18 Wheeler Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident with an 18-wheeler, contact a trucking accident attorney to book a free consultation.
Semi-truck accident victims can suffer from catastrophic injuries, costly medical expenses, pain and suffering, and a lengthy rehabilitation process.
After an 18-wheeler accident, you are entitled to legal counsel and representation.
Why choose a tractor-trailer accident lawyer?
You may wonder if you need to hire a lawyer if you have been injured in a truck accident.
The answer is yes; an experienced truck accident attorney can help you with your injury case in many ways.
Accidents involving tractor-trailers are some of the most severe traffic accidents on our nation’s highways. Here are some of the things that experienced tractor-trailer accident attorneys will take care of:
- Investigating the accident scene
- Gathering evidence: skid marks, traffic cameras, witnesses and the truck’s black box data
- Investigating the truck company
- Dealing with the insurance company
- Handling all of the legal paperwork and filing deadlines
- Fighting for your rights to get you the compensation you deserve
- Negotiating a fair settlement on your behalf
Don’t try to deal with a truck accident injury case on your own.
Let an experienced professional help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
Suppose you or a loved one has been involved in a tractor-trailer accident.
You need an experienced 18-wheeler accident lawyer on your side who knows how to investigate these complex truck accident cases and build a substantial truck accident claim for compensation.
How much does it cost to hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Most truck accident lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means they do not get paid unless they win. Hiring a law firm to represent you should not cost you anything upfront, and most personal injury lawyers offer an initial free consultation.
You will often not have to pay anything out of pocket.
The lawyer’s fees are then taken as a percentage of the settlement if they win.
Truck accident attorneys usually work this way so that you can get legal representation without worrying about upfront costs.
This also helps the truck accident victim not worry about any more expenses while dealing with medical costs and recovering from serious injury.
What should I do after an 18-wheeler accident?
If you have been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, you should first stay calm and assess the situation. If able, try to move out of the way of oncoming vehicles.
Once you are out of danger, examine yourself and your passengers for injuries. After that, you should do a few things to ensure your safety and protect your legal rights.
- Immediately after the accident, call 911 and seek medical attention if you or anyone else involved appears injured.
- If you can, leave your car in the same position it was in when it stopped after the collision occurred. The location may help preserve evidence.
- If the police come to the accident scene, be sure to get their names and badge numbers. The accident report may help with your claim.
- Get the name, insurance information, and contact information of the truck driver and the trucking company.
- Take pictures of the accident scene, including any damage to the vehicles involved and any injuries you may have sustained.
- Get the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
- Do not sign anything or make any statements to anyone until you have consulted with an attorney.
- Keep all medical records and documentation related to your injuries and treatment.
- Keep track of any lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, or other damages you have incurred due to the accident.
- Contact an experienced 18-wheeler accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights and options.
Tell me the difference between a truck accident and a car accident.
One of the main differences between a car crash and a truck accident can be the cause of the accident.
Different circumstances usually cause trucking accidents.
Most car accidents are caused by human error, like speeding, not stopping correctly or distracted driving. Commercial truck accidents often happen because of their size, making it difficult for semi-trucks to stop quickly or make proper turns.
An 18-wheeler accident attorney will know how to properly investigate the cause of a truck accident.
- including the driver logs
- the trucking company safety records,
- the driver’s training,
- licenses and records,
- potentially other factors
Collecting information and evidence is considerably more time-consuming with large truck crashes than car accidents.
We Investigate the 18-Wheeler Crash.
Truck accidents can be more complex than other accidents because multiple parties could be at fault. This means that attorneys must investigate what happened carefully to determine who is responsible.
In a truck accident lawsuit, the person who is suing (the plaintiff) has to prove that the other person (the defendant) was negligent. The plaintiff must also prove that their injuries directly resulted from that driver’s negligence.
Trucking companies must cooperate with the 18-wheeler crash investigation as outlined in Title 49 USC §390.15 of the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) safety regulations.
What are the Steps of a Trucking Accident Investigation?
