It is well known that tractor-trailers can be dangerous to drive around. Their higher profiles and greater weight loads require longer stopping times, wider turns, and careful observation in order to avoid accidents. The most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission shows that in 2018 there were 4,862 fatal crashes involving large trucks. According to 2015 statistics, there were around 415,000 crashes either caused by or involving a large truck.
While there are many more traffic accidents that do not involve big trucks, tractor-trailer accidents usually cause the most damage. Should you ever be a part of an accident with a large truck, there is a way to get compensation. Our experienced personal injury attorneys in Huntsville, AL can help you build an effective personal injury case to get you the coverage you need.
What Should I Do if I’m in an Accident with a Tractor-Trailer?
If you’re ever in an accident with a trailer truck, the first step is to report the accident, and then seek medical attention. After the accident, if you can, exit your vehicle and then call the police. Wait for the authorities to arrive and have them record your testimony of the crash.
Other first steps after the authorities arrive and you come to an initial conclusion, seek medical care. Combining medical records and a police report will show insurance companies that an accident did happen and that you’re seeking treatment.
Additionally, as you gather witnesses on the scene, take down their contact information and ask them if they would be willing to testify on your behalf. Witnesses will help you verify your story and your claim.
Gathering evidence will be essential to your claim process. Trucking companies typically have insurance coverage, and they may or may not decide to pay out any damages to you. The easiest way for you to get compensation is to hire a personal injury lawyer with experience in crash law.
When you talk to the other driver, exchange insurance and contact information. However, do not admit fault. If you admit liability, even accidentally or casually, you will lose compensation and possibly your claim.
What is the Claims Process after Tractor Trailer Accidents?
When filing for a truck accident claim, the process will be different depending on the trucking company’s insurance. When you have that information, research the insurance company and provide all the relevant information that they ask for. These companies can impose deadlines, so be sure that you meet each deadline, or you could lose coverage.
Determining liability is the most important part of settling a personal injury case. However, this is a complicated process. Not only do you have multiple parties that may be responsible for your coverage, but overlapping laws as well. For instance, there are both federal and state laws that regulate trucking companies, and there can be conflicts between the laws.
You may also need engineers, structural engineers, auto mechanics, doctors, construction contractors, and more professionals to help you prove your damages. If you try to do this alone, it requires technical know-how, time, and money. Here at the Cochran Firm, we help prove your damages without those costly investments.
Personal Injury Claim Letter
In order to formalize your claim, you must notify the opposing party of your intention to file a claim. This is the culmination of your actions after a truck accident. As you write this letter with a personal injury lawyer, you will use all of your gathered evidence to show how the accident has affected you.
This letter is why it is so important to gather witnesses, medical records, police reports, damage assessments, pictures, and anything else that demonstrates your damages. The more evidence you have, the more likely your case will succeed.
Many victims of truck accidents decide to file claims against the trucker, the trucking company, and the insurance company. You can decide to file claims on your own, however, if you do, insurance company adjusters will try to reduce how much compensation you receive in the long run.
Our trained personal injury lawyers know how these adjusters work. We will work by your side to get you the compensation you need.
What are the Most Common Causes of Tractor-Trailer Accidents?
Semi-trucks are built to move things around. They carry tons of goods across the highway system every day. Because of this, trailers are often loaded to max capacity. The increased weight, higher profiles, and larger blind spots pose a great risk to truck drivers and those driving around them. Here are a few more details of what causes tractor-trailer accidents:
Longer stop times
One of the obvious causes of accidents is how long it takes trucks to stop. In terms of distance, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Commission calculated that a fully-loaded 80,000 tractor-trailer needs 525 feet to go from 65 miles per hour to a stop. In contrast, a regular car only needs about 315 feet to stop after traveling at 65 miles per hour.
Some drivers may not expect this, so if you want to avoid these collisions, remember to give yourself plenty of space when driving around a large truck.
This factor may not directly cause a large truck to crash into another vehicle, it is important to understand. Since these kinds of trucks move more air around, the displaced air may throw off other drivers.
Large trucks and especially their trailers are on the road all the time. The more miles that are on a wheel, the greater chance there is for a tire to wear out or blow out. Truck drivers usually know how to handle these types of situations, but a blowout could surprise nearby drivers. It is possible that a blowout could cause a truck driver to drift into another driver’s lane and cause an accident.
Blown off the road
At the start of the year, a large Amazon delivery truck was seen blown off of Interstate 80 in Wyoming. The story made national news. While we don’t see the same high-speed winds here in Alabama, it can still happen anywhere. High winds might not spin a whole trailer off of the road in the south, but they could push a truck into an occupied lane.
Truck drivers work long hours, and due to special regulations, they can be on the road for up to 11 hours at a time. Several studies have shown that driver fatigue was a leading factor from 13 to up to 50 percent of accidents.
Other factors that lead to large truck accidents include, braking problems, deadlines for truck drivers, and how familiar a driver is with the roads.
We Are Here to Help
If you or someone you know has been hurt in a tractor-trailer accident, you can seek compensation from the driver, the trucking company, and their insurance company. Large truck accident cases can be very complicated, but our renowned lawyers at The Cochran Firm Huntsville are dedicated to serving you. We also provide several other automobile accident injury services at our Huntsville, AL office.
Our attorneys have been recognized by the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association with their highest award. Let us fight by your side and get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us by phone or email, and set up a FREE consultation today.