Tractor-trailer truck accidents are reported almost daily. When you think about the sheer size of an 18-wheeler, consider that they are able to haul so much weight because they have 1,000 to 2,000 feet per pound of torque as compared to 100 to 200 feet per pound of torque for an average automobile. That’s some heavy lifting!
And when you are the victim of an accident involving an 18-wheeler, your injuries could have all that weight behind them. LTBCF, or Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts, is an annual statistical report on accidents that involve these trucks and also buses.
An alarming number of traumatic brain injuries and concussions are the result of accidents with 18 wheelers. A traumatic brain injury is usually caused by a blow to the head. Symptoms may appear immediately but sometimes are delayed and can include problems with cognition, vision problems and confusion.
You may become a victim because 18 wheelers are usually in a hurry and case reports indicate drivers can be pushed off the road, be part of a multi-vehicle pileup or be in a jackknife accident. Jackknife accidents occur when a trailer exceeds a 45 degree angle in comparison to the tractor. Most of us have seen frightening examples of this on the evening news.
If you’re the victim of one of these accidents, immediately dial 911 to get emergency personnel on-site. Following that, seek medical attention. Prompt medical treatment will protect your health and also provide your truck accident lawyer with reliable information from a doctor that can be presented in court.
You will also want to document evidence which will include any drivers at the scene who were witness to your accident. Be sure to collect the names and contact information for each witness and ask if they have recorded the incident on their cell phone. Once the initial shock has passed, it will be time to get your vehicle appraised. Getting the right appraisal for the damage is absolutely necessary so that you can collect the maximum amount for damages.
Suing Independent Drivers Versus Trucking Companies
Truck drivers are sometimes independent contractors but there are also instances when they work for large corporations. You will want to take down the truck driver’s full name, name of the company they work for, phone and email contact info, address, and insurance information and policy number. Also collect the driver’s license number and license plate number plus any identifying information about the 18-wheeler.
If you find yourself suing the trucking company itself, remember that some of these companies retain exceptional lawyers, so you will want to be very careful about what you say following the accident. Keep your words to a minimum and let your truck accident lawyer do the talking for you. It is also a good idea to avoid posting anything on social media until you can confirm details and get your senses about you, especially if you have had trauma to the head.
Your truck accident lawyer will assist with other complicated details like if the shipper or manufacturer has any liability and if federal regulations were being followed. Be as detail-oriented as possible after your accident and you’ll successfully work through the legal and insurance procedures by following each of these steps carefully.
Whether it is yourself or a loved one that has been injured by an 18-wheeler, going through these steps will give you the tools you need to recover any and all monetary damages due to you.