COLLISIONS WITH BIG-RIG TRUCKS
We all know the feeling:
That uncomfortable tightening of the chest we get… When we look into our rearview mirror and see an 80,000-pound 18-wheeler big-rig truck barreling down on our back bumper. According to federal statistics, commercial trucks are involved in thousands of collisions each year. Certainly, some of the reasons are obvious:
- Big-Rig trucks are bigger, heavier, and longer than cars.
- These big-rig trucks need more room to maneuver.
- Trucks take a lot more road to come to a stop.
Given their size and weight, common sense tells you that a collision between a big-rig and your car, or even an SUV, is likely to come out badly for you and your car. Most noteworthy in fact is that commercial truck crashes killed almost 4,000 people in 2016 and injured over 180,000 more, many of them seriously.
Reasons for Crashes
As with other kinds of automobile collisions, there are various causes of big-rig accidents. Many of these collisions with big-rig trucks are the result of the same things that cause your run-of-the-mill car accidents:
- Poorly maintained trucks.
- Overly aggressive driving.
- Failing to yield the right of way.
- Bad driving conditions caused by rain or snow.
Some collisions are unique to trucks.
However, some of the collisions are related to other factors unique to commercial trucks. For example, some collisions occur because a truck is overloaded and therefore cannot stop in time. Furthermore, other collisions are caused by the driver’s inexperience in operating a particular kind or size of the truck. Still, other collisions are the result of tired truckers who have been on the road for too long and who are fatigued. Tired truck drivers are now more likely to be on the road since the deregulation of the trucking industry. Changes in the way goods are shipped to a “just-in-time” delivery system. Furthermore, recent changes in the rules governing how long a trucker may drive before he is required to stop for a rest.
Lawsuits involving truckers
People injured by the negligence of commercial truck drivers are entitled to compensation for their injuries. But, be aware that suits involving truckers are often more difficult than other kinds of collision suits. Stemming from several reasons. Firstly, it may be difficult to find the trucker after the collision. The nature of a trucker’s job means that he might be involved in a collision in a state far from where he lives and to which he will never return.
Secondly, trucking companies are also very skilled in defending themselves against negligence claims. Claims which, to them, are just a part of doing business. They can be very aggressive in denying claims. Due to every dollar paid out in compensation to accident victims, is a dollar that does not go into their pockets.
Further complicating matters is most commercial big-rig accidents involve far more parties than the typical fender-bender. Parties can include:
- The truck driver.
- Trucking company.
- An insurance adjuster.
- The insurer.
Legal relationships among all of these parties can be difficult to unravel.
Persons who have been involved in a collision with a trucker are entitled to recover compensation for items resulting from their loss. Such as medical bills, time lost from work, pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, and loss of earning capacity. The complexity of these cases means that you should consult an experienced attorney and should NOT rely on the trucking company’s insurance adjuster to look out for your interests.
Finally, If you or someone you know has been involved in a big-rig collision, and you need a personal injury lawyer, Dan Street at STREET LAW FIRM is here for you. Remember, It’s always free to contact our legal staff.