Smaller vehicles are at a severe disadvantage on the highways and city roads. Commercial trucks weigh 20 to 30 times more than a car, SUV, or truck, so that collisions can lead to significant injuries and damages to the people riding inside them. In 2019, there were 4,119 fatalities due to collisions between smaller vehicles and commercial trucks, increasing 31% since 2009. The industry is aware of how dangerous this situation can be, and it is at the forefront of finding a solution. Today, you can still be the victim of a commercial truck accident
Commercial Truck Accident Process:
Go to the Emergency Room
You may have been involved in a slight accident, or your commercial truck accident could have been very severe. Either way, it is crucial for you and your passengers to go to the emergency room after a collision with a truck. This is the best plan because you may decide to file a claim against the truck driver, and your attorney will need the medical notes and reports.
During a car crash, you will experience a rush of adrenaline that will prevent you from feeling any pain. This is the reason that people believe that they haven’t been injured in a car collision. You need to go to the emergency room whether you feel as if you have been injured or not. That is because most of the injuries that occur during car collisions respond well to treatment when you obtain it within 72 hours of the crash.
Notify the Police
The police will help you move everything to the side of the road so that traffic can travel through the accident scene. The officer will also make a report that your injury attorney will need to prove your case. It will also help your attorney determine the cause of the crash and name the negligent party. Make sure that you get the officer’s name, badge number, and telephone number at the scene. You will also need the number of the police report.
You must exchange information with the driver of the other vehicle. It would help if you had the name, phone number, and address. You must also exchange your insurance information, such as the name of the insurance company, the company’s phone number, and the policy number. It is also a good idea to take the names and contact information of the passengers and the witnesses. Your attorney will need this information later.
Information that you must never give to anyone is the limit on your insurance policy. Also, never give anyone your Social Security Number.
Document the Commercial Truck Accident Scene
Take pictures of the scene and the conditions of the road. Also, take pictures of the damages to your vehicle and all vehicles involved in the collision. Remember to take photos of the tags as well. Make sure that you write down the time the accident occurred and the date. Damages to the area must also be recorded. For example, there may be skid marks on the road or damage to some of the property in the area.
Record the names of the streets and the direction in which each vehicle was traveling when the crash occurred. The vehicles’ position when the collision took place is crucial information for the insurance adjuster. She will be able to recreate the collision if she has this information.
Call for Roadside Assistance
If your vehicle is damaged it cannot be driven, contact your roadside assistance.
Most importantly, do not admit fault! The fault will be determined at a later date after your attorney collects all of the evidence. The trucking company’s insurance company will also investigate this crash, so you do not want to make any incriminating statements that will be used against you.
Contact Your Insurance Company
The other driver may suggest accepting a cash settlement without informing the insurance companies that a crash occurred. This is not a good idea because you could be given responsibility for damages in this crash at a later date. Contact your insurance company, and inform your insurance agent that you were in a commercial truck accident. Your agent will be able to talk to the other driver’s insurance company for you.
When you discuss the crash with your agent, make sure that you are as thorough as you can be. This shouldn’t be a problem if you have the evidence you are advised to take in this article. Send the witness’ data and the photographs to your insurance agent.
After a commercial truck accident, it takes time for filing a claim to be completed. In the beginning, your insurance adjuster must examine your vehicle to determine if it can be salvaged.
Although your insurance company will be working on this case for you, the at-fault driver’s insurance agent may contact you. You can speak to this person, but you must not allow them to record your statements. The adjuster may try to deal with you, but you must discuss everything with your attorney first. These insurance adjusters have one thing in mind. They must find a way to make you responsible for the commercial truck accident, so you have to be careful when talking to people from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If they can give some of the blame to you for the collision, they can lower your settlement offer.
If the insurance adjuster does not “total” your car, she will find an auto body shop to repair the damage. In the meantime, your injury attorney will also be working on the case. He will gather your bills, calculate lost wages and determine a fair settlement for you. Then, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will notify your attorney of the settlement offer. Your attorney will help you accept or reject it by determining if the request is fair.
