Over the past few years, tens of thousands of 18-wheeler accidents have taken place. Due to the size and weight of trucks, most crashes involving them are fatal. If a distracted truck driver doesn’t stop in time, they can cause serious damage to the vehicle in front of them.
If you’ve been rear-ended, you’ll need to seek out medical attention right away. Injuries may take weeks to appear. Minor aches and pains can turn into lifelong medical conditions.
You should also call the police and get in touch with a lawyer to make a claim. Continue reading to learn more about what you need to do to get the settlement you deserve.
Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents
There are a lot of pressures that come from being a truck driver. They have to get their shipment to its destination on time.
They also tend to spend long hours on the road. All of these factors and more can lead to a devastating 18-wheeler accident.
There are federal regulations that limit the amount of time truck drivers can spend on the road every week. This is done to prevent fatigue and burnout.
The problem is that not all companies adhere to these regulations. Many workers still end up driving tired.
Perhaps the most common cause of highway accidents involving 18-wheelers is speeding. Workers are under pressure to get shipments where they need to go within a certain timeframe. If they don’t make their quotas, it could mean their job.
Getting in a hurry can prevent truck drivers from watching where they’re going.
Lack of Driver Training
Driving something as large and heavy as an 8-wheeler takes years of training. Someone who hasn’t received that training will fail to take the precautions they need to take to keep themselves and other motorists safe.
Training and age tend to go hand in hand. Older drivers have enough experience to know how their trucks handle in dangerous situations and can make the necessary corrections to avoid a crash.
After a few hours of driving, workers have the tendency to get bored. This often causes them to take their attention off the road to play with their phone or adjust the radio.
All it takes is a few seconds of distracted driving for a tractor-trailer accident to occur. That’s why there are regulations in place that limits drivers to hands-free electronics only. There are some drivers who ignore these regulations, however.
Due to time constraints, some drivers attempt to eat while on the road. That also counts as distracted driving.
Insufficient Truck Maintenance
It’s up to the trucking company to maintain its vehicles. Every time they perform a check, they must document it.
If they don’t, and a driver takes a defective truck out on the road, it could lead to poor braking and tire blowouts.
Following Too Closely
If a driver tailgates another motorist, they may not have enough time to slow down if they happen to slam on their breaks.
When someone is rear-ended, nine times out of ten, following too closely is the cause. It can be particularly devastating when commercial trucks are involved.
Call the Police
The first thing you should do after an accident is call the police. When they arrive on the scene, they’ll make a formal report and interview any witnesses.
The police will use the information they collect to determine who was at fault. In most cases, the driver who rear-ended the other is the one who is deemed responsible.
Seek Out Medical Attention
Even if you feel fine right after an accident, you should still visit a hospital. It could take several days for injuries to make themselves apparent.
If you wait until then, the trucking company will downplay your injuries. That could cause you to lose any settlement money you would have gotten.
Take Pictures of the Damage
If you’re uninjured, take out your phone and document the accident with pictures. To show the extent of the damage, be sure to photograph your vehicle from every angle.
You can also use your phone to record statements from witnesses. Again, the police will take care of this, but you can never be too thorough.
Call Your Insurance Company
When you’re done having your injuries looked at, call your insurance company to report your accident. Be prepared for the trucking company’s insurance company to contact you in turn.
If they do reach out to you, be careful about what you tell them. You don’t want to answer too many questions until you talk to your lawyer.
Get in Touch With a Lawyer
You can represent yourself in court, but the trucking company will have a lawyer on its side. That means you should as well.
They’ll help you file a claim and use their experience to make sure you get a proper settlement. If the trucking company tries to give you anything less than you deserve, your attorney will let you know.
When you’re injured, you should be able to concentrate on healing. The stress that comes from representing yourself would be counterproductive.
Getting Compensation After Being Rear-Ended
Due to the size and weight of 18-wheelers, being rear-ended by one can be devastating. If you’ve been injured, get in touch with your insurance company right away to make a report.
After that, go to the hospital to have your injuries looked at. Don’t forget to take pictures of the scene, and contact our law firm for a free case evaluation.