mistakes by or negligence originating from the fleet operator, driver, mechanics and manufacturers. While truck drivers are expected to undergo a minimum of 160 hours of training in all U.S. states, the reality is that the best driver in the world can’t make up for a failure by a brake technician or a decision by the company to cut back on safety checks. Working through driving and maintenance logs is critical to figuring out what really went wrong, and 1800-Truck-Wreck lawyers know exactly what to look for.
The trucking industry is one that’s marked by a ton of competitive pressures. Operators looking to get loads on the road sometimes skip background checks just to get bodies into rigs. Drivers often end up overworked, logging more awake hours on the road than legally allowed. The U.S. Department of Transportation says that more than 30% of trucking accidents are caused by a driver’s lack of sleep. Mechanics are also under pressure to get vehicles roadworthy as fast as possible because customers aren’t willing to wait for their shipments.
These pressures are among the biggest factors in semi-truck accident cases. For example, the use of attention-amplifying drugs, particularly amphetamines, is common throughout much of the trucking industry. Even if a driver has previously been busted for drug use, they can slip through the cracks of a system that doesn’t always perform thorough background checks. Cheap companies may even decide to forgo the small cost, usually around $20, of performing a check.
All of those problems occur long before another big factor—the road conditions at the time of the accident—even come into play. Many fleet operators, when faced with lawsuits, immediately blame the road conditions, even though each organization has a responsibility to only operate in safe conditions. Sending 80,000 pounds of metal, fuel and cargo down a freeway at 65 mph on an icy day seems obviously dangerous, but you’ll see it happen on interstates across America every winter. Companies that develop reputations for being late don’t get contracts, and operators place massive burdens on their drivers to get loads to their destinations on time, regardless of the weather.
Your 1800-Truck-Wreck lawyers will look at every angle of a case to determine which factors came into play and our investigation won’t stop until we find the cause.
What To Do If You’re Involved in a Semi Truck Wreck
When a semi truck collision occurs, the first goal is to get out of your vehicle and put a safe distance between you and the accident scene. If at all possible, try to get off the road quickly. Once you’ve done that, call the police and emergency services. Should you feel functional enough at the time, make an effort to take photos with your cell phone.
The police and the EMTs will initiate the process to record the accident. If you’re coherent enough to discuss anything with them on the scene, try to get names and contact information of anyone who assists you. Regardless of how you feel at the moment, always accept a full medical examination. Refusing a medical examination can be used against you should you need to file a claim.
While on the scene and shortly following the incident, try to obtain the following:
Names of and contact information for any witnesses.
Take a photo of the contact and insurance information from the truck driver and the fleet operator.
Take a photo of the Department of Transportation number and driver’s license of the truck driver.
Photos of the vehicle’s front and rear license plates.
Contact information from all emergency personnel who were present.
Any medical and police reports produced after the accident.
Once you get to a safe place, you should get in touch with 1800-Truck-Wreck. We will put you in contact with expert counsel who will take the time and care to understand exactly what happened and your best course of action.
How We Build Your Case
The biggest thing that drives major settlements in the trucking industry is the damage caused by an incident, especially medical injuries, disabilities, or loss of life. While modern cars can do a good job of protecting their occupants, the reality is that 80,000 pounds moving at any speed above 5 mph can do extreme harm, even to people who are fully secured. The neck and head of a car’s occupant can be jostled around, and even the deployment of airbags, while life-saving, can cause injuries.
The presence of a large truck, especially one operated by a commercial enterprise, typically drives up the costs of settlements and judgments. A 2018 judgment, the largest ever, saw a plaintiff awarded $101 million. Companies will try to deflect responsibility to anyone possible, and they’re especially happy to let drivers take the financial hit. The 1800-Truck-Wreck team will help you get the counsel you need to pursue compensation from the folks at the top of the trucking company, who are responsible.
What To Expect as Your Case Unfolds
About 95% of injury cases never see the inside of a courtroom, although there’s evidence that trucking companies are more willing to fight than standard defendants. Many fleet operators are only one or two catastrophic accidents away from going out of business entirely. They often take their time, even if they intend to settle, just to get together the money needed to settle. Insurers also like to stall in order to let a claimant’s medical and utility bills pile up so they can pressure them into settling cheap.
A lawyer from the 1800-Truck-Wreck network can help you arrive at a fair settlement. If the trucking company and the insurer won’t pay a fair claim, then we’ll file a lawsuit on your behalf and will be prepared for a courtroom fight. Either way, you’ll have someone at your side who’s prepared to defend your rights.
Support Throughout Your Case
It can take many months, and sometimes years, to settle legal cases involving semi trucks. We know it can be a long, exhausting, and trying process for you and your family, which is why we are in constant contact with you every step of the way.
We understand that over the course of your case your life must keep moving—getting healthy and caring for your family must be your priority, but expenses and bills won’t stop. You may be injured or debilitated to the point where you can’t work, or if you can work, the lasting effects of the injuries you sustained can significantly change your lifestyle. At 1800-Truck-Wreck, we provide financial support to pay your medical expenses and other bills while we fight the trucking and insurance companies. We won’t let you settle for anything less than you deserve because of financial burdens. You will also never pay a legal bill until a settlement is reached.