If you have been involved in an accident with a large truck, you aren’t alone! Almost half of the accidents on America’s roads that occur between 6 AM and 3 PM involve a truck. 89% of truck accidents occur on a weekday, the hours auto drivers are most likely to be on the road.
If you have been in a traffic accident with a truck, it is important you find a truck accident lawyer. An attorney who specializes in truck accidents has one goal – to help accident victims. Even if you haven’t already been in an accident with a large truck, it’s good to know ahead of time who could help you most should an accident occur.
Some reasons to use a truck accident lawyer are:
Because Accidents Involving Lage Trucks are Common
A persona is killed or critically injured every 15 minutes in an accident caused by a tractor-trailer (also called semis, big rigs, or 18-wheelers. In fact, about half a million trucking accidents occur each year in the U.S. resulting in a little over 5,000 fatalities.
Not only are such accidents common, but large trucks are also far more likely to be a part of a multi-vehicle crash than passenger cars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that in accidents involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck, 98% of the fatalities in those accidents occurred to the passenger car occupants and only 2% to the truck driver.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports the following statistics about large truck accidents in 2015.
Large trucks were involved in:
- 4,050 fatal accidents
- 87,000 accidents causing injuries
- 342,000 accidents that caused property damage
- 415,000 police-reported crashes
People who died in Large truck accidents:
- 15% were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists.
- 16% of these deaths were truck occupants.
- 69% were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles.
Fatal Crashes by Event in large trucks:
- Collision with vehicle in Transport – 74.9%
- Collision with Fixed Object 162 – 4.0%
- Collision with Pedestrian – 7.3%
- Overturn (Rollover) – 6.7%
- Explosion/Fire – 2.7%
- Collision with Other Object – 1.5%
- Collision with Pedalcycle or Other Personal Conveyance – 1.6%
- Collision with Train – 0.1%
- Jackknife – 0.1%
- Cargo/Equipment Loss or Shift – 0.1%
- Other – 0.5%
- Collision with Parked Motor Vehicle – 0.5%
Most truck drivers are the most skilled drivers on the road, but passenger drivers are far more vulnerable to death in a crash with a large truck. The main problem is the vulnerability of individuals traveling in passenger vehicles. Trucks weigh up t0 30 times as much as a passenger car and are much taller with a higher ground clearance. The consequence is that people in passenger vehicles are far more vulnerable.
Because Truck Companies Already Have Their Own Legal Team
It’s important to contact an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible after being injured in a truck wreck for two main reasons: any delay may result in it being harder to prove fault and truckers are required to call their companies without delay following an accident.
Trucking companies have representatives who often confront accident victims at their most susceptible time and are trained to manage the scene to limit the liability of the trucking company. A reliable truck accident lawyer often knows as much or more about the trucking regulations of his or her state than the other side.
An attorney for victims of an accident involving large trucks said:
One of the worst things a truck accident victim can do is to negotiate directly with trucking companies or insurance adjusters. These people are very skilled at accident investigations and are highly motivated to limit any payouts. A victim’s oral or written statements may be used against him or her later.
Because They Can Tell You What to Do and Not to Do After an Accident It is likely a truck accident lawyer will tell you to:
- Call 911 and ask for a response by emergency medical personnel and police.
- Exchange your vehicle information with the truck driver.
- If any are present, try to get the names and contact information of witnesses.
- If able, take pictures of the accident with your cell phone. These should include skid marks, damage to both vehicles, damaged roadside signs and/or railings, and any injuries you may have incurred.
- Go to a hospital after the crash so a doctor can check you out.
- Join in a conversation with the truck driver.
- Admit fault or blame for the accident.
- Sign any documents or offered by insurance companies until your truck accident lawyer has fully reviewed them
Despite advancements in vehicle technology, accidents involving large trucks are still on the rise. The number of people who died in large truck crashes was 31 percent higher in 2018 than in 2009. That means its more important than ever to have a large truck attorney.