Any motor vehicle accident is traumatic, but surviving a collision with a big rig or 18-wheeler is particularly devastating and can cause life-changing injuries. It makes sense that a vehicle as large as a semi-truck could cause serious injuries when you consider the massive size and weight of these vehicles, which can be upwards of 80,000 pounds.
If a distracted, fatigued, or otherwise reckless truck driver gets behind the wheel, it can result in a serious and potentially deadly collision. The blame could also be attributed to faulty parts from the manufacturer or the trucking company itself. When you call Richard Schwartz & Associates Injury Lawyers, P.A., we can help you determine liability and seek justice: 601-988-8888
What to Do After You’ve Been Involved in a Truck Accident
The first and most vital thing to do after a truck accident is to obtain any necessary medical care. Once your medical needs have been attended to, it is important that you call a Jackson, Mississippi, truck accident lawyer immediately. After you call us, one of our truck accident attorneys will meet with you to fully assess your situation and advise you on the most effective course of action.
We’ll preserve vital evidence, secure the site of a tractor-trailer collision, take necessary photographs, and listen to witness statements. This is vital because trucking firms have a reputation for losing, misplacing, and purposefully destroying evidence. The protection of that evidence is critical to establishing liability in a truck accident.
How Can a Semi-Truck Accident Attorney Help Me With My Case?
After you file a lawsuit, the trucking firm will quickly dispatch its own investigators once the incident has been reported. Investigators from Richard Schwartz & Associates will also visit accident sites and take photographs of physical evidence, record eyewitness testimonies, skid marks, debris from the collision, as well as oil, gas, and radiator fluid stains at the scene of the accident. We’ll also get police reports, motor carrier records, witness statements, photographs, and safety logs.
Additionally, the truck accident attorneys at Richard Schwartz & Associates have excellent connections with transportation industry professionals and investigators who can examine the facts of your case and assist us in developing a strategy to win at trial. Our team will collaborate with experts, including engineers, medical professionals, and economists, to build your most compelling argument.
How Are Truck Accidents Different From Car Accidents?
There are many ways that truck accidents are very different from car accidents. First, you’re dealing with a much larger vehicle. An 18-wheeler, on average, weighs 80,000 pounds. That’s 20 times the weight of a typical passenger car.
Truck drivers must also adhere to federal rules by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that a regular motor vehicle driver does not need to follow. For example, truck drivers are not permitted to drive for more than 11 hours a day. This is one of the most frequently-violated rules, since many companies and drivers want to maximize their travel time.
Truck accidents can also differ from car crashes in these ways:
- Liability: In most vehicle incidents, one or both drivers are typically held responsible. However, in a trucking accident, other parties may be involved, such as the trucking firm and the vehicle’s manufacturer.
- Insurance policies: A truck driver’s insurance policy is more comprehensive than a typical vehicle accident coverage. This implies that insurance adjusters will do everything in their power to ensure that the blame for the incident falls on the car driver’s shoulders to avoid a large payout.
- Serious injuries: The larger the vehicle, the more likely anyone involved in a crash will suffer significant injuries from an accident. This results in hefty medical expenditures, life-altering injuries, and even death in some instances.
What Are the Common Causes of Tractor-Trailer Accidents?
When the truck becomes out of control due to its colossal size and weight, it creates a potentially deadly scenario. Unfortunately, large trucks are frequently involved in deadly crashes due to the driver’s carelessness or aggressiveness. Special licenses are necessary to drive commercial motor vehicles. Commercial trucks are subject to a variety of rules and regulations. However, accident investigations demonstrate that training and regulations are frequently overlooked.
Common causes of large truck accidents include:
- Aggressive driving
- Driver fatigue
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving
- Failure to inspect tires and brakes
- Poor weather conditions
- Unsecured cargo
- Overloaded trucks
How is Compensation Determined Following a Truck Accident?
Trucking accident victims may face a long, complicated, and costly recovery. As a result, victims can suffer financial losses that include:
- Loss of wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Extensive medical bills and therapy
- Possible funeral costs
These factors are considered to determine compensation:
Economic damages: Damages for pain, suffering, and inconvenience will be assessed according to the person’s level of disability. These include any expenditures that occurred as a result of the accident, such as current and future medical expenses, missed earnings, loss in earning capacity, and funeral costs.
Non-economic damages: Compensation for you and your family for the suffering you are going through as a result of the accident, such as any physical pain or discomfort and mental anguish.
In rare circumstances, punitive damages might be awarded if the defendant’s behavior was fraudulent, reckless, or malevolent. These sorts of compensation are used to penalize the defendant to stop this type of conduct from recurring.
Who is Liable in a Truck Crash?
Accidents involving trucks are frequently more difficult to resolve, since there may be numerous parties who might be held responsible for your damages. It’s not just the truck driver who might be held responsible. You and your lawyer will want to examine several different parties and individuals when determining who is to blame for your vehicle accident.
