Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer
Call (888) 314-6671 to Speak with a Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer for Free
Our tractor trailer accident lawyers fight on behalf of those injured in an accident and help them seek the compensation they deserve. Our attorneys will build the strongest case possible for you making sure that while we are navigating the legal world that you can focus on your recovery.
Though trucking is one of the most common jobs in the United States, it is a relatively dangerous one. Around 5,000 people are killed each year due to a tractor-trailer collision. As might be expected, it is not the driver of the tractor-trailer who dies, but the driver of the other vehicle. According to statistics, nearly 98% of the time in a fatal collision involving a tractor-trailer, the driver who is not driving the tractor-trailer dies.
If you have been injured or your loved one has been injured or killed due to a tractor-trailer collision and seek to file a claim, call Zinda Law Group at (888) 314-6671 for a free consultation with one of our experienced truck accident lawyers.
Tractor Trailer Accident Statistics
Millions of tractor trailers roam America’s roadways, whether it be commercial vehicles or somebody renting a U-Haul trailer, With that many in operation, it is not surprising that many accidents occur.
The United States Department of Transportation estimates that more than 500,000 truck accidents occur each year, making driving this type one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. The drivers of these trucks are five times more likely to die on the job than the average American worker and account for around 10% of all work-related deaths.
Around 16% of all driving accidents involve a truck of some kind. However, cars and other passenger vehicles cause more than 75% of tractor trailer accidents. Accidents occur most frequently in the daytime (68% of the time), on the weekends (78% of the time), and in rural areas (68% of the time).
Perhaps the most surprising statistic is that these accidents occur when the weather is clear, and the roads are dry (71% of the time). Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Texas, and California are known to have a higher-than-average number of accidents involving a tractor trailer.
Common Compensation Claims
Below are some of the most common causes of tractor trailer accidents that may lead to a claim for compensation:
- Shifting and falling cargo
- Faulty inspection, maintenance, and repair (tire/wheels, brakes, engine, steering wheels)
- Driver fatigue (drivers can spend up to 11 hours a day driving; this number can go up to 14 hours if you include other duties drivers have such as fueling, filling out paperwork, obtaining vehicle repairs, and conducting vehicle inspections)
- Jackknife accidents (this refers to when a tractor begins to skid, and the trailer ends up pushing the tractor, causing the cab to hit the trailer, and making the tractor-trailer look like a jackknife.
- Inadequate training (the federal requirement is 10 hours of training for new drivers, but many companies do not follow this requirement to save money)
- Negligent drivers
- Rear End Accidents
- Retention of careless drivers (around 25% of all fatal tractor-trailer accidents involve a driver who had at least one speeding conviction)
What to Do After an Accident
1. Call the Police
If you can do so, call the police immediately after a collision with a tractor-trailer. Do not talk to anyone else besides the police about the accident at this time. This means that it is imperative that you do not apologize to the tractor-trailer driver after a collision because making an apology implies that you were the one at fault, and it may affect your claim later down the road.
After a police officer arrives, give him or her details of the accident. Provide information on whatever you remember about the accident to the best of your ability. The police officer will write a report based on your recollection. This report is critical when filing a tractor-trailer accident injury claim because, without such a report, the tractor-trailer’s insurance company may be unwilling to provide compensation.
2. Take Photographs
Photographs provide extremely valuable information about the accident that a written police report cannot provide. Furthermore, because a personal injury lawsuit can take some time to resolve, it is important that you have photographs to remember the accident. Therefore, you should take pictures of the vehicles involved in the crash, the location of the crash, and any injuries that you received from the accident.
3. Exchange Information with the Driver
Whenever you are involved in a car accident, it is important to exchange insurance information. Here is a list of information you want to collect from the tractor-trailer driver following an accident:
- Phone Number
- Insurance Information
- License Plate Number
- Driver License Number
- Company Name and Contact Information
4. Seek Medical Treatment
After an accident, you will likely have too much adrenaline in your system to feel the full effects of the injuries you received. Many people make the mistake of turning down an ambulance or receiving medical treatment because of this adrenaline rush. However, waiting a few days to visit a hospital to treat your injuries will only give you a further headache as insurance companies will use your delay to resist giving you fair compensation. Thus, be sure to visit the hospital and receive treatment on the day of the accident. You will also need this medical report when seeking compensation.
