Whether you call them trucks, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, big rigs, or semi-trucks, chances are you’re familiar with these large commercial vehicles. The average commercial truck weighs in at around 80,000 pounds, which makes the average 3,000-5,000 pound passenger vehicle look tiny in comparison.

Due to their immense weight and size, tractor-trailer accidents are often catastrophic. They can cause serious damage and frequently result in severe or fatal injuries to the occupants of the passenger vehicles involved.

Truck accidents can also be incredibly difficult to handle. Fortunately, a truck accident lawyer can help you find out whether you have a case and, if you do, can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

By far, the most common cause of big rig accidents is negligence. This negligence could be one party’s fault, or it could be the culmination of many poor decisions. Regardless, some of the most common examples of negligence in trucking accidents include:

  • Falling asleep at the wheel
  • Distracted driving (texting, eating, etc.)
  • Failure to obey traffic signals/signs
  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence
  • Failure to adjust driving tactics based on weather conditions
  • Violating company, state, or federal trucking laws
  • Road rage/aggressive driving
  • Failure to yield right of way
  • Tailgating

Who is Liable for a Tractor-Trailer Accident?

The examples listed above are just some of the ways a truck driver could be considered negligent when it pertains to an 18-wheeler accident. That said, other parties could be to blame.

One is the truck driver’s employer. While there are plenty of laws that dictate how trucking companies must operate, that doesn’t mean they are followed. A trucking company could be held liable for a commercial vehicle accident if they:

  • Forced the driver to work more hours than they should have
  • Enforced deadlines that caused the truck driver to rush
  • Hired a driver that did not have the experience or training to do the job safely
  • Failed to maintain the safety equipment, parts, and computers needed to ensure a truck can operate safely
  • Did not adequately vet drivers (background check, drug test, etc.) before hiring them
  • Deliberately overloaded a truck

The truck accident could also have been caused by a manufacturer who acted negligently. Failing to warn truck owners of known defects or not notifying them of a recall are just two examples of manufacturer negligence.

Because there are so many entities who could be responsible for the truck accident, you should seriously consider speaking to an experienced truck accident attorney who can help walk you through this complicated process.

National Commercial Vehicle Accident Statistics

Each year, hundreds of thousands of trucks are involved in accidents. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that in 2015:

  • There were 3,598 fatal accidents that involved 4,050 trucks and resulted in 4,067 fatalities
  • Of these fatalities, only 667 were occupants of the tractor-trailer, which means 84 percent of those killed were either pedestrians or occupants of a passenger vehicle
  • That same year, there were 83,000 injury accidents
  • These involved 87,000 trucks and caused 116,000 injuries
  • Additionally, in 2015 there were 328,000 property damage only accidents that involved 342,000 trucks
  • Overall, the number of truck accident injuries increases 62 percent from 2009 to 2015

Whether the cause was negligence, failure to obey a law, or a disregard for safety precautions, the fact of the matter is that these numbers are unacceptable. For those who have been killed or injured, suing the at-fault party is the best way to hold them accountable for their negligence and see to it that you get the compensation you deserve.

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Common Truck Accident Injuries

The sheer size and weight of a big rig mean that it could do far more damage than you might see in your average car accident. No matter how safe you feel in your car or SUV, if you’re in a collision with a tractor-trailer, you may sustain serious and significant injuries.

The injuries you may receive depend on things like weather conditions, the speed at which the vehicles were traveling, etc. but, in general, common truck accident injuries can include:

  • Neck and back injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Ligament and disc injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Burn injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Partial/complete paralysis
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Organ Damage
  • Lacerations
  • Severe bruising

After a traumatic accident of this magnitude, you may also find yourself suffering from emotional issues, like PTSD, depression, or anxiety about driving again. Whether physical or emotional, your injuries should not be taken lightly and are often deserving of financial compensation.

What Can I Receive Compensation For After a Truck Accident?

After a truck accident, you may be able to receive compensation from the at-fault party for things like:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage
  • Lost income
  • Loss of future earning ability
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Inconvenience
  • Loss of companionship
  • Physical injuries
  • Disfigurement
  • Medical expenses and equipment
  • Emotional trauma
  • Wrongful death

Why Truck Accident Cases Are So Difficult

Aside from the numerous people who could be liable for your personal injuries, truck accident cases are difficult to win because the at-fault party is often backed by a huge corporation and their team of lawyers and insurance adjustors.

These people will do everything they can to silence you while denying their fault and giving you the smallest settlement possible. Not only is this unfair, but it sets a dangerous precedent when it comes to the general public’s faith in the legal system and laws.

In the days after your truck accident, you may receive a call from a representative of the trucking company or their insurer. They will offer you a settlement and try to convince you that’s all you’re entitled to. Remember, the first settlement offer you receive is often much lower than what you deserve. You should decline this offer and let the representative know that you will not discuss the case or entertain offers without first speaking to your truck accident lawyer.

Why Should I Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?

The people who are responsible for your truck accident are hoping that you won’t be brave enough to face them in court. If you hire a semi-truck accident lawyer, you can prove them wrong by showing up to court with someone who has years of experience and knowledge fighting large, greedy, and negligent trucking companies.

When you hire a truck accident attorney, you’ll be putting your case in the hands of someone who can help by:

  • Obtaining camera footage
  • Identifying witnesses
  • Analyzing police reports, phone call logs, and medical records
  • Consulting with expert witness statements
  • Proving who was responsible for the vehicle at the time of the accident
  • Collecting driving logs, maintenance records, and weigh-in information
  • Demonstrating how much control the company had over its drivers
  • Tracking down the driving history of the vehicle and trailer
  • Searching for present and past violations of federal and state laws
  • Obtaining criminal records
  • Investigating potential vehicle defects

Contact the Truck Accident Lawyers at Colombo Law

Truck accidents are extremely time sensitive because of how quickly the evidence can deteriorate. If you or a loved one were in a truck accident, you need to contact a commercial vehicle accident lawyer as soon as possible.

The quicker you call, the sooner we can observe things like skid marks, debris, impact marks, and fluid spills before they’re carried away by rain, wind, or snow. Being able to investigate the accident quickly also gives us a better chance of collecting evidence like driver’s logs and eyewitness accounts before they are lost or destroyed.

It is important to act quickly after a truck accident. Contact the truck accident attorneys at Colombo Law as soon as you can to schedule your free consultation and give yourself the best chance at a successful outcome. If your truck accident was in Ohio or West Virginia, call us to get started now, at 888-860-1414.