Semi-trucks are anything but toys. Brutish and long, they are the circulation system for U.S. trade from coast to coast and border to border. They carry our resources, energy, goods, and wealth for homes, businesses, and institutions. And, sometimes, they hurt people.
Popular Mechanics recognizes, “For every 100 million miles driven on U.S. roadways, there are 2.3 deaths and 60.5 caused by big rigs.”
- 5 million trucks in the U.S.
- 13% are semis, big rigs, 18-wheelers and tractor trailers.
- 98% of all semi accidents result in at least one fatality.
- Fatal tractor trailer accidents cost Americans more than $20 billion each year, $13.1 billion of which is the cost associated with loss of quality of life.
If you find yourself among those injured, there are 3 things you need to know about accidents involving semi-trucks:
- Accident Liability: Determining liability in accidents with commercial semi-trucks can be confusing. There are several parties to the accident: you, the truck driver, and the employer.
You should leave it to your attorney to identify those responsible under the legal principle of “vicarious liability.” The employer has vicarious liability when employed drivers have been negligent. For instance, the employer may have been careless in hiring, training, or supervision.
- Timeline: You can expect such lawsuits to takes a long time. Your semi-truck accident lawyer will caution you that a personal injury claim arising from a semi-truck accident may take longer than accidents with other vehicles. That time will frustrate injured parties to the point of settling for less than just.
- The seriousness of your injuries and the required care and therapy will affect the length of the case. The more traumatic the injuries, the longer the case.
- Liability determination takes a thorough investigation by qualified experts. Some states have a statute of limitations to press involved parties to bring things to a close.
- Commercial truckers carry large and involved insurance policies. There may be numbers of parties involved. And, the insurance companies defend their clients aggressively.
- Negotiations: Typically, all parties to the accident prefer to avoid litigation. But, negotiating settlements takes legal expertise and time. You need a lawyer who will pursue 100% of the recovery it takes to restore you to your quality of life.
Determining the medical cost in your recovery and rehabilitation is a complex and time-intensive process. If your losses are traumatic and life-altering, the process becomes more complicated.
Injured on the Road
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports, “A total of 3,986 people died in large truck crashes in 2016. Seventeen percent of these deaths were truck occupants, 66 percent were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, and 16 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists.”
If you are injured in an accident involving a semi-truck, you should first take care of yourself and others if and where you can. If you have any injury, you should seek medical care immediately. But, as soon as you can, you must contact an experienced semi-truck accident lawyer. In fact, you should know whom you would call and carry that info on your phone.