In our line of work, we see a lot of car and truck accidents. If you’ve never been involved in the details of a tractor-trailer accident—and we hope you haven’t been—it might be tempting to believe that a semi truck crash is just a car wreck with a bigger vehicle.
Unfortunately, this isn’t true. There are important differences between a crash between two ordinary vehicles and a crash that pits that kind of vehicle against a commercial truck. Knowing about those differences can help you if you’re ever in an accident with a large truck. But if you’ve been in a trucking crash already, don’t wait to contact us for a free consultation.
Accidents With Commercial Trucks Can Be Very Serious
One reason these kinds of crashes are different is obvious the moment you pull up alongside an 18-wheeler: They’re very big. In an accident, the size difference between a commercial truck and a car translates to increased force, making it more likely that people inside the car will be seriously injured.
Because of this, victims of commercial trucking crashes are more likely to sustain serious injuries than auto accident victims. Injuries like broken bones, brain injuries, spinal damage and wrongful death have serious, lasting effects on your life, and may cost quite a bit to properly treat. The trucking accident cases we handle are often high-dollar and complex matters.
Trucking Accidents Have Different Causes
Statistically, almost all car accidents are caused by drivers’ mistakes. Misjudging someone’s speed, driving drunk or sleepy, turning into traffic and more are all driver error.
Truck drivers certainly also make this kind of mistake, but it’s less common. That’s partly because truckers tend to be experienced—after all, they drive for a living—but other factors are in play as well. That includes the sheer size of the truck, which can cause accidents through wide turns or difficulty stopping quickly. Because trucking is a commercial business, there are likely also other people making decisions behind the scene, such as overloading or improperly balancing a load, that could cause a crash.
Special Safety Rules Apply to Truckers
Every driver is obligated to drive with reasonable care and follow all the rules of the road. But those who hold commercial drivers licenses have even more safety rules to follow. These include:
- Strict rules about when truckers must take breaks
Logging breaks electronically
A lower DUI limit (0.04 BAC, as opposed to 0.08 for most drivers)
Medical safety requirements
Retaking the commercial drivers’ test every two years
No alcohol in the vehicle (other than cargo)
Submitting to random drug tests
Violating these laws may be evidence by itself that the truck driver wasn’t fit for the road.
More Than One Person May Be Responsible for a Crash
Because trucking is a business, the chances are good that more than one person’s decisions go into any one delivery run. The client, the driver or a trucking company employee may load the cargo. The trucking company may tell the driver when and how to drive, and order or pressure them on important matters like whether to skip a break. The trucking company and its employees may make maintenance decisions about the truck.
As a result, it’s not unusual for tractor-trailer accident victims to end up suing both the trucker and the trucking company. Third parties may also be involved. In fact, because the trucking company is an employer, it may be legally responsible for decisions its employees make. Because companies tend to have more money than individuals, this increases the chances of getting adequate compensation for your injuries.
Tractor-Trailer Insurance Companies May Be More Aggressive
Crashes are inevitable when you drive a lot, so the trucking company is used to dealing with the aftermath of crashes, in a way that ordinary people are not. Crashes also cost trucking companies a lot of money—because they see a lot of them, and because, as previously mentioned, trucking accident victims tend to have very serious injuries.
Faced with an expensive claim, some insurance companies take advantage of the victim’s relative inexperience (and injuries or grieving) to minimize their payout at the victim’s expense. In practice, that means crash victims might be offered a small amount of money right away, pressured to sign something without reading it, or pressured to admit fault, especially while being recorded. If this happens to you, don’t wait to call David Blackwell Law for advice about your rights at a free consultation.
Let David Blackwell Law Help
If you were in a trucking accident, or lost a loved one to a crash with a tractor-trailer, you’ve got a lot to deal with. Serious injuries and grief can change everything about your life, hurting your ability to be there for your loved ones, to work, and to pursue activities you enjoy. On top of all that, it can be stressful to deal with a trucking insurance company that doesn’t have your best interests at heart.
David Blackwell Law can help. We represent people who’ve been seriously injured through no fault of their own, and we help make them as whole as we can. We can tell you how we think a lawsuit might play out, deal with insurance for you and work hard to get you the best possible compensation. That’s money you can use to get better, make ends meet and build a new life after a catastrophic crash. To learn more and tell us your story at a free consultation, call us today at (803) 285-0225 or send us a message online.