Five Things You Must Know About Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Accidents involving commercial vehicles, such as trucks and tractor-trailers, usually cause severe injuries to the people who are hit, and they total the vehicles they’ve been driving. Such a traumatic experience makes it difficult for the affected drivers and possibly their passengers to do much of anything at the accident scene, let alone take the types of action that would help them get compensated later.
Nonetheless, if you’re conscious and able to move around, there are some important things you can do at the scene that can help you later as you fight to reclaim your life. Below you will find five things you must know about accidents with commercial vehicles.
1) What You Should Do (And Not Do) at the Accident Scene
Here are the most important things you should do at the accident scene if you’re able to safely do them, along with what you should absolutely not do.
The first thing to do would be to call 911. This will alert the police and also summon an ambulance if needed. Next, you should document what happened, both in images and videos, as much as you are able. Be sure to get the truck’s license plate information if possible, as well as the driver’s name, driver’s license number, employer information, trucking company name, and so on. Pictures are the easiest way to document everything. Make sure that you email the pictures to yourself so you do not lose them.
Also get the names and contact information of any witnesses, so you and your lawyer can contact them later. And, of course, be sure to get whatever medical care you may need.
On the other hand, here is what you should NOT do: If you have any back, neck, or head injuries, do not try to move. Instead, rely on the ambulance to transport you safely to the emergency room.
Furthermore, do not give any statements, apologize, or talk about the accident to anyone, especially anyone from an insurance company. Don’t agree to being recorded. Anything you say will be used against you as you try to get compensated for your losses. Be sure to hire a Delaware personal injury attorney who has plenty of experience with truck accidents to help you.
2) Why Is the Damage in Commercial Truck Accidents So Severe?
Tractor-trailers and 18-wheelers are huge. They can weigh up to 80,000 lbs when they are fully loaded, which is more than 20 times as much as your average car, which weighs around 3,000 to 4,000 lbs. No wonder that a crash simply decimates a car.
Trucks also need a longer distance to stop, especially in inclement weather. Most of the time, they operate at high speed because they travel on interstates as they strive to deliver their goods in a timely manner.
No matter whose fault it ends up being, a collision with a big truck will cause severe damage to any cars and drivers that are hit.
3) Who Is at Fault in an Accident With a Commercial Vehicle?
After an accident, it has to be determined who was at fault. However, this is not as easy as it may seem. In a surprising number of cases, it’s actually the car drivers who are at fault. They might have been tailgating or driving in the truck’s blind spot. They might have also pulled in front of the truck without leaving enough room for the truck to brake.
Truck drivers are often at fault as well. They are under a lot of pressure to cover vast distances to meet their deadlines for deliveries. There are strict rules about just how many hours truck drivers are allowed to drive before they have to take their required rest breaks. However, high-quality, restful sleep cannot be legislated and can sometimes be hard to come by.
As a result, truck drivers are often tired and occasionally even fall asleep at the wheel. That can be a fatal mistake. Similarly, like so many other drivers, they may also fall into the trap of distracted driving. A short lapse in attention can mean the difference between life and death.
They must also be well-trained, both in how to operate and navigate their rigs and in how to check and take care of them. That way, they’ll be able to keep them in prime operating condition and avoid any mechanical failures.
4) Other Parties That Could Be at Fault
Truck drivers and passenger car drivers aren’t the only parties that could potentially be found at fault for a truck accident. The next party would be the company that employed or subcontracted the driver for a specific job. They are responsible for hiring safe drivers and training them properly. They should also allow them to do their job safely without putting them under too much pressure.
Trucking companies also have maintenance crews that are responsible for keeping the trucks in safe driving condition. The manufacturers of the trucks or their parts can also be held responsible if they have sold defective parts.
Furthermore, the crews that have loaded the truck could have made mistakes and created an uneven load. This could have caused the truck to lose its balance and topple over, especially in a curve or while passing another vehicle.
5) Why You Need an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
As you can see, finding out who was at fault can get complicated and holding the responsible parties accountable can be a challenge. Moreover, all this has to be done within the two-year statute of limitations.
While trucking companies and truck manufacturers have high insurance coverage, their insurance companies will fight hard to protect their bottom line. They will make it as difficult as possible for the accident victims to collect any compensation.
To have a fighting chance, you need an experienced Delaware truck accident attorney who knows all their tricks and is willing to pursue your case in court.
Considering the severity of the damage that commonly happens in collisions involving commercial vehicles, there is a lot of money at stake. Compensating the injured parties for medical expenses, lost wages, potential future loss of income as well as pain and suffering can involve millions.
An experienced lawyer will know how to track down the parties that are at fault and fight to get you a fair payout. At Hudson, Castle & Inkell we have the kind of experience that will give you the best chance at getting fairly compensated for your injuries and losses.
If you have been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, or if a loved one has died in such an accident, call or email us to arrange for a free case evaluation. We will be glad to help you.