Some of the most catastrophic motor related accidents occur due to or involving big rig trucks, semi-trucks, trailers and 18-wheelers. Due to their sheer size, it is no wonder they can be so dangerous. There are various factors which can lead to a trucking related accident. Some factors are at the fault of the driver, others are not. If there is any discrepancy about the at-fault party, take a look below at some of the major reasons for trucking related accidents, followed by a general outline of which party is often at fault.
Blind Spots: While trucks are equipped with full range mirrors, they have much larger blind spots than the average motor vehicle. To best avoid an accident, try to give trucks more space than you would give other vehicles and stray away from blind spots as quickly as possible. The at-fault party is not always a clear answer when blind spots are involved. How each party was driving will come into play. If you were recklessly driving and were hit in their blind spot, you will most likely be the at-fault party. If the truck driver was negligent and didn’t clear his blind spots or put their blinker on prior to switching lanes, they will most likely be at-fault. As a general rule of thumb, always steer clear of other vehicles’ blind spots, especially larger vehicles and trucks.
Speeding: Truck drivers should never speed. The mass and weight of their vehicle can be up to 80,000 pounds. That is not a vehicle to mess around with. Not only is speeding causing a major hazard for other vehicles, but it makes it that much more difficult for them to have control over their vehicle, much less braking. Large trucks and 18-wheelers cannot brake the way smaller, lighter vehicles can. Speeding related accidents will most often be the fault of the truck if involved in an accident. Also note that swerving around a large truck, only to end up having to brake in front of them is not a considerate way to drive, or a safe one.
Road Work: Trucking accidents that are caused by faulty roads or non-maintained highways are often the fault of a third-party, whether it be the city, the construction company involved, or even the risk manager of the trucking company. If you are driving in an area that is unkempt, avoid all vehicles both small and large. This is often neither drivers fault involved, as it is the responsibility of the city and/or sponsor of that given road or highway to ensure its safety.
Truck Maintenance: While truck companies are legally bound to maintain their vehicles, a lot can happen between picking up a truck and driving it across the country, or even state. The driver also holds responsibility for maintaining their vehicle. If you are in an accident involving a faulty truck or 18-wheeler, either the driver or trucking company will be held liable. Do not assume it was a ‘freak-accident’ or no one’s fault. Trucking companies and drivers are trained to keep a functioning and safe vehicle, as well as being held liable to do so.
As you may know, trucking accidents are hardly minor incidents. Their mass and size is unparalleled on the road and they are certainly vehicles to watch out for. Even the best drivers have no control over things like damaged and dangerous roads. It is a best practice to know the road and avoid large trucks and 18-wheelers as best as possible to avoid crashes or worse, fatal accidents.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a trucking accident, it is best to handle the claim sooner rather than later. With trucks being so large, it’s uncommon for only one other vehicle or person to be affected by the accident. The more people that are involved, the more claims the guilty party’s Insurance company has to deal with. This can lead to a number of setbacks when filing a claim. Filing a claim against a truck driver or trucking company can be daunting. They are uninterested in paying out proper compensation just as any large liability company is. It is best to hire a professional and experienced attorney if you are ever involved in a trucking related accident. It’s also very important to be clear on your state’s laws.
For example, Texas is an ‘at fault’ state. An ‘at fault’ state means that if a driver in Texas is the cause of an accident, they are required by law to have liability insurance that will cover the cost of all medical and property damage expenses incurred by the accident. If involved with a semi-truck, along with other vehicles, the expenses will likely skyrocket very easily. In other words, an expensive and highly liable situation is not ideal for any company. Trucking companies in particular will try to take shortcuts in order to handle the claim as cost-effective and silently as possible. Know your rights and know when to ask for help.
If you have been involved in a trucking accident in Texas, they are required by law to pay for a multitude of expenses:
- Property Damage
- Medical Expenses
- Income or Lost Wages due to Injury
- Emotional Distress
These are all factors that may occur post-accident. Whether they arise immediately upon the scene or if they slowly appear over time due to the accident, be sure to report and keep track of all losses – physically (pain or suffering), emotionally (distress or trauma) and economically (inability to work). Again, do not brush off a large accident as a one-and-done deal. Most major injuries and loss occur over time.
It is best to seek experienced and professional help when dealing with a large liability claim such as one involving a big rig truck. Put your family and safety first. Don’t take away from the time you could be recovering or helping a loved one by trying to file a claim yourself. For the best representation, call us today for a free consultation.
About the Federal Tort Claims Act