The trucking industry is essential to the fabric of our country’s economy. But sharing the road with 18-wheelers can be dangerous. When you consider the weight of the car and the weight of the tractor-trailer combined with high rates of speed on the highway, it is no wonder that an accident with a big truck can be deadly.
The statistics on 18-wheeler collisions are staggering. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Annual Report reveals that in 2012, over 100,000 people were injured in accidents that involved 18-wheelers. Nearly 4,000 people were killed and over 300,000 18-wheelers were part of a collision. An overwhelming 73% of the injured parties were the drivers of non-commercial vehicles.
Negligence in a Tractor-Trailer Accident
Federal regulations governing the way that big trucks are to be loaded and operated exist to protect motorists and truck drivers alike. A lack of adherence to any of these regulations on the part of the driver or the trucking company can result in an accident.
Negligence on the part of the driver may include speeding, driving while intoxicated or distracted, fatigue or driving an improperly loaded or overloaded truck. A trucker may also be deemed negligent if he is using equipment that is defective or if he does not log his load and mileage properly in his log book.
A trucking company could negligent or at fault in an accident if the equipment it owns is not properly maintained, or if the company is lax in its screening and hiring policies. Trucking companies must also ensure that all procedures and rules are in compliance with those that are imposed by the state and federal government.
Personal Injury Claims Against an 18-Wheeler
If you have been injured in an accident involving an 18-wheeler, it is important that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible after receiving medical treatment. Your attorney will have many resources at his or her disposal, including an investigator who can visit the scene to gather evidence and to take photographs. Your attorney will also work with you to begin gathering witness statements from those who saw the accident. In some cases, your attorney may even use the services of an accident reconstructionist who can rebuild the scene of the accident to establish fault and build the strongest possible case. Your attorney can also assist you in filing and negotiating a claim with your insurance company.