Following an 18-wheeler accident, investigators must act fast to preserve critical evidence while looking for the cause of the accident.
Usually, attorneys will start by investigating the circumstances leading up to your injury.
The investigation of a trucking accident can include the following steps:
- Collecting Evidence: Such as photographs or videos of the crash site and damage to vehicles and nearby structures.
- Interview Witnesses: Including drivers involved in the accident, first responders or other witnesses.
- Investigate the Driver: Looking at driving records, safety violations, and other relevant information.
- Examine the truck: To determine equipment failure or defects and the vehicle’s mechanical condition.
- Analyze the Black Box: The data recorder in the truck can have essential data on the events of the accident.
- Examine the Trucking Company Records: Including driver logbooks and personnel files.
- Expert Consulting: Experts can help make your accident claim stronger and could include health care providers, forensic experts, crash reconstruction experts, and more.
The investigation can help determine who was responsible for the accident and who can be held liable, including individuals or multiple parties.
Why are 18-Wheelers Dangerous?
One of the reasons 18-wheelers are so dangerous to other drivers is their sheer size, weight, and volume. When a big semi-truck and smaller passenger vehicles collide, the passenger vehicle usually suffers most of the damage.
18-wheelers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which is more than the typical 3,500-pound automobile. The weight discrepancy is a significant difference, and in truck collisions, an 18-wheeler can cause a lot of damage to everything in its path.
Large trucks take more time to stop than smaller cars. When an 18-wheeler travels on a highway or goes downhill, it can build up significant speed, and because the semi-truck has more weight, it’s harder to stop quickly.
Speed can often be a factor in truck crashes, such as rear-end collisions, rollovers, and jackknife accidents.
This means that the consequences can be dire if a truck driver is driving recklessly or if there is some mechanical failure, like the truck’s brakes not working correctly.
Citation: 18 Wheeler Truck Accident Lawyer
What Causes 18 Wheeler Accidents?
Numerous factors can contribute to large truck accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there was a relatively significant increase in 2021, with fatalities in crashes involving at least one large truck up 13% over the previous year.
With the increase in fatal accidents, understanding the reasons for these crashes is more critical than ever. Some of the most common causes of 18 Wheeler accidents include:
- Driver Fatigue: Many truck drivers work long hours and may not get enough rest. This can lead them to fall asleep at the wheel or make poor decisions. Even though the hours truck drivers work are regulated by the law, deadlines and pressure from the truck company can cause many to work longer hours than federal regulations allow.
- Speeding: Speeding is a problem on our roads, and with driver deadlines, it is hazardous when large trucks are involved. It can be very difficult to stop if an 18-wheeler goes just a few miles over the speed limit, leading to serious accidents.
- Distracted driving: There are many distractions for drivers, including cell phones, but it can be perilous when truckers are involved. Due to the size of semi-trucks, truckers can take longer to notice and react to things on the highway and cause an accident.
- Driving Under the Influence: Driving under the influence (DUI) is illegal; however, some truckers may use drugs to stay awake and focused during the long hours of driving. Though many avoid alcohol since it makes you drowsier, some use drugs like Amphetamines, Cocaine, and Opiates. Such drugs can cause truckers to be more aggressive and risky, possibly endangering others.
- Reckless Driving: Some drivers carelessly operate their vehicles. This can include tailgating, moving in and out of traffic, or changing lanes without signalling. When a large truck is involved, it can be very dangerous and lead to accidents.
- Bad Weather: Bad weather conditions can make it hard for drivers to stay safe on the road. Rain and Snow can make roads slippery and limit visibility along with other weather conditions. High winds can cause an 18-wheeler to roll over. It can also be harder to stop when a heavy truck is involved.
- Road Conditions: When the surface conditions are poor, and a large commercial truck is involved, other motorists on the road are in more danger.
- Improper Maintenance: To be safe on the road, every vehicle must be well-maintained. This is especially true for big rigs, which can cause serious accidents if they have any mechanical issues.
