Traffic accidents can range from minor scrapes to catastrophic events that cause serious property damage and life-altering injuries. Until the damage can be properly assessed, it’s advisable to treat all on-the-road accidents very seriously. That’s particularly true if one of the vehicles involved happens to be a tractor-trailer or large commercial truck.
It’s a simple matter of physics. Big rigs are 20-30 times heavier than passenger cars, with much greater ground clearance, and the occupants of the smaller vehicle tend to suffer greater injuries in any collision between the two. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation data, 3,986 people died in large truck crashes across the USA in 2016, an increase of 27 percent over 2009. In fatal crashes involving a large truck and a passenger car, an astonishing 97 percent of those killed were occupants of the car.
Trucks of all kinds should be approached with caution in any traffic situation, whether it’s a delivery van in your neighborhood or an 18-wheeler on the highway. But even if you take every precaution, a number of factors can come into play in a truck accident, from braking capability (loaded tractor-trailers can take 20 to 40 percent longer than a car to stop) to driver fatigue to the degree the vehicle has been properly maintained and loaded.
STEPS TO TAKE IMMEDIATELY AFTER A TRUCK ACCIDENT
In the moments after an accident involving a truck, our advice is the same as it is in this video explaining what to do after any car accident:
• Stay calm. If the vehicles are drivable, move them out of harm’s way.
• If anyone appears to be hurt, do NOT move them. Summon medical help immediately. Even if you don’t think you’re hurt, you may have suffered more serious injuries than you realize.
• Exchange insurance information and file an accident report. Cooperate with police, but avoid random comments about who’s at fault. Most of all, avoid any sort of confrontation with the other driver.
• If there are witnesses to the accident, get their phone numbers before they leave the scene.
If you have suffered injuries, you will need an experienced truck accident law firm that knows how to manage and litigate such cases. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that the trucking company and their insurers will treat you fairly if you don’t have a strong advocate on your side. The personal injury attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates know how to represent your interests and get you the compensation you deserve.
ISSUES OF LIABILITY IN A TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWSUIT
A host of federal regulations spell out the requirements for operating large trucks safely and protecting the public. For example, there are hours-of-service regulations that establish how many hours a single driver can operate a large truck in a day. But driver fatigue is a common problem, and there have been complaints that some drivers (and their companies) ignore the hours-of-service limits. A driver’s use of drugs or alcohol might also be a factor, as well as a history of irresponsible driving.
Some truck accidents, though, may involve carelessness on the part of the trucking company as well. There may be questions about the training the company conducts, its hiring procedures, or the way it maintains and services its equipment or its compliance with other regulations. An experienced truck accident attorney will know how to analyze the circumstances of the accident and identify the issues that should be pursued in court if a lawsuit becomes necessary.
THE TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWYERS AT FDAZAR
If you or a loved one has been injured by an accident involving a tractor-trailer, semi-truck, or other commercial vehicles, FDAzar can help. We have experienced truck accident lawyers ready to review your case with you. And we have the dedication to our clients to ensure that your claim will be handled efficiently and aggressively so that you can get the recovery you deserve. Call us day or night at (800) 716-9032 or contact us here.