An accident with an 18 wheeler frequently results in severe injuries that can significantly alter the quality of life of everyone involved. An 18 wheeler accident lawsuit is different from other vehicle accident lawsuits due to the severity of the impact with a 70-foot long truck weighing 80,000 pounds. There are also strict federal laws and regulations in place concerning a driver’s conduct and truck maintenance. An 18 wheeler accident attorney at Caddell Reynolds who is well-versed in the trucking business and its governing laws, and has experience in litigation and negotiation, can help you get the compensation you deserve.
HOW ARE TRUCK ACCIDENTS DIFFERENT FROM CAR ACCIDENTS?
In 2014, there were more than 3,400 deaths and over 82,000 injuries stemming from 18 wheeler accidents, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The number of deaths and serious injuries is considerably higher with 18 wheeler truck accidents than it is with passenger vehicle crashes.
An 18 wheeler accident lawsuit typically results in larger settlements due to the higher levels of primary liability insurance required by the FMCSA for 18 wheelers. Commercial freight vehicles are required to carry $750,000 to $5,000,000 – depending on the commodities transported – in insurance coverage and in some cases there is more than one policy on the truck and the trailer, which can contribute to higher settlements.
WHAT COMMONLY CAUSES TRUCK ACCIDENTS?
There are a range of driver errors and equipment malfunctions that can cause 18-wheeler accidents:
- Driving Under the Influence: While most people do not think of commercial drivers drinking or taking drugs, there are 18 wheeler accidents every year that result from this reckless behavior.
- Shifting Loads: If a load is not secured and balanced properly it can shift during transit, which can cause a driver to lose control or the truck to tip over.
- Speeding: Even with the threat of fines, increased insurance costs, and the potential for 18 wheeler accidents, some commercial drivers do speed, a choice that can have life-changing consequences for other drivers on the road.
- Jackknifing: This happens when the trailer skids forward from behind and faces backward while the truck still faces forward. The 18 wheeler will cover most of the highway and can severely impact any vehicles in the immediate vicinity.
- Driver Fatigue: There are strict guidelines for the hours a commercial truck driver can be on the road, but that still does not stop some drivers from continuing on when they are tired and in need of sleep.
- Tire Blowouts: Depending on the circumstances at the time of a blowout, a driver can lose control of their truck.
- Brake Malfunctions: When trucks have to repeatedly stop quickly the brakes can overheat, reducing the effectiveness of the brakes and significantly extending the stopping distance. A driver must keep all work and repair orders so they can prove they are in compliance with road safety standards. In Oklahoma, an 18 wheeler accident attorney can subpoena documentation to determine if the truck’s equipment has been maintained and is in full compliance of federal regulations.
By working with an 18 wheeler accident attorney who has handled these types of cases before, you are more likely to receive a fair and adequate settlement with the appropriate compensation for your damages and injuries.
If you have been involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer, contact the 18 wheeler accident lawyers at Caddell Reynolds at 800-671-4100 to start the investigation for your case and help you get a fair settlement.