If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a traffic accident involving a large truck, such as an 18-wheeler, a semi-truck, or a tractor-trailer, you are not alone. Every year accidents involving large trucks kill about 5,000 people and injure some 115,000 persons. Because of the vast weight difference between a large truck (especially one that is fully loaded and has a full tank of gas) and the general passenger automobile, SUV, minivan, or pickup truck, the passengers of the smaller vehicle may suffer serious injuries, including death, even though the impact was relatively slight.
Some of the injuries the occupants of the motor vehicle may suffer can range from broken arms, legs, and ribs to severe internal injuries to spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis from the neck (“quadriplegia”) or waist (“paraplegia”) down, traumatic brain injury caused by the head hitting an object in the vehicle or even just being subject to a violent jolt, or other serious injury that will require immediate and lengthy medical care and possibly multiple surgeries. Some injuries, such as quadriplegia, paraplegia, brain damage, and loss of a limb, to name a few, are permanent and deserving of full monetary compensation to cover both your physical and psychological injuries.
Some of the reasons behind truck-automobile accidents are:
- The truck is traveling too fast for the conditions;
- The truck is following the vehicle in front of it too closely, resulting in a rear-end collision when the vehicle in front is required to come to an abrupt stop because of road conditions or the actions of another driver in front of it;
- The truck’s brakes are old and worn or otherwise faulty and incapable of stopping the truck in time to avoid a collision;
- Fatigue of the truck driver who does not take the required rest periods and doctors his or her log book to make it appear that he or she was in compliance with federal and state laws;
- Drug use, especially drugs to keep the driver awake;
- Driver inattentiveness or distraction;
- Failing to yield the right of way before entering a roadway or making a turn;
- The driver’s loss of control of the truck due to such things as a shifting load or inclement weather conditions such as rain, snow, or high winds;
- Poor maintenance of the truck so it is not in a roadworthy condition;
- Making an illegal maneuver;
- The driver’s falling asleep at the wheel;
- The truck driver not paying sufficient attention to the road in front of him or her, causing the truck to drift into an adjacent lane, with the driver then overcompensating to get back into the lane he or she was driving in, resulting in the truck’s jackknifing and causing a major collision and traffic jam.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in an accident involving a large truck, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately so he or she can start working right away to obtain all the monetary compensation you are entitled to and collect the evidence before it is lost or destroyed. Do not talk with a representative of the truck driver or the company he or she works for, or its insurance representative, before you have had the chance to hire a lawyer. The lawyer will often advise you against giving a statement to the insurance company’s adjuster, as they are trained to trick you into saying things that will come back to haunt you at a later stage of the case. And you should never give a statement to the other party’s insurance adjuster or lawyer without the presence of your lawyer.