Americans depend on commercial trucks to transport goods across our country. In 2020, large trucks traveled 10% of total vehicle miles in the U.S. There were almost 5,000 fatal truck accidents and 107,000 injury wrecks involving large trucks that year.
If you sustained injuries or a family member died in an accident caused by a truck, you might wonder if hiring a truck accident attorney is worth it. What will they do? Truck crashes are often complicated, and obtaining a satisfactory insurance settlement to compensate you for your damages is difficult without a lawyer.
Several factors make truck and car crashes different, and these factors can make filing insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits challenging. Laws don’t require you to hire a truck accident attorney, but having an experienced lawyer on your side can make the process easier and provide more compensation than you’d probably get without legal representation.
A fully loaded semi-truck weighs around 80,000 pounds, is approximately 13.5 feet tall, 8.5 feet wide, and is an average of 72 feet long. In comparison, car dimensions average only around 15 feet long and 6 feet wide, weighing about 4,200 pounds. You don’t need to be good at physics to realize that because trucks are much heavier and larger than cars, automobiles won’t win if the two collide.
A semi-truck traveling at the same speed as a passenger vehicle needs more distance and time to stop and has significantly more force if they both hit an object. That’s why truck accidents produce so many serious injuries and fatalities.
In most accidents involving only passenger vehicles, the drivers are the only people responsible for causing the crashes. Although assigning fault in car accidents is sometimes tricky, wrecks involving big trucks are more problematic because many parties might be responsible for a truck collision:
At times, more than one of these parties is partially responsible. Determining fault requires an in-depth investigation that would likely be difficult to perform on your own. This is one area where hiring a truck accident attorney is hugely beneficial.
Every driver must practice and take tests before a state issues a driver’s license, but commercial drivers are subject to extensive training and stricter requirements to get a commercial driver’s license. These truckers have other guidelines as well:
If you’re wondering why these guidelines matter, it’s because truckers who don’t follow them may cause a collision. Your truck accident attorney will use this information to show negligence, a necessary component of truck accident claims.
Most commercial trucks consist of a separate but connected cab and trailer. This unique configuration makes a jackknife accident possible. A truck’s size also allows underride or override accidents. In these, the taller truck traps a smaller vehicle underneath, often causing fatalities.
A semi-truck can crush or slide into surrounding vehicles if it rolls over. While passenger auto accidents might include cars sliding into each other, their light weights won’t cause nearly as much damage as a sliding truck can.
Poor visibility, slick roads, animals crossing the road, and other adverse conditions cause many motor vehicle accidents, including those involving commercial trucks. However, some situations are only likely to happen in truck wrecks, and a truck’s size makes others worse.
Long-distance truck drivers often face long, monotonous days and nights spent primarily alone. This can produce fatigue, especially during nighttime driving. Fatigued driving is dangerous; some compare its effects to being drunk.
Doing drugs or drinking alcohol while driving isn’t only illegal, but it’s also negligent because your chances of causing a collision multiplies. Even prescription medications can adversely affect your ability to drive safely.
Fatigued drivers or those under the influence of alcohol or drugs have delayed reaction times, trouble focusing, impaired judgment, and may fall asleep at the wheel. All of these situations can cause a collision. Your Fielding Law truck accident attorney will search for evidence of driver fatigue and drug or alcohol abuse during our investigation.
As with any vehicle, trucks can experience mechanical failure. However, big trucks have more parts and complicated systems, and mechanically faulty trucks have a more significant impact due to their size and weight.
Placing blame for mechanical failures is sometimes tricky. Your attorney’s investigators will look into the truck’s maintenance and service logs, parts recalls, and other reasons the truck might have experienced issues.
Semi-trucks have large blind spots, known as “no man’s land.” Truckers who can’t see other vehicles in these areas risk hitting them.
Numerous issues can cause trucks to run late, but shippers expect their deliveries to arrive on time. Unfortunately, truckers sometimes speed or work more hours than legally allowed to reach their destinations by their deadlines. Excessive speed sometimes encourages reckless behaviors, and working too many hours often leads to exhaustion.
At times, employers ask truckers to work past their allowed hours to deliver goods on time. Your truck accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate the circumstances leading to the collision.
Cargo must be loaded and secured properly, with the weight distributed equally. If a truck’s cargo isn’t loaded correctly, it can shift or overbalance, causing the truck to turn over. At times, the payload can come loose and fall from the truck, causing surrounding traffic to hit it or need to swerve to avoid it, which may cause secondary collisions.
If negligence on the truck’s side caused a collision that resulted in the death of your family member, you might qualify to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim. Every state has regulations about who can legally file this kind of claim.
A competent truck accident attorney from Fielding Law can assess the facts, determine who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim, and explain your rights and the kinds of compensation you might receive.
When you hire Fielding Law, we will do everything in our power to assist you through your commercial truck accident claim process. Beginning with your free case evaluation, we’ll give you advice and the personal attention you deserve. You’ll also benefit from our knowledge, experience, and vast resources.
Because we focus on vehicle accidents and personal injury law, Fielding Law understands how to develop and present your claim in the best light. You can trust us to serve your best interests.
Contact Fielding Law today so we can answer any questions and get to work helping you.