Each year, close to three million Americans are involved in car collisions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that eight percent of these incidents involve big rigs. Approximately 4,000 people are killed each year. Due to the sheer size of these vehicles compared to typical cars, 18-wheelers usually tend to produce more serious injuries than car collisions.
These cases are complex since they involve numerous legal considerations and are governed by both state and federal laws. Because of this, contacting an experienced truck accident lawyer is important if you hope to receive compensation from a collision.
Why do 18-wheeler crashes happen?
Some 18-wheeler accidents are truly just mishaps. On the other hand, some of them involve unsafe driving behaviors and irresponsible actions by the trucking company, which means they could have been prevented. There are numerous reasons why these accidents happen; some of the most common ones are:
- Driver fatigue
- Distracted or impaired driving
- Defective parts
- Lack of maintenance
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Adverse weather conditions
- Lack of familiarity with the route
Common 18-wheeler accident injuries
There are countless injuries you can sustain from these crashes. Some of the most common include:
Whiplash injury: This injury is typically a result of your head and neck being jerked forward, backward, or sideways from the impact of the blows.
Soft-tissue injury: One of the most common types of injuries, soft-tissue injuries occur when damage is done to the body’s connective tissues, such as ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
Head injury: When you receive a blow to your head from an unexpected stop, your head may hit a window, causing scrapes, lacerations, or concussions.
Bone injury and internal damage: More severe injuries, including amputations, broken bones, knee injuries, internal body damage, and even death are all potential consequences resulting from these incidents.
Psychological injury: Physical injuries are not the only harmful consequences of colliding with a big rig. Victims may suffer from a psychological aversion to driving altogether, or be unable to erase the situation from their thoughts.
Regardless of the type of injury you may have sustained, it is imperative you go to the hospital immediately following the incident. Although you may feel fine enough to return home, some injuries lead to internal bleeding, brain injury, and even death in the days following the incident.
Given the complexity of these collisions, a truck accident lawyer is necessary to carry out the investigation and build a solid case to increase your chances of favorable resolutions and adequate compensations. During the discovery stage of the lawsuit, they typically do the following:
- Look at the company’s trucking logs
- Examine witness statements and observations
- Examine the driver’s safety record
- Review the company’s safety record
By law, there are different forms of compensation you may collect as part of your overall damages. Your truck accident lawyer can provide you details on the following damages:
Economic damages: These cover costs such as medical expenses and earnings lost from missed work.
Non-economic damages: These cover issues such as pain and suffering, loss of spousal companionship, and emotional distress.
Punitive damages: These can sometimes be levied if it can be proven the defendants acted in bad faith.
If you were involved in a collision with a big rig, it is imperative that you first seek medical attention and then call a truck accident lawyer. They can help you take the necessary steps to press a claim against the operator for compensation for any harm you have suffered.