What Happens If I am Involved in an Accident with an 18-Wheeler?
Any car wreck is a traumatic event that often causes a great deal of financial and medical hardships for those involved. But the results of an accident between a standard passenger vehicle and an 18-wheeler or semi-truck can be absolutely devastating.
Some of the most severe roadway accidents occur due to the involvement of large vehicles like semi-trucks and tractor trailers. These trucks often weigh 20-30 times more than a passenger vehicle, and are much taller and with higher ground clearance which can result in smaller vehicles being overridden in a crash.
In 2015, there were more than 3,800 people killed because of truck crashes, 84% of which were occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians, or bicyclists, while 16 percent were truck drivers themselves. For those that survive an accident with an 18-wheeler, they may suffer severe and debilitating injuries that go beyond what one typically sees from your average car wreck.
What’s worse, many individuals who get into an accident with an 18-wheeler then find themselves in a seemingly impossible battle with large corporation’s insurance companies as they attempt to shift blame and preserve their bottom line.
While the vast majority of truck drivers are responsible and cautious of other vehicles on the road, there are a number of situations that often lead to 18-wheeler accidents. These accidents can be caused by overworked or fatigued drivers, overloaded freight, poor vehicle maintenance such as faulty brakes, or inadequate driver training. In other instances, the accident may be caused in the same way as your standard auto accident if the truck driver is speeding or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
In any case, when you approach an 18-wheeler on the road, it is important that you exercise defensive driving and take care to maintain a wide distance. Due to the size and weight of these trucks, they need a much greater distance to brake, they have larger blind spots due to the length of the vehicle, and they have a wide turning radius that may cut into other lanes of traffic.
What to Do Following an Accident
Even the most cautious driver may find themselves unexpectedly involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler and not know where to turn. While the extent of your injuries will determine the order of events following an accident, the below should serve as a guideline.
First, be sure to protect yourself and any other passengers from the potential for further injury after an accident.
Next, be sure to call the police who will be able to file an accident report as to the nature of the crash, what caused it, and ensure those with injuries receive prompt medical treatment.
If you are able, you should be sure to write down anything you remember concerning the accident, including what caused the accident, weather and road conditions, and so forth. Additionally, be sure to take any photos of the accident scene, including damage to the vehicles. If any other vehicles were involved in the accident, or any potential witnesses stopped following the accident, be sure to obtain their information as well.
Even if you believe your injuries to be minor, it is important that you seek out the diagnosis of a doctor as some internal or underlying injuries may not be immediately apparent.
Finally, you should be sure to contact an experienced 18-wheeler accident attorney as soon as possible, who will be able to determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim. If someone else was at fault for the accident, then you have a good chance of being compensated for medical bills, lost wages, and more.
Liability for an 18-wheeler accident often lies with the driver of the truck, but in instances involving defective products or poor maintenance, the fault may lie with the trucking company, or even the supplier or manufacturer of the parts. Most cases involving 18-wheeler accidents can be quite complex, which is why you should work with an experienced truck accident attorney like Fears Nachawati.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation by calling (866) 705-7584 or visiting one of our offices located throughout the great state of Texas, including in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin.