Trucks are hugely important to the U.S. economy. According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), trucks transport nearly 70 percent of the nation’s freight tonnage. To move that amount of cargo, millions of trucks travel billions of miles on American roads every year. Accidents are an inevitable consequence of all that activity.
With more vehicles on the roads than ever before, it is no surprise that truck accidents are on the rise. The latest figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation tell us that there are around 500,000 incidents each year in America. Because cargo vehicles are much larger and heavier than regular passenger vehicles, the risk of a serious collision is much higher when these potentially lethal giants are involved.
With more than two million licensed truckers in America, accidents are bound to happen. Since the vehicles these truckers operate are much bigger and heavier than passenger vehicles, the chances of a minor fender bender are nearly nonexistent. As a result, occupants are almost always injured when an 18-wheeler is involved, greatly increasing the likelihood of a lawsuit.
As complicated as car-crash cases can be, they don’t hold a candle to cases involving tractor-trailers. Because of the numerous rules and regulations as well as specific state laws that govern trucking, drivers should always contact an 18-wheeler accident attorney if they were involved in a crash. Even if you weren’t the one responsible for an incident, you should still seek legal advice. Why?
When a regular passenger vehicle is involved in a crash, size and weight are rarely important. However, because of their enormous proportions, all tractor-trailers must comply with strict safety regulations and industry standards. There are also specific state laws that all operators must observe. In other words, you may be held responsible for a crash even if it wasn’t, strictly speaking, your fault.
Building A Defense
The average car collision case, which is relatively simple and straightforward, involves witness testimony and police reports. By comparison, a collision involving a tractor-trailer often requires accident reconstruction. To do so, a reputable 18-wheeler accident attorney must hire and work with specialists who can recreate the crash based on the evidence. Since most personal injury lawyers have little or no experience with this process, it is important to find an attorney that specializes in 18-wheeler cases.
As good as they are at collecting evidence at a crash scene, the police may miss information that is relevant to a court case. An experienced 18-wheeler accident attorney not only relies on information collected by the authorities, he also orders his own investigation. The results of these investigations are almost always more accurate and effective when they are launched soon after the crash occurs. As time passes, it may be impossible for their team to collect evidence that could strengthen your defense.
To ensure effective representation, it is imperative that you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible after the crash.