5. Contact an Attorney
A tractor-trailer accident is much more complicated than a collision involving two passenger vehicles. This is because tractor trailers generally cross state lines, and as a result, many complications arise from this fact. Therefore, having an attorney who is experienced in tractor-trailer accidents at your side will smooth the claims process and help you seek the highest compensation possible.
Making a Claim
Your lawyer will first collect all of the relevant documents and evidence necessary to file a claim. These include medical bills, witness statements, official reports, employment reports, etc.
There will generally be a discussion for settlement before any lawsuit is filed. Once the insurance company sends you an offer, be sure to discuss the offer with your lawyer. Do not simply accept the offer as your lawyer may able to negotiate with the insurance company to get a better offer. Insurance companies are known to try and settle quickly and in doing so may not take into account all losses sustained from your accident. As your lawyer builds your case, they may uncover aspects of compensation that the insurance company didn’t notice. In doing so, they may be able to negotiate a better offer for you.
3. Filing a Lawsuit
If an agreement is not reached at this point, then your attorney can file a lawsuit and bring your case to court. Important to note is that most cases are settled before ever having to step foot into a courtroom. If yours is not settled before needing to file a lawsuit, your attorney will make sure that the process is as easy and straight forward as possible for you. How long it takes to file and settle a claim will depend on the circumstances of your case.
Who can I sue?
The Truck Driver
As the person most directly involved in the accident, a claim against the driver may be an option if it can be proven that the truck driver was at fault for the accident.
The tractor-trailer manufacturer may also be sued if you can show that there were defects in the tractor-trailer and the manufacturer is responsible for those defects.
The Loading Company
The loading company may be sued as well if falling cargo caused the accident and there is evidence that the people in charge of loading the cargo onto the tractor-trailer did not properly secure the cargo onto the trailer.
Another Car Driver
If the accident was caused by another car on the road, then your claim would likely be against the driver of the car, and your attorney would proceed to file a claim with their insurance.
Proving Truck Driver Negligence
When seeking compensation in a negligence claim against a driver, your attorney will work to prove the following:
Duty of Care
Your lawyer will work to prove that the tractor-trailer driver owed you a duty of care. This means that the driver should have acted in a way that kept you out of harm’s way. Though tractor-trailer drivers have many duties, they have a fundamental duty to not engage in reckless driving.
Breach of Duty
A breach of duty means that the tractor-trailer driver violated a duty of care owed to you. For instance, the driver owes you a duty to not engage in reckless driving but decides to drive under the influence. This would be a breach of duty.
It must be shown that you sustained an injury as a result of the breach. Your medical records may be used to confirm this.
To show proximate cause, you must be able to prove that the breach of duty caused your injury. So using the example given above, you would have to prove that the accident that led to your injury occurred because the driver was driving under the influence.
Accident Compensation Explained
Accident compensation is essentially money given to compensate you for your losses. Compensation is provided for economic losses and non-economic losses. A settlement value is calculated with the following aspects in mind:
Economic losses include the following:
- medical bills
- lost wages
- damaged property
- loss of earning capacity
Non-economic losses include the following:
- emotional anguish
- loss of enjoyment of activities
Legal Time Limits (Statute of Limitations)
States vary in how much time you have to file a claim. Some states give you two years from the date of the accident to file. Other states give you only a year to file a claim. Therefore, be sure to check your state law, or speak with a local attorney to find out more about your legal position.
OUR TRUCK ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS CAN HELP
Speak with our semi-truck accident lawyers to learn more about your claim. When seeking compensation, your attorney will thoroughly assess your claim and seek a full and fair settlement for you. If a settlement cannot be obtained, we will aggressively represent you at trial and fight to help you seek the compensation you deserve.
You can work with us on a contingency fee basis, which means you will pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our no-fee guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.