A Truck Accident Checklist: What to Do if You Have Been Injured in an Accident

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), more than 500,000 trucking accidents happen in the United States every year, with approximately 5,000 per year resulting in death. 

Large trucks are specified as trucks weighing an excess of 10,000 pounds and are controlled by the FMCSA, which was developed in 2000. The FMSCA was made to manage compliance with the commercial driver's license standards for drivers and carriers, consisting of but not limited to, the Hours of Service Regulations (HOS), which restricts the number of hours a truck operator can drive this hazardous equipment.

Truck operators, owners, and manufacturers are required to follow a large variety of state and federal guidelines. Along with the HOS, the FMSCA's policies consist of how much weight a rig is permitted to haul and quality control in manufacturing and repair work. In an instance where the plaintiff is not at fault, the chances that the defendant violated a statute or ordinance are very likely. This is crucial when it comes to the settlement since evidence that a violation of a statute or other ordinance occurred, increases the odds of the victim winning their case at trial.

In order to comprehend what to expect following a trucking accident, it is necessary to establish the reason for the accident, the kind of accident that took place, injuries suffered in the accident, and who the responsible party for the accident is. Let's take a look at a few of the most common causes, types, injuries, and responsible parties.

Common Causes of Trucking Accidents

Trucking accidents are especially terrifying because the chance that the outcome of the accident is death or severe injury is more likely than a crash between two automobiles. Many accidents are avoidable, however, oftentimes are the result of driver error. Some common causes of truck accidents include:

  • Driver fatigue
  • Distracted driving
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Speeding and overtaking
  • Poor training and maintenance
  • Improper cargo loading

A typical theme between all of the accidents noted above is that the primary cause in all truck accidents is human error. Even though each accident has a different designation or name, the variable that never changes is the person who is operating the truck. Negligence to follow rules of the roadway, carelessness to examine the vehicle prior to being driven, and negligence to listen to one's body are all directly associated with human error.

Common Types of Truck Accidents

It is essential to remember that the makeup of a truck is not the sole determining element of what a "big truck" is. Just because it might not look like a normal 18-wheeler most civilians are used to seeing, does not imply that it is not categorized as a big truck. The FMSCA categorizes large trucks as trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds. When an automobile that weighs an excess amount becomes out of control, it is expected to cause severe damages. By comprehending the types of truck accidents and how they happen, drivers can make predictions of what may occur and possibly escape a horrible accident. Here are a few of the most common types of big truck accidents and how they happen:

  • Jackknife Accidents– one of the most typical kinds of truck accidents, which occur when a truck tries to make a sudden and violent stop
  • Rollover– much like the name, this happens when an operator attempts to overcorrect-- either when making an instant stop or attempting to recover after a tire falls off
  • Tire Blowouts– these are the most preventable accidents (and are solely dependant on the negligence of the operator and truck inspectors) and happen due to the abrupt and explosive bursting of a tire wall from extreme heat and wear
  • Underride Accidents– typically happen due to a motorist following too carefully to a big truck or poor visibility
  • Override Accidents– occur when a truck operator is following a car too closely and has to make a sudden stop, there is bad visibility from rain or fog, the truck driver neglected to yield a right of way, an operator changes lanes negligently, brake failure, and a tire blowout
  • Fatigue– this is the most common cause of driver error and frequently takes place due to the fact that trucking companies motivate their motorists to desert safety policies and sleep to finish deliveries quicker

There is a huge selection of types of truck accidents, and knowing the signs of an accident that is about to happen can be the difference between life and death in most cases.

Common Truck Accident Injuries

Because of the gigantic size of trucks, truck accidents can be far more disastrous than normal automobile accidents. Next-to-nothing stands the possibility of being unhurt when hitting a large truck, since its huge size and weight. Some typical truck accident injuries consist of:

Who is Responsible for the Injuries Sustained?

Trucking accidents become much more complicated than typical auto accident cases due to the fact that they have different laws, rules, and regulations that apply to safely operate a truck, 18-wheeler, and commercial automobile. They also become more complicated since the typical primary responsible party is the trucking company that employs the operator. Determining who is at fault is an essential part of any claim including a big truck. In order to do that, the accident must be completely figured out. Oftentimes, trucking accidents involve several responsible parties, without constraint to:

  • Truck operator
  • Trucking company
  • Cargo companies
  • Equipment manufacturers
  • Other irresponsible drivers
  • Government organizations
  • Faulty or harmful roads

What Should I Do If I’ve Suffered From a Trucking Accident?