Common Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents
Although you may have already been in a commercial truck accident, it is a good idea to know the common causes of truck accidents for future reference. The most common causes of truck accidents are the following:
An Error by the Driver
Most truck accidents occur because the driver makes an error. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a full 88% of truck accidents occur because of driver error. An example of these crashes is when a truck driver fails to make sure his blind spots are clear before changing lanes. Truck drivers have been known to drive more extended hours than it is safe to drive because they have to meet deadlines. This is one of the main reasons that truck collisions occur. Truck drivers are required by law to take time off to rest after driving for a particular number of hours, so this shouldn’t happen.
Driving intoxicated is another way that truck drivers have been found negligent in truck collisions. However, every state has laws against driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, several truck drivers have been found guilty of this charge. The drug use is from illicit drugs, but drivers also use prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs before taking their trucks on the road. These drugs are just as dangerous to drivers as alcohol and illegal substances because they make it harder for drivers to control their large vehicles. Truck drivers are already at a higher risk of seriously injuring other people. If they add drugs or alcohol to the mix, it’s a toxic combination.
Truck drivers become distracted by the same things that distract other drivers, but distractions are more dangerous for truck drivers than regular commuters. That’s because truck drivers may be driving for long hours, and they often search for something that can keep their minds occupied. The first things that many truck drivers look at are their phones. They send text messages and read messages that were sent to them. They call their friends, and they may even see what is happening on their favorite social media websites. Something as simple as switching radio stations also leads to collisions. This tends to occur in rural areas because the reception isn’t the best, so truck drivers on the highway may search for another station while driving at high speeds. A truck driver doesn’t have to take their eyes off the road for very long to be involved in a deadly collision.
Trucking companies require their drivers to make their deliveries at a particular time, and truck drivers have been known to speed to meet these deadlines. Sometimes, traffic conditions or the weather do not allow these drivers to drive safely when they have a deadline to meet. These drivers have the added pressure of worrying that they will lose their jobs by missing their deadlines, so they think they have no choice but to speed. When smaller vehicles are forced off the road because of a speeding commercial truck behind them, it often leads to fatal crashes.
Failure to Secure the Load
Trucks have to be loaded according to rules set by the federal government. These rules ensure that the loads have been secured so that the weight is evenly distributed and that the load is not in danger of falling out of position and slipping off of the truck. When this occurs, it can cause horrific commercial truck accidents. Slipping cargo can also cause a large truck to roll over. When a load has not been secured properly, the most dangerous time for the truck and other vehicles on the road is when the driver is making a turn or stopping the car. If an object comes loose and falls off the truck, it may hit another vehicle and cause considerable damage. It may also fall onto the road and create a hazard for oncoming traffic. You can reduce this danger by leaving a significant distance between you and a commercial truck in front of you.
Failure to Adequately Train Truck Drivers
Sometimes, the trucking company is negligent in a truck collision because of the failure to adequately train its drivers. Trucks are so large and extremely heavy that it requires extensive training to handle one on the roads. Their training requires that they practice driving for a predetermined number of hours, but trucking companies need to get new drivers on the roads as soon as possible, so they relax these requirements. Therefore, the roads may have truck drivers with limited training and a lack of experience.
Failure to Maintain the Vehicle
The truck’s mechanic may also be determined to be negligent in a truck collision. Trucks must be inspected before they are taken on the road, and they must be maintained to ensure that they are in condition to be driving on the roads. If the truck fails to perform while it is on the road, it can cause accidents. The fact is that it costs money to maintain a commercial truck, and it takes time to do so as well, and this is when the truck is not on the road making deliveries. If a truck hasn’t been maintained well and the truck driver hasn’t received adequate training, this is the biggest recipe for disaster on the roads and highways.
Failure to maintain the vehicle leads to significant injuries. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, brake failure is the reason for nearly 30% of truck collisions. Brakes may fail because they haven’t been inspected or maintained, or they were subject to overheating or condensation. If the brakes fail, the manufacturers or the designers of the brakes can be held liable along with the trucking companies for failing to maintain the truck.
The truck’s tires are another common reason that truck collisions occur. The tires are carrying the entire load, so they must perform well. Blowouts also happen because of the failure to inspect and maintain the tires. Tires can also have design flaws, and these can cause significant destruction while a driver is on the road.
A personal injury attorney has the experience to help you obtain compensation from the people responsible for your collision.