When you’ve been badly injured or lost someone you love, you face a long and challenging road to recovery. Fortunately, you have options and rights.
Sharing the road with 18-wheelers, tankers, and other large utility vehicles can be nerve-wracking. This is not because all truck drivers are negligent or aggressive when they get behind the wheel. Most truckers are trained, careful, and responsible. It is the few who make reckless choices that make roads unsafe for the rest of us. It is the trucking company executives who put profits on safety who are responsible for the thousands of deaths and catastrophic injuries that occur in the United States each year.
According to the latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of fatal truck accidents in the U.S. was just over 5,000 in 2019. Over 100,000 people are injured in collisions with trucks over 10,000 pounds in the United States each year. The vast majority of people injured in these collisions (around 75%) are occupants of other vehicles, not truck occupants.
For a person who survived a large truck accident or a family who lost someone they loved in a collision of this nature, statistics are of little consolation. Answers are needed to shed light on what caused this dire situation in the first place. Action must be taken to help a survivor and their family rebuild and move forward.
In this article we will try to pull back the curtain on truck accidents, their causes, who is responsible and what to do if you have been injured or lost a family member in a collision with a half or large rig.
Steps after a truck accident
The hours, days, and weeks after a truck accident are confusing and scary. They are also vital to protecting your health and reaffirming your ability to hold the culpable party or parties accountable.
Here are some helpful tips on what to do after a truck accident:
- Stay at the crime scene. It is illegal to leave the scene of the accident that caused damage or injury. Unless you need emergency medical care, stay on site to share information with the other driver (s). Call 911 if someone is seriously injured or the collision blocks traffic.
- Collect informations. If you can, take pictures of your vehicle and truck. You can use your cell phone to take pictures of your injuries and the scene itself. Receive the contact information of all witnesses present and emergency personnel arriving at the scene.
- Seek medical treatment. You need to see a doctor as soon as possible. Some injuries, like whiplash, are not immediately noticeable but can be serious if left untreated. Let your doctor know what happened and follow the recommended course of treatment. You have to put your health first.
- Don’t admit mistake. A common mistake made after car accidents is to apologize or make statements that could be interpreted as an admission of guilt. Only a full investigation of the collision will reveal its cause. Do not say you are sorry or say anything that might suggest that you caused the crash.
- Talk to a lawyer. The shipping company – and even your own insurance company – are not interested in putting you first when it comes to your claim. They will try to blame you, offer a lowball settlement, or delay your claim. It takes a dedicated lawyer to fight for the fair and full recovery you deserve from the people or companies whose actions have harmed you. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your legal rights and interests are protected.
Truck Accident Investigations: Uncovering the Real Cause of a Collision
Every accident has a cause: a sequence of events that led to its occurrence. Uncovering the cause of your collision is critical to getting answers and maximizing your recovery. Your attorney should work with investigators, accident reconstruction specialists, engineers, and experts in physics and trucking regulations to carefully analyze every incident that led to a collision. This determines what caused an accident and who is responsible for it.
Who can be held accountable?
Here in the US we have the right to hold negligent companies responsible for harming innocent people. We can take legal action in a civil court to seek financial compensation that will help survivors and families who have lost loved ones have a more stable future. We can expose wrongdoing to improve conditions for future generations. Even so, there are various parties who could be brought to justice after a truck accident.
Image by Riley Crawford via Unsplash.com.
Below are some possible examples of culpable parties:
- A haulage company that urges drivers to stay behind the wheel for much longer than they should, in violation of the rules on opening times.
- A loading company that improperly secures cargo or overloads a truck making it difficult for the driver to maneuver.
- A truck driver who gets behind the wheel after drinking or taking illegal drugs or prescription drugs.
- A truck driver who continues to drive even under dangerous conditions such as snow, ice or strong wind / rain.
- A community that is failing to meet its responsibility to maintain safe roads and causing truckers to lose control of their vehicles.
Surviving a truck accident is just the beginning. When you’ve been badly injured or lost someone you love, you face a long and challenging road to recovery. Fortunately, you have options and rights.