Tractor-trailers drive 140 billion miles per year.With that many miles driven (not to mention the many million miles that other commercial vehicles drive), it is difficult to drive without passing them. It also means that the risk of being in an accident involving one is real.
While we hope you never experience a car accident, if you have been hit by a tractor-trailer, you are facing a unique challenge. Because businesses typically use tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles, you aren't just going up against another driver, but a company too. This is absolutely a time to have a skilled auto attorney on your side to make sure you are treated fairly.
To help prepare yourself, it's good to understand the potential causes of your accident as well as what makes a tractor-trailer liable.
Did a distracted driver hit you? Maybe they have a history of aggressive driving? Were they following highway regulations? Your attorney can dig up information on these potential causes and help cement your case.
An auto attorney from Accident.com can also pull the driver's training records to see whether they got enough training before driving a route. This could be a huge factor in your case. In the trucking industry, drivers are always coming and going, so there are always a lot more new drivers than expert drivers. Inexperience can lead to accidents, especially if the driver is not used to the way trucks steer.
Also, because of their weight and size, tractor-trailers are hard to handle and require special training to drive. Truck-driving courses can last up to six months and cover safe driving for large trucks in all types of scenarios, federal laws for commercial transportation and health factors that can affect drivers. So, because truckers need so much training and experience, if your accident involved a trucker who didn't have the right training, an auto attorney can use that in your favor.
Behind the Technology Curve
Technology has begun to improve safety standards and help drivers. Reverse and blind-spot cameras show drivers areas that regular mirrors can't see. Automatic braking systems with crash detection sensors can help stop rear-end collisions. And rollover stability systems can stop jackknifes and reduce the number of rollovers. If the operator chose not to add industry-recommended safety technology, or if the driver decided not to use it, a savvy auto attorney can make a case for their negligence if you were injured by their vehicle.
The tires of a tractor-trailer carry a lot of weight, which puts stress on them. If a truck is overloaded, the safety factor may not be enough, and the tire can fail. A failed truck tire can damage a vehicle traveling in the lane next to it, or it can cause the truck itself to lose control. In your accident, were the truck's tires filled at the correct pressure and maintained properly? Not keeping the vehicle in proper operating condition makes the operator liable as well. An auto attorney can help you verify these facts.
Higher Risk and Higher Insurance Limits
Because of the risks listed above, trucking companies and operators have high standards for insurance. Operators using tractor-trailers need to have commercial insurance with at least $750,000 for damages, and many brokers require $1-5 million, depending on the truck's cargo.
These standards don't just apply to18-wheelers though. Any vehicle with commercial insurance will usually have a huge policy. Even a contractor's van or small delivery company's van will need a few hundred thousand dollars in coverage.
Skilled attorneys know that drivers and operating companies can be held liable for accidents. Of the billions paid out in settlements each year, individual settlements can range from hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of dollars. It depends on the situation and how bad the injuries or damage are.
What You Can Do
Injuries involving tractor-trailers can be scary and long-lasting. Passenger vehicles can't compete with the size and weight of an 18-wheeler. Also, cuts, broken bones, head injuries and organ damage can all happen in a collision. Recovery times may be long, stopping you from going back to work too. (So, it's important to see a doctor after an accident, even if you don't feel anything wrong. You may have hidden injuries that could harm you in the long run!)
If you find yourself in a problem like this one, don't worry. Accident.com is here to help you. We can help you find an auto attorney who has the expertise and empathy to ensure you get the settlement you're rightfully owed.
Don't get cheated out of your settlement by thrifty insurance companies. Accident.com has the resources to pair you with an auto attorney who can guide you through the tough process of recovering from a tractor-trailer accident.
But don't wait! There are time limits for any accident claim. If you're the victim of a big rig accident, reach out to us, and our skilled attorneys will help you get through this challenging time.