When you have been involved in a trucking accident, the next actions that follow are very important. What takes place in the following minutes, hours, or days after an accident can significantly affect the result of a plaintiff's truck accident claim. It is very crucial that no matter how minuscule the accident might have been, do not leave the scene of the accident. There are many things that need to take place before anybody associated with the trucking accident can leave the scene. Here are some steps that are crucial to follow after a truck accident:

Assess Injuries

The very first and most important thing to do after a truck accident is to determine whether anyone is hurt. If someone has been injured, they need to seek instant medical attention, so 9-1-1 needs to be called as quickly as possible. Whoever is injured should not move or be moved unless there is an experienced first responder present or the hurt person is in impending danger if they are not moved. It is essential, if possible, to leave everything as is, up until a first responder arrives on scene.

Move to Safety

After the extent of injuries is identified, it is necessary to get everyone to move to safety. Again, it is very important to not move anybody that is hurt unless trained to do so. However, in many states, it is necessary by law to move any drivable automobiles away from traffic. Find a location, like the shoulder of the roadway, to safely move any vehicle involved in the accident out of the way of harm, if possible.

Contact the Police

As soon as everyone is moved to safety, it is pertinent to call authorities. When authorities get to the scene, the victim must give them a full, factual explanation of the accident. It is incredibly essential that nothing is hidden when providing a statement; nevertheless, the victim does not have to expose their feelings, viewpoints, and explanations of what other motorists were doing at the time of the accident— as this most likely leads to problems.

Exchange Information

Every driver involved in the truck accident needs to exchange information with others associated with the accident. It is important that insurance information and driver's license details are likewise exchanged. Automobile drivers in the incident should always get information from the operator of the truck on the tractor, trailer, and cargo. The owner of the truck may have contributed to the cause of the accident, so it is very important to find out if each item noted above is insured.

Document the Accident Scene

Prior to leaving the scene, it is vital to get photographs of all automobiles and trucks associated with the accident. Damage to all vehicles, guardrails, embankments, and all other things that may have been hit needs to be documented. Any appropriate sightlines, skid marks, and state of tires on the truck itself must also be photographed. These photos will be utilized as evidence in a truck accident case. The more evidence a victim maintains, the easier it will be to prove a victim's claims.

Refrain from Speaking with Insurance Companies/Trucking Company Representatives

Insurance companies and trucking company representatives are oftentimes more concerned with their earnings than assisting a victim of an injury. They usually have self-serving tactics and move rapidly to the victim and propose a settlement, to conserve money by avoiding paying the full amount that is due. It is not uncommon for a representative to be on the scene quickly since it is their job to get to the victim first. However, after the victim has provided an official statement to the police, they are not required to share information with anybody else at the scene.

Seek Medical Attention

Even if a victim thinks they have not been injured in a truck accident, it is still essential to make an appointment with a medical professional. A truck accident can put somebody's body at risk of remarkable forces that can trigger many different types of injuries. More times than not, injuries suffered in a trucking accident are obvious; however, it is possible that other injuries might take a long time to reveal themselves. Seeking medical attention can assist in recognizing injuries at an early stage, which helps treatment and the seriousness of injuries later down the road. It is very important to go to all appointments and follow any treatment that a physician puts in place. If a victim fails to do so, it can result in a trucking company revealing that there were missed visits and treatments, leading to a reduced settlement.

Contact an Accident Attorney 

When experiencing any kind of injury from a trucking accident, the monetary losses a victim will face are unavoidable. Contacting an experienced accident attorney will help a victim in numerous ways. The complexity of managing a trucking accident can be scary by oneself, however with the help of an attorney, and the resources they possess, navigating the legal process can become less stressful.

An experienced auto and trucking accident attorney will do everything it takes to make sure the settlement offer shows the real cost of one’s injuries. Depending on the injuries at hand, an attorney might be able to recover compensation for lost wages, lower future earnings, current and expected medical costs, reduced quality of life, and pain and suffering.

Why Choose The Cochran Firm

The Cochran Firm has been recognized nationally as the Truck Accident Law Firm of The Year 2020-2021 by the Trial Lawyer Magazine and The National Trial Lawyers, having obtained over $100 million of verdicts and settlements in truck cases that year alone. Our results in trucking accident cases are among the best of any firm in the country.

If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a trucking accident, you need a dedicated attorney by your side. The experienced auto and truck accident attorneys at The Cochran Firm have a proven record of helping victims of injury get maximum repayment. 

Here at The Cochran Firm, our attorneys are prepared to help victims of trucking accidents who are at the mercy of self-serving insurance companies. Our lawyers work with a network of accident reconstruction experts to thoroughly investigate trucking accidents and identify all contributing factors. We use this information to build solid, evidence-based cases that greatly improve the likelihood of a successful outcome.

When suffering from a trucking accident, you deserve to have an attorney who is going to fight for you. With our legal team by your side, you will be protected against the self-serving tactics of insurance companies and are much more likely to receive the full compensation you deserve. 

To schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation please contact our experienced auto and trucking accident attorneys with offices nationwide.

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