An accident with a large truck, 18-wheeler, or bus can be especially dangerous due to the greater likelihood of serious injury or death for those in smaller passenger vehicles. When you are a driver or passenger in a vehicle like a car or a pickup truck, and a large truck hits you, the damage your vehicle sustains will likely be severe because of the size and weight of the truck.
Truck driver fatigue is a serious problem throughout the United States. This is true despite federal hours of service regulations intended to ensure that truckers get enough rest. Thankfully, when commercial truck accidents result from driver fatigue, victims can usually recover compensation. Contact a truck accident lawyer near you to schedule a free case evaluation to determine if you have a case.
Large Truck, Bus, and 18-Wheeler Accidents Are Deadlier Than Normal Accidents
If you were on a city road, state highway, or interstate recently, you likely noticed many trucks. Sometimes, almost every other vehicle on the road is a large truck, looming over your car and slowing traffic. The fact is that when tired drivers operate these vehicles, disaster can strike.
In one recent year in the United States, accidents involving large trucks caused:
- 5,237 fatal crashes
- 127,000 crashes that resulted in injury
- 414,000 crashes involving property damage alone
When a large truck hits a passenger vehicle, the operating height of the truck makes it more likely that the truck will run over the motor vehicle, causing serious injury or even death. If a fatigued truck driver causes an accident, their employer’s insurance company will generally be liable for your damages.
Truck Drivers Must have Sufficient Rest to Not Drive Drowsy
Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle that is significantly taller, heavier, and more difficult to operate than a traditional motor vehicle is a tremendous responsibility. For this reason, truck drivers are subject to strict regulations, including regulations as to how much they can drive in a given period. These regulations attempt to ensure that truckers rest adequately and avoid drowsy driving.
When a driver engages in drowsy driving, they are putting themselves and everyone else on the road at risk. In 2019 alone, drowsy driving contributed to 697 fatal crashes.
Fatigue can cause:
- Slowed reaction time
- Impaired judgment
- Poor attention span
Driver fatigue often results from:
- Sleeping less than necessary
- Parental responsibilities
- Certain prescription medications
- Late nights out socializing with friends
Fortunately for victims, you likely do not need to prove whether a driver was fatigued at the time of an accident to recover compensation. Instead, you need to show that the accident was their fault and resulted in your losses.
Collecting Damages Requires that You File a Claim and Provide Sufficient Evidence
Unfortunately, compensation does not automatically appear in your bank account after you suffer injuries in an accident. Instead, you’ll need to submit a claim that contains sufficient evidence to recover compensation for your injuries and other losses.
You may claim damages for both your short-term and long-term losses. Short-term expenses include emergency room bills and lost wages during recovery. In contrast, long-term losses include ongoing medical costs like rehabilitation and medication and any reductions in your earnings ability that your injuries might have resulted in.
Determining whether you are entitled to compensation from other drivers or parties involved in your accident depends upon the evidence. You might not know the various legal instruments you can use to collect the evidence you need to support your case or how to file a lawsuit in case settlement negotiations fail. Fortunately, your local truck accident attorney has the knowledge and experience you can depend on to generate the best possible outcome in your case or claim.
Do Not Accept a Settlement Offer Before Talking to an Attorney
If you have suffered injuries in an accident caused by a fatigued truck driver, an insurance company may approach you in days or weeks with a settlement offer. The offer they make may seem large, but it is probably far below the actual value of your case. Insurance companies are out to make money, and they achieve this goal by denying claims whenever possible and keeping settlements low.
Fortunately, you can even the playing field by retaining a lawyer to represent you right after your accident. A lawyer will evaluate your losses and handle all of the paperwork associated with your claim. In addition, they will represent you in settlement negotiations and work to obtain a settlement that adequately covers your losses. Finally, if the insurance company does not make a settlement offer that you can accept, your lawyer may file a lawsuit and represent you in court.
How Much Does a Truck Accident Lawyer Cost?
You may be wondering how much you’ll need to pay to retain a lawyer after a truck accident. While it may come as a surprise, the answer is nothing upfront.
Truck accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if they obtain compensation for their clients. If your lawyer does win your case, they will collect their fee as an agreed-upon percentage of your settlement or award.
Reach out to a Local Truck Accident Attorney Now
The longer you wait to get moving on your case, the more difficult it becomes to collect evidence supporting your damages. Once you have received emergency medical care for your injuries, it is time to reach out to a truck accident lawyer to help with your claim. Do this before contacting the insurance company to ensure you receive the best possible settlement offer, to begin with.
Suppose the insurance company has already rejected your claim. In that case, you can still work with a truck accident attorney to help you through the appeals process or a lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to settle your case for a reasonable amount. Working with a local truck accident lawyer as soon as possible allows you to focus on recovering from your injuries while your attorney handles your claim.