Looking for an 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer?
Should you hire an attorney dealing with 18 wheeler accidents?
What do they do?
In this article, we will break down the legal profession of 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer so you know all there is to know about it!
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Table of Contents
What Does An 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer Do
An 18 wheeler accident lawyer is a legal professional experienced in dealing with legal claims or lawsuits involving 18 wheelers and commercial trucks.
They are accident lawyers specialized particularly in crashes, collisions, and accidents involving large transportation trucks or commercial trucks of any kind.
An 18 wheeler lawyer is knowledgeable in the trucking industry regulations, technology, dealing with insurance claims, and business practices.
A person having suffered injuries in a truck accident will generally consult with a qualified attorney specializing in truck accidents to seek compensation for personal injuries.
Similarly, a trucking company, truck driver or anyone sued by another person involved in a trucking accident will also seek legal representation from an 18 wheeler attorney to present a defense against the lawsuit and have it dismissed or minimize liability.
Generally, an experienced truck accident attorney dealing with 18-wheeler accidents can help you in the following ways:
- Assess the circumstances of the accident and determine who may be liable
- Review the available evidence
- Identify gaps in the evidence
- Review police reports and deal with law enforcement authorities
- Analyze and assess medical reports and speak with medical professionals
- Identify gaps in medical reports or need for additional tests
- Interview and speak with witnesses
- Potentially retain the services of experts to reconstruct the scene of the accident
- Ensure that key evidence is preserved
- Obtain data from the trucks Electronic Control Module representing the truck’s “black box”
Hiring 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyers
A question that may come to your mind is should you hire an 18 wheeler crash lawyer?
There may not be a cookie-cutter answer applicable to everyone but here are some key aspects that you should consider.
The first thing we must say is that it is not mandatory to hire an 18 wheeler injury lawyer when involved in an accident.
Anyone who believes that they have the proper understanding, knowledge, and abilities to pursue a truck accident claim by dealing with the at-fault parties, insurance companies, and other stakeholders may choose to handle the matter on his or her own.
However, many are not familiar with the trucking laws, regulations, rules of evidence, proper filing of claims, and skillful negotiation of a settlement.
As a result, it may be important to turn to an 18 wheeler accident law firm or 18 wheeler accident attorneys as experts in the field to provide you with legal advice and competent legal representation.
You must keep in mind that trucking companies are typically sophisticated companies who understand the best strategies to adopt in minimizing liability or costs associated with their 18-wheel trucks.
Also, 18-wheeler truck collision cases are complex and may need to be analyzed and assessed by someone who is knowledgeable in truck collisions, understand medical reports, and have a good grasp of truck accident litigation to be able to put everything together in a clear, comprehensive, and legally sound truck accident lawsuit or claim.
In addition, the insurance companies involved are also highly sophisticated, have the financial resources, and in-house legal experts to assess an 18-wheel accident in such a way as to minimize compensation or cost to their business.
Anyone dealing with an insurance claim following a semi truck or big rig accident must deal with the insurance companies in such a way as to avoid falling in the trap of offering admission or making a statement that may lead to a denial of the claim or reduction in compensation.
In general, it’s advisable to minimally consult with an 18 wheeler accident lawyer or law firm to get a baseline knowledge of the case, understand what’s at stake, potential strengths and weaknesses of the case.
Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents
There are many reasons why a tractor-trailer or eighteen-wheeler truck may get into an accident.
Here is a list of the most common causes of accidents involving big trucks, eighteen-wheelers, and commercial trucks:
- Overloading of the truck
- Improperly loading the truck
- Truck driver fatigue
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Distracted truck driver
- Improperly taking sharp turns
- Bad weather conditions
- Manufacturing defects
- Defective parts
- Tire blowouts
- Worn brakes
- Installation defects
- Poor maintenance
- Lack of maintenance
- Equipment failure
- Violation of traffic laws
- Reckless driving
- Aggressive driving
- Defective highways
- Failure to yield
This is a non-exhaustive list of potential reasons why an accident may take place with a truck although there are many other reasons.
In any 18-wheeler accident claim, it’s important to clearly determine the cause of the accident to hold the property party accountable.
For example, if the cause of the accident was the impaired driving of the truck driver, then the truck driver and the trucking company may be held accountable.
On the other hand, if the truck had a defective part, the manufacturer of the defective part may be held accountable for product liability.
The best 18-wheeler accident lawyer or law firm can quickly assess the circumstances of the accident to identify the root cause of the accident in order to obtain the highest possible settlement or award for the victims.
Common Types of Truck Accident Injuries
Unlike car accidents, truck accidents are generally more serious, may result in greater property damage, and potentially more serious injuries (even death).
Here are the most common types of truck accident injuries:
- Brain trauma
- Severe lacerations
- Broken bones
- Post-traumatic stress
- Spinal cord injuries
- Disc injuries
- Ligament injuries
- Limb loss
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Wrongful death
- Nerve damage
This list is not exhaustive.
It’s important to consult with a good lawyer to assess the injuries suffered and see if you can pursue the at-fault party or any involved insurance company for compensation.
