Although trucks comprise a small percentage of motor vehicles on the freeways and other roads, an accident with one can easily result in massive damage to your car and serious injuries to you and your passengers. A loaded tractor-trailer can weigh 80,000 pounds as compared to your own passenger vehicle of around 5,000 pounds.
Trucks have longer stopping distances and lack the maneuverability of smaller vehicles. Blind spots are wider and when turning, trucks need extra space. If you are vying with a truck for an open lane on the freeway, do not expect to win but do expect to have your car easily pushed aside.
If you are hit by a truck, you may have sustained serious injuries and incapable of doing anything except to wait for medical care. But if you are able to move around and exit your vehicle, here are things you can do to preserve your claim for damages and the compensation you deserve:
- Do not move your vehicle unless it is absolutely necessary and your safety is at risk. The location of your car and all other involved vehicles can be instrumental in determining how the accident happened and who was at fault.
- Check to see if your passengers are injured or if anyone else in other vehicles are injured and need medical assistance.
- Call 911. If they ask about injuries and you feel dazed or may only be experiencing slight pain, do not refuse it. Many injuries such as whiplash or head injuries do not show symptoms until hours or days later.
- If you can, exchange all required information: driver’s license, insurance, and registration. Obtain the phone number of the truck driver, the name of the company for whom he works for, and plate numbers. If you do not have a pen or paper, take cellphone photographs.
- Either take photographs of the vehicles involved, roadway, and involved parties, or take a video. If you or any passengers have visible injuries, take a photo or video.
- Do not say anything about how the accident happened even if the truck driver is accusing you. Simply state that we should wait for the police.
- Have the EMTs check you out.
- Give your account of the accident to the police. Do not speculate and simply say you do not recall if you do not know certain times, distances, or speeds. Be sure to detail any injury or symptoms you are experiencing.
- Call your insurance company or agent and report the accident.
- Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as you can. If necessary, your doctor can refer you to a specialist if your injuries are serious or for physical therapy or chiropractic care.
- Do not talk to any investigators or insurance agents representing the truck company or driver.
- Immediately contact a truck crash lawyer.
What an Experienced Truck Crash Lawyer Can Do
Trucks are complex vehicles and truck accident claims can be just as complicated. In serious and fatal accidents involving trucks, police will typically demand the truck driver undergo a drug or alcohol test. It is not uncommon for drivers to take methamphetamine to stay awake during long and monotonous drives or to meet deadlines. Many are on pain medications such as oxycodone or Percocet or other opioids that can affect their driving behavior. According to a study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, American truck drivers were found to have the highest rate of alcohol testing results among truck drivers worldwide.
Trucks and trucking companies are strictly regulated. Your lawyer can review rules and regulations relating to rest requirements, maximum weight, and maintenance. He can check if pre-inspection procedures were followed and documented.
Your truck crash lawyer can retain an expert in trucking policies and procedures as well as one in accident reconstruction. In serious cases, the truck itself is examined for issues of braking and steering, and if loads were secure. Nearly all large trucks have on-board monitors that track certain data including speed, braking conduct in the moments before the accident, how long the truck has been in operation that day, tire pressure, and when the driver took rest breaks. Other valuable data can determine if the truck driver was driving too fast for conditions, if he had braked at all, or had been driving in excess of mandated hours.
It is not uncommon for trucking companies to skirt required qualifications in search of needed drivers and to hire those with poor driving records, who may not possess commercial driver’s licenses, or who are poorly trained. A review of the company’s records, history of violations, personnel file for the driver, and testimony obtained through depositions can reveal surprising and grossly negligent behavior by the driver’s employer.
Insurers for trucking companies are loathe to admit responsibility or to pay out compensation unless they have little option. An experienced truck crash lawyer who has supporting documentation of liability by the driver and/or company, can negotiate a large settlement depending on the nature and severity of your injuries.
Damages in Truck Crash Accident Claims
- Medical expenses
- Past and future loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income capacity
- Permanent impairment or disfigurement
- Diminished quality or enjoyment of life
- Spousal claim for loss of consortium
Retain Truck Crash Lawyer Paul Tetzel
Do not trust your truck accident injury claim to any personal injury lawyer. Paul Tetzel has the experience and knowledge you will need in a serious truck accident claim to get you the compensation your case deserves. Call his office today at 617-933-3858 for a free consultation about your accident claim.