Truck Driver: Depending on the circumstances the truck driver is likely to have most directly been at fault.
Trucking Company: If the driver of the truck was employed by a trucking company, they could be held liable. The company that employs the truck driver is in charge of keeping track of drivers’ information, including background checks and restricting scheduling for rest periods.
Third-party brokers: To connect them to drivers and trucks, many commercial transportation firms use a third-party broker. If you have been in a crash with a truck hired by a third-party broker, your lawyer will want to explore if they did their homework when hiring, as well as how much control they had over the driver’s schedule.
Truck Manufacturers: You could also extend liability to the truck manufacturer if the accident was caused by a mechanical failure or other problem with a vehicle component. Furthermore, if the employer or independent truck driver did not maintain their trucks properly, they may be held responsible for any faulty components.
If one or more of the above parties can be sued, you’ll want to know. Truck drivers, their employers, and even brokers all have their own insurance coverage. This implies that you could get compensated by more than one party.
How is Negligence Established in a Truck Accident?
To establish negligence in a truck accident claim, you must provide evidence that establishes the truck driver and other parties were at fault. Using this evidence, our truck accident lawyers at Richard Schwartz & Associates will show that the truck driver and other parties had violated their duty of care, resulting in the collision.
Examples of breaching the duty of care include:
- Not maintaining the logbook that details how many hours are driven
- Not documenting hours of service and rest breaks
- Improper truck loading
- Driving under the influence
- Driving for longer than 11 hours without rest
What Is a Truck's Black Box and How Can It Help My Personal Injury Case?
A “black box” is an electronic recording device installed in commercial vehicles that records information such as the driver's speed, tire pressure, brake usage, and more. This sort of information about the driver’s activities and the condition of the truck at the time of an accident can be critical to a personal injury case. Because each vehicle is unique, not all attorneys know how to attain this information.
All commercial vehicles are required to keep track of and report certain data. The words “black box” are used to describe recording devices such as Electronic Control Modules (ECM), Event Data Recorders (EDR), and Electronic Logging Devices (ELD). Black box recordings are frequently instrumental to a personal injury claimant’s efforts to show that the trucker was fatigued, overworked, or otherwise irresponsible.
Electronic Control Modules
Every modern semi-truck has an ECM, which records and controls basic functions such as fuel efficiency, airbag systems, engine performance, and mechanical difficulties. The ECMs monitor such factors as fuel consumption and the functioning of the airbags. Diagnostic tests are also conducted by ECMs, who notify drivers about any problems by illuminating various dashboard warnings.
Electronic Logging Devices
Commercial truck drivers can use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) to keep track of their Hours of Service (HOS) more easily than previously possible, which helps them avoid driving fatigued. All ELDs are required to show a trucker’s total number of driving hours each day. They must also keep track of and distinguish between times when a truck is parked, idle, or in motion by automatically syncing with the engine. Finally, ELDs demand that truckers declare whether they are on duty or not before they start driving.
Event Data Recorders
EDRs can record a variety of information in the case of a truck accident. A rapid and unanticipated deterioration in a vehicle’s speed activates the recording function on an EDR. The truck’s location and speed, as well as the driver’s actions at the time of impact, are all recorded in EDRs. The details are stored for seconds before, during, and after the collision in EDRs.
EDRs capture the following:
- The truck’s speed before and upon impact
- The vehicle’s GPS location
- Whether the truck’s operator was wearing a seat belt
- The steering angle
- Whether, when, and with what force the trucker used the vehicle’s breaks
- The truck’s engine RPM
- How frequently the truck was operating above the speed limit
- Whether the airbag deployed
- Whether the truck operator was using the cruise control setting
- The percent throttle
- The daily and monthly trucking activity
- The tire pressure
- Whether the trucker contacted or communicated with the trucking company
Experienced in Complex Trucking Accident Claims
Truck accident claims are distinct from automobile accidents and other sorts of cases. When an attorney is working on a personal injury claim regarding a tractor-trailer or 18-wheeler, experience counts. Truck drivers and transportation companies must follow federal and state rules regarding hours of service, maintenance, and inspection standards.
The tractor-trailer accident attorneys at Richard Schwartz & Associates are well-versed in these rules and laws. We’ll determine whether a violation of these regulations and laws was a contributing factor to your collision. If we discover that a violation has occurred, we will hold the offending party or parties responsible.
Our Jackson, Mississippi Truck Accident Lawyers Will Review Your Case for Free
If you were in a truck accident, you may seek compensation from the negligent party or parties. Richard Schwartz & Associates has over 100 years of combined expertise and has recovered millions of dollars for our clients. We know how to assist you with the process so you can begin to rebuild your life.
It is our duty as your legal advocates to thoroughly research every aspect of the incident and build a solid case so that you may obtain appropriate compensation. Contact us today if you have any questions regarding how we can assist you: Contact us online or call at 601-988-8888