It’s normal to feel a twinge of fear any time an 18-wheeler crosses your path. After all, these 80,000-pound vehicles are involved in 450,000 traffic collisions each year. When a serious accident occurs, survivors tend to sustain catastrophic and even fatal injuries that result in costly medical bills, funeral expenses, and other devastating personal and financial losses. Many victims and surviving family members need to file personal injury or wrongful death claims just to maintain their prior standard of living.
However, there are three critical factors that every driver in the United States needs to know:
- There are different “types” of truck accidents.
- Multiple parties can be held accountable for a single truck accident.
- The defendant’s insurance company is not your friend.
4 Common & Dangerous Truck Accidents
- Rear-end accident: A rear-end collision is one of the most commonly reported motor vehicle accidents in the United States. While any fender bender can be devastating, you’re more likely to suffer life-threatening injuries and property damage if you’re rammed by a truck. These types of collisions typically occur when a trucker is fatigued or speeding to meet their employer’s unrealistic deadlines.
- Jackknife collision: “Jackknifing” occurs when a negligent trucker slams on the vehicle’s brakes, causing the trailer to swerve to the side in a 90° angle. The trailer can sweep across several adjacent lanes, leading to multi-vehicle collisions, spilled cargo, and various fire hazards.
- Underride incident: An underride accident occurs when a car gets trapped under the trailer of a commercial motor vehicle. For example, if a negligent trucker turns a corner or merges lanes without taking proper precautions, they could drive over and trap a smaller vehicle. These incidents are incredibly dangerous – and often fatal – because the smaller vehicle can get pinned, crushed, and even dragged by the trailer.
- Rollover accident: It’s not unusual for a cargo crew to cut corners when it comes to packing a truck for a long journey. Unfortunately, an overloaded or improperly loaded vehicle can overturn even if a trucker exhibits reasonable due diligence. All it takes is one inopportune turn or a sudden stop, and the entire trailer can topple over, potentially harming countless parties.
Which Parties Are Liable for My Injuries?
As previously stated, multiple parties can be held liable for a single truck accident. Trucking companies and their drivers are governed by regulations imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). That said, it’s not uncommon for a trucking company to ignore federal laws just to maximize their daily profitability. For example, truck drivers are encouraged to speed, fake records, and even forgo meals and sleep to meet the company’s unreasonable deadlines.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding an accident, a plaintiff may be able to hold the following parties accountable for their injuries:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The maintenance crew
- The cargo company
- The truck’s manufacturer
- The leasing company
To secure a favorable case outcome, your attorney first needs to investigate your case and collect evidence that paints a complete picture of the circumstances that led up to the collision. For example, you may be able to file a claim against a manufacturing company if a defective part is responsible for the accident. Or, perhaps the trucking company failed to maintain its fleet and never replaced damaged parts.
A successful lawsuit can yield the following compensatory damages and more:
- Current and projected medical expenses
- Lost or wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Ongoing rehabilitation costs
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
These are so many factors that can influence the outcome of a personal injury case. For this reason and more, you must contact a qualified truck accident attorney before filing a claim or speaking with a claims adjuster. The defendant’s insurance company may contact you after the accident to take advantage of your shock and trick you into settling or making a recorded statement. Only an experienced attorney can calculate your claim’s maximum value and negotiate a settlement that reflects your financial needs.
Schedule a Consultation Today
Contact the truck accident lawyers at The Dickinson Law Firm if the actions of a negligent trucker have harmed you or a loved one. Our trial-tested legal team is armed with over 40 years of courtroom experience and the skills to effectively negotiate or litigate on your behalf.
Contact The Dickinson Law Firm at (770) 766-7739 to schedule a free consultation. If you’re injuries prevent you from visiting our office, we can hold your appointment at your home or hospital room.