What To Do After An 18-Wheeler Truck Accident
If you or anyone you know get into a truck accident, here are the things you must do immediately after the accident:
- Remain calm and try to regain your composure
- Contact the police authorities even if the accident is minor
- If you or anyone is injured, make sure you get the proper medical attention
- Do not move the vehicles from the scene of the accident until the police can record the accident
- Remain on the scene of the accident until the police comes
- Identify and get contact information of anyone involved in the accident, drivers, witnesses, passengers, or other
- Identify the police and law enforcement officers on the scene
- Take lots of pictures of the scene of the accident
- Note down any personal injuries suffered along with damage to property
- Do not admit fault to anyone
Then, in the days following the accident, here are the steps you need to keep in mind:
- Make sure that you are treated for any injuries
- Get a copy of the police report (accident report) that you had filed
- Get a copy of your medical record and treatments received (or to be received)
- Get a property damage valuation to assess the extent of property damage suffered
- List all of your out-of-pocket expenses following the accident
- Keep track of any days you missed from work
- Identify how your life may have changed due to your injuries
- Consult with an 18 wheeler crash attorney for legal advice
Who Is Liable In A Truck Accident
Many assume that the truck driver is the main person liable for injuries or harm caused from an 18 wheel truck accident.
However, truck accidents can be much more complicated and liability may be imputed on other parties, such as:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Truck owner
- Truck, trailer, or parts manufacturer
- Shipper or company responsible for loading truck
- Company responsible for the content of the truck
- Company leasing the truck
- Maintenance company
- Shipping agency
- Cargo loading company
As you can see, one accident can potentially involve the liability of one or several parties.
By speaking with a truck accident lawyer dealing with trailer, semi-truck, big rig, 18-wheeler and other types of truck accidents, you can get a sense as to who may be involved and who to pursue for best chances of getting a settlement or compensation.
What Are The Different Types of Truck Accident Lawsuits
Depending on who may be held responsible in a truck accident, several parties may be legally pursued for compensation.
Although you should consult with top 18 wheeler attorneys to understand who to sue, how to file your lawsuit, define your claim strategy, and so on, here are the different types of lawsuits that may be filed:
- Negligence lawsuit
- Product liability lawsuit
- Wrongful death lawsuit
Negligence lawsuits are typically filed against those whose negligence caused the truck accident.
Negligence claims and legal actions may be filed for the following reasons:
- Inexperience of the truck driver
- Negligent loading of the truck
- Driving recklessly or in an negligent manner
- Truck driver failing to identify vehicles in its blind spot
- Truck driver failing to respect road signs and traffic laws
- Driver failing to take sufficient breaks and rest
- Failure to properly maintain the truck
- Truck driver not sufficiently trained to drive an 18-wheeler
In a negligence lawsuit, the plaintiff must demonstrate four elements:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff duty of care
- The defendant breached its duty
- The plaintiff suffered damages
- The damages were caused by the breach of the defendant’s duty
Next, you can file a product liability lawsuit.
Truck manufacturers, truck part manufacturers or other third-party manufacturers are responsible to provide products that work, are not hazardous, and can be used as intended.
In the event a truck accident takes place due to a defect with the truck or any of its components, a product liability claim may be filed against the manufacturer responsible for the defective part.
In the context of product liability against the manufacturer, the plaintiff must demonstrate the following:
- The truck or its parts was unreasonably dangerous
- The truck was being operated as it was designed
- The truck’s performance had not changed since its purchase
Another type of lawsuit that may be filed is for wrongful death if the truck accident leads to the death of a person.
If the victim of the accident dies, his or her family can claim on behalf of the deceased compensation for the damages caused.
Wrongful death claims are similar to negligence claims with the main difference that the victim has died.
Just like the victim of an accident, the estate can pursue the defendant for financial compensation for all out-of-pocket expenses and possible future losses.
How Truck Accidents Differ From Car Accidents
Here is a list of how truck accidents are different from car accidents:
- Trucks weigh 20 to 30 more than a car and can cause much greater property damage
- Trucks tend to carry insurance policies and coverages that are much larger than car drivers
- Truck accidents can lead to much more serious personal injuries than cars
- Due to more severe injuries, the victims tend to suffer a much greater financial loss and incur much higher medical bills
- There is a much greater chance that truck accidents lead to the death of a person
What Type of Compensation Can Be Obtained
A truck accident is similar to other personal injury lawsuits whereby the plaintiff can demand financial compensation for the damages suffered.
Generally, the plaintiff’s damages can be classified in three categories:
- Economic damages
- Noneconomic damages
- Punitive damages
Economic damages are damages that are the direct result of the accident with the truck and can be proven using documents, receipts, invoices, and records, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Emergency room visits
- Surgery costs
- Future medical expenses
- Medical care
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Medical equipment
- Therapy costs
- Property damage
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Travel expenses
Noneconomic damages are damages that are intangible in nature, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress
- Fear of driving
In cases where the defendant’s conduct was so outrageous and deviated from acceptable standards in society, the court or jury may award the plaintiff punitive damages.
Punitive damages are sums awarded over and above the economic and noneconomic damages granted as a means to “punish” the defendant for the wrongful conduct.
Truck Accident Statistics
In the United States, there are hundreds of thousands of truck accidents in a year.
There are millions of truck operators across the country that routinely operate trucks on the roads, highways, and streets.
In 2016, there were 475,000 large truck accidents.
90% of the reported truck accidents were due to human error.
Roughly 25% of the drivers have fallen asleep behind the wheel.
Trucks weigh 20 to 30 times more than a standard automobile and accidents can be quite devastating and life-changing for the victims.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are approximately 3,000 to 5,000 deaths resulting from truck accidents every year in the United States.
18 Wheeler Accident Attorney Takeaways
So what is the legal definition of 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer?
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18 Wheeler Accident Lawyers
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