As we leave out houses each morning to begin our daily commute, it is fair to assume that you will be sharing the road with commercial trucks that are much bigger than your car or truck.
Fortunately, these drivers go through hours of vigorous training to know how to operate their vehicles and commit to following their unique rules of the road.
However, we are all still human, and mistakes will be made.
A car accident with another passenger vehicle is scary enough, but when you're in an accident with a semi-truck, it can be downright terrifying.
If you were in an accident caused by the negligence of a truck driver or the company they work for, you might be entitled to financial compensation.
Whether or not accident victims can sue after being involved in an accident with a semi-truck depends on the circumstances surrounding your accident.
You may have legal options you can pursue that a person in a typical auto accident wouldn't.
That is why it's essential to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer after an accident with a semi-truck.
In the article below, we will explore whether you can sue, and who you can sue, after being in trucking accidents.
Semi-Trucks Are Extremely Dangerous
All trucks are classified by weight.
The classifications run from 6,000lbs, which is your average pickup, to 33,000lbs, which is the weight of your typical semi-truck.
Judging by these weights, you can see that not even a large pickup stands a chance against 18-wheelers in an accident.
In every accident involving a semi-truck, the smaller car takes the brunt of the damage.
The semi-truck driver is often left unharmed, while the smaller vehicle driver suffers catastrophic semi truck accident injuries, or worse.
Semi-trucks are a significant threat to the other drivers they share the road with if the proper safety precautions aren't taken.
What Do You Do If You Get Hit By An 18-Wheeler?
If you're seriously injured after gettin hit by a semi-truck, your only priority should be your health. You need to get quality care as soon as possible.
But if you are lucky enough to escape with minor injuries, there are a few things you can do to help with a personal injury case.
Stay At The Scene Of The Accident
You should never leave the scene of an accident before the authorities can arrive.
In some states, it is illegal to leave the scene, and if you do, you will face the consequences.
If it's possible, leave your vehicle as-is and don't move it after the accident. This will help preserve the evidence to make it easier to determine who and what caused the accident.
Check For Injuries
Even if you feel fine, you might still have injuries; they just may be masked by the rush of adrenaline in your body.
So always check to make sure you don't have any visible injuries.
And, it is very common for multiple vehicles to be involved in accidents with semi-trucks, so make sure everyone else is okay as well.
As soon as it's safe to do so, and everyone has been checked for injuries, you need to document as much as possible.
Take photos and videos of the accident scene, including the damage to all of the vehicles, any skidmarks at the scene, and make an audio recording of what happened during the accident.
Gathering this evidence is crucial because after the accident, your memory will fade as the days go on, and the trucking company will do all they can to prove that they were not responsible for it.
Having evidence gives you a better chance to prove liability for your semi-truck accident.
Also, don't forget to check your belongings inside your vehicle. Sometimes the contents of your car, like laptops or smartphones, can be damaged as well.
Take pictures of everything in your car that was damaged because those values can be added to your final settlement.
Now you need to exchange information with everyone involved in the accident.
Your personal injury lawyer will need this information later on, so it's best to get it right away.
You will need to get everyone's:
- Phone Numbers
- Driver’s License Numbers
- License Plate Numbers
- Insurance Company Information
- Insurance Policy Number
It can be tricky to do this after the accident because everyone is a little on edge, but this is still essential information.
Don't Say Too Much
Finally, you need to say very little after your accident, even to the authorities and your insurance company.
Before you speak to anyone else in detail about the accident, you need to talk to a truck accident lawyer.
Your lawyer will be sure that you don't say anything to incriminate yourself after the accident.
It's very common for people to take responsibility for the accident without meaning to do so.
So, cooperate with the authorities, but don't say any more than you have to.
Multiple Parties Can Be Negligent
Sometimes fault in a semi-truck accident is obvious.
Other times it might not be so easy, especially since multiple parties can be involved.
The driver of the commercial truck is often the most obvious candidate to assign fault to, but their employer may be responsible as well.
If the truck driver was reasonably acting within the scope of their job, and an accident still occurred, the fault could be with their employer.
The truck's manufacture can even be held liable for the accident if a faulty component on the truck contributed to the accident.
Truck Driver Negligence
Several things can contribute to negligence on behalf of the truck driver.
First, there are federal regulations regarding mandatory hours of service. This means that truck drivers have a specific amount of time to stay on the road before they have to rest.
Not all truck drivers adhere to these regulations for a variety of reasons.
Drunk driving, speeding, and distracted driving are also all contributing factors to truck driver negligence.
There are more examples of how a truck driver can be negligent in an accident.
But no matter how the truck driver was negligent, they need to be held accountable for their actions.
That's where your personal injury attorney comes in.
Trucking Company Negligence
There are also numerous ways the trucking company can be negligent for truck accidents.
An obvious reason is the shortage of drivers companies are facing. And the long hours on the road away from family make truck driving a hard sell for many people.
The trucking industry faces tremendous pressure to fill positions and meet delivery demands.
This can result in the trucking companies taking shortcuts to fill their open positions quicker.
They may do things like skip the background checks, rush drivers through training, and neglect regular maintenance in their trucks to keep their drivers on the road.
Although we understand the position these trucking companies are in, no shortcut is worth endangering innocent drivers' lives.
Your Lawyer Will Prove Negligence So You Can Sue
When you enlist the help of a personal injury lawyer near you, you get the benefit of someone that can bring a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.
It's essential to contact a lawyer as soon as possible because they will help you every step of the way.
They will help you collect evidence and witness testimony, consult with field experts, conduct additional investigations that can help your case, and handle all of the legal aspects of your lawsuit.
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