Federal regulations have made the trucking industry safer, but there’s still room for improvement. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a large trucking accident, you know how devastating these types of crashes can be. Trucking accidents often result in fatalities, life-long personal injuries, and skyrocketing medical expenses. At Huber Thomas Law, we will navigate the complex trucking industry laws and regulations for you. With the help of a truck accident lawyer, you can get the compensation you need to cover the cost of losses and/or future care. Here’s what you should know if you find yourself in this type of situation.
The Most Common Causes Of Trucking Accidents
Semi-trucks are easily the largest vehicles on the road. With a full tank and cargo load, they can weigh 20 to 30 times more than the average car. In addition, several other safety risks make semi-trucks a big concern for passenger vehicles.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), these include:
- Driver fatigue due to federal regulations that allow workers to operate for 11-hour stretches
- Prescription and over-the-counter drug use
- Large blind spots behind and around the truck
- Brake problems, which are particularly dangerous at high speeds, as well as on hills or wet roads
- Long acceleration distances that are necessary during a merge with traffic
- Hazardous cargo, such as corrosive agents, explosive materials, and nuclear waste
- Poor road conditions
- Driving unfamiliarity with a roadway or route
Prevalence Of Trucking Accidents
How common are trucking accidents? Unfortunately, data shows that these types of incidents are becoming more prevalent. For example, the most recent statistics available show 512,000 crashes involving large trucks and buses in 2017. By the end of 2018, that number jumped to 560,000. If we break down losses associated with the 2018 crashes, we find the following:
- 391,000 were property-damage-only (PDO)
- 121,000 resulted in injuries
- 4,630 were fatal
At our headquarters in Louisiana, the large bus and truck fatality rate per 100 million total vehicle miles traveled (VMT) was 0.22% that year. This is on the higher end when compared to the rates of other states.
What Should I Do After A Trucking Accident?
First and foremost, try to stay calm. While it may be difficult, this will help you think clearly enough to complete several steps that may ensure your safety, as well as legal and financial protection. Whether you’re the driver of a semi-truck or someone who has been hit by one, follow these five important steps.
1. Get help
Once you’re in a safe area, turn on your hazard lights and call 911. If you are on the highway, try to pull over to the shoulder as best you can. Even if no one is hurt, you will need to call for police to come to the site of the accident. This is how you’ll get an official accident report.
In the event that you or anyone else is injured, always ask for immediate medical assistance.
2. Gather Information
No matter how minimal the damage may seem, you must exchange information with the other people involved in the crash. This includes:
- Contact information
- License plate number
- Insurance details
If possible, take photos of the crash from several different angles. Be sure to include close-up images of any damage, debris, or skid marks. It may also be helpful to get a video of the entire scene in order to provide context and a larger view of the area.
3. Talk to witnesses
Are there any other drivers or pedestrians who saw the crash happen? Gather thorough statements and contact information from these individuals as well. Even better, try to use your phone to take a quick video of their description of the accident.
4. Call your insurance company
Once you’ve left the scene, it's time to call your insurance company and let them know you’ve been in an accident. Don’t supply extensive details about the crash yet, your attorney will handle this later. Likewise, don’t speak with the insurance companies or other parties until you’ve secured a truck accident lawyer.
5. Get a check-up
Regardless of how you feel, it’s best to visit a doctor for a check-up. In the event that you are suffering from injuries, medical bills can quickly add up.
From initial tests and X-rays to hospital stays, keep a thorough record of every medical appointment. All of this information should be kept in a file for your insurance company and trucking accident lawyer.
Finally, take your vehicle in for an extensive inspection. Ask the shop to provide notes about any damage, along with a cost breakdown for repairs.
Why Do I Need An Attorney For My Truck Accident Claim?
Trucking accidents can result in complex situations with multiple parties. Plus, federal and state regulations often play a large role. In addition to you, this type of case may include:
- The truck driver
- Other drivers
- The trucking company
- The truck manufacturer
- State agencies
- Insurance companies
If you’ve been a victim, it’s important to gear up for an aggressive fight against the other parties, especially these larger organizations.
How will a truck accident lawyer help me?
At Huber Thomas Law, we know how to help people who have suffered due to a trucking accident.
For example, we can help you recover damages by bringing in world-class experts to testify on your behalf. In addition, we will develop 3D accident reconstruction models to show a jury exactly what happened on the road. We create this with a thorough examination of all road conditions, police reports, and witness testimony. We will also analyze any improper licensing or certifications and investigate possible driver or maintenance negligence.
How much does a truck accident attorney cost?
We understand that cases like these are financially draining. In addition to medical bills and possible loss of income, litigation can be burdensome. This is why we take the guesswork out of legal representation. In most cases, we will not get paid until we recover compensation for you.
We Can Help At Huber Thomas Law
At Huber Thomas Law, we understand that the prospect of a lawsuit can be overwhelming. From dealing with insurance agencies to combing through documents full of medical jargon, it’s a lot to take in.
This is why it’s important to have a team you can trust on your side. We pride ourselves on being an advocate for our clients every step of the way. Our goal is to help you understand every part of the process and get full representation to defend your rights.
Our case victories
A proven track record of success is imperative when you’re searching for a truck accident attorney. At Huber Thomas Law, we have a winning team of attorneys, with the case victories to back it up.
For example, we represented a woman who was injured when an airport shuttle van moved while she was still boarding. The company tried to deny fault for her injury and subsequent back surgery. However, the jury awarded her over $2.3 million. Further, we were able to obtain a $1.6 million jury verdict for a client who had back surgery after a car accident in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.
In addition to securing compensation for countless victims in vehicle accidents, we have proven courtroom success in many other legal areas, including cases involving larger corporations. Some of these cases include:
- A $4 million settlement received before trial for a worker who suffered life-altering personal injuries while working aboard a deepwater drilling rig
- Our hard-fought case against Wal-Mart that ended with the jury awarding our client $1.2 million after a child was injured by a defective product
- A judgment of $42 million for those who were harmed by health companies and physicians committing Medicare fraud
These victories underscore the commitment we make to each of our clients. While the vast majority of cases settle outside of court, we still go the extra mile to prepare for every case as if it’s going to trial. This gives us power at the negotiating table if we can reach a settlement and advanced preparation if we do have to go in front of a judge or jury.
Get Help Today
It takes skill and thorough trial preparation to win cases involving trucking accidents. That’s why we’re committed to getting the whole story. At Huber Thomas Law, we ask critical questions to get to the bottom of every case.
When you work with a truck accident attorney at our firm, you can feel confident that you have the best in the business on your side. Our team has proven courtroom success, helping our clients recoup millions of dollars in damages.
If you've suffered an injury or lost a loved one due to negligent trucking accidents, don’t face your case alone. Give us a call today for a free and confidential consultation.