Although 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles are crucial to our economy and way of life, large trucks pose some unique risks to anyone they share the roadway with. Their large size and huge weight means accidents involving 18-wheelers usually cause much more severe injuries than other types of motor vehicle accidents.
Because truck accidents are different from other accidents, here are 6 things you need to know about 18-wheeler accidents:
- You should always seek medical attention. Even if you feel fine, it’s crucial to allow a medical professional to examine you. You may be suffering from injuries like concussions that don’t always show immediate symptoms, but can be fatal if left untreated.
- Truck drivers must abide by strict regulations. In an effort to decrease the number and severity of trucking accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) puts limits on the number of continuous hours a driver can work, the weight of cargo being transported, and what maintenance should be performed to insure vehicles are safe to operate. It will need to be determined whether a driver violated any of these or other regulations that resulted in the accident.
- There could be multiple parties at fault. Trucking companies have a responsibility to hire competent employees, provide necessary training, and enforce all regulations imposed upon truck drivers. Failure to do any of these could make them liable for injuries and damages caused by truck accidents. Additionally, if a defective auto part caused the accident, the company that manufactures the part could also be held responsible.
- A thorough investigation will need to take place. Determining exactly how a truck accident happened isn’t always easy. Oftentimes witness statements, reconstruction experts, police reports, and evidence of damage are required to understand the cause of an 18-wheeler accident.
- Don’t give any statements before talking to a lawyer. Trucking companies and insurance companies usually try to settle cases as quickly as possible. This means several parties will ask for your statement about what happened, but it’s important you don’t make any statements until you talk to a lawyer.
- Time is of the essence. Negotiating with insurance companies, conducting an investigation, and coordinating with law enforcement officials and other parties is too much for one person to handle on their own. Victims of truck accidents need to reach out to an experienced 18-wheeler accident attorney as soon as possible.