- Cargo Loading: Overloaded or improperly loaded commercial trucks can cause truck drivers to lose control and cause serious damage. The cargo must be properly secured before a big rig leaves the yard. Truck companies must ensure that everything is properly secured before the vehicle departs.
- Vehicle Defects: The truck manufacturer sometimes produces vehicles with dangerous defects. When safety or brake system defects go unnoticed, these can end up causing accidents.
If you have been in an accident involving a large truck, you must speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Large trucking companies and their insurance companies will often try to minimize the money they have to pay out after an accident.
An attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Federal and State Truck Accident Laws and Regulations
Truck accidents are governed by a complex web of federal and state laws. These laws can be confusing for victims and their truck accident attorneys. Below are some of the most important federal and state laws and the governing bodies that truck accident victims need to know about.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the primary federal agency that regulates the trucking industry. The FMCSA sets minimum standards for truck drivers and trucking companies. These standards are designed to improve safety on the roads.
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is another important federal agency that regulates the trucking industry. The FHWA sets standards for the construction and maintenance of America’s highways. These standards are designed to improve safety for all motorists, including truck drivers.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR)
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) are the main regulations governing the trucking industry. The FMCSRs cover many topics, including truck driver qualifications, service hours, vehicle maintenance, and cargo securing.
Hours of Service (HOS) Laws for Truck Drivers
To reduce the number of accidents caused by commercial truck driver fatigue, the FMCSA put in place regulations limiting the hours that commercial truck drivers can be on the road. These are known as the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations.
Under the HOS regulations, truck drivers who are carrying property can only drive for a total of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours of being off duty. They must stop driving after 14 hours from when they first came on duty, and off-duty time does not extend this 14-hour limit.
A truck driver is not allowed to drive after 60 hours on duty in 7 consecutive days or after 70 hours on duty in 8 consecutive days.
Before beginning a new 7 or 8-day period, drivers must have at least 34 consecutive hours of off-duty time.
The truck driver must also take a 30-minute break after they have driven for 8 cumulative hours without at least a 30-minute interruption.
State Truck Accident Laws and Regulations
State laws also play a role in regulating the trucking industry. Some states have adopted the FMCSRs as their own, while others have enacted their own laws governing trucking. It is important for truck accident victims to know what laws apply in their state.
New York Contributory Negligence Law
Contributory negligence is a legal term that is used when more than one party is responsible for an accident. In New York, a truck accident lawyer can still recover damages in a personal injury case, even if the plaintiff was partially responsible for the accident.
Section 1411 of New York law on contributory negligence allows you to recover compensation from anyone who was partly responsible for the accident. If you were partly responsible for the accident, your award could be reduced to account for that fault.
Additional Regulations for Trucking Companies
In addition to these federal agencies, several private organizations play a role in regulating the trucking industry.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is a nonprofit organization that develops safety standards for the trucking industry. These standards are voluntary, but many trucking companies choose to follow them.
The Truck Renting and Leasing Association (TRALA) is another private organization representing the trucking industry’s interests. TRALA works with federal and state governments to promote safety in the trucking industry.
Truck accident victims need to be aware of all of these different laws and regulations. Semi-truck accident attorneys can help victims navigate the complex web of laws and regulations.
Have you been injured in an 18 Wheeler accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a big rig accident, it is important to contact an experienced truck accident lawyer who can help you with your claim.
A Truck Accident lawyer will be able to review the facts of your case and determine if you have a valid claim. They will also be able to advise you on the best course of action to take to receive the compensation you deserve.
Contact an 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Most Accident lawyers offer free initial consultations, so it is important to take advantage of this opportunity.
During your consultation, the attorney will be able to assess the strength of your case and give you their professional opinion on whether or not you have a valid claim.
They will also provide you with information on the different types of compensation that you may be entitled to receive.
If you decide to hire a personal injury law firm, they will work hard to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible.
They will also help you navigate the legal process and represent you in court if necessary.
If you have suffered serious injuries in an 18-wheeler accident, you must contact an experienced lawyer who can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
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