You've just been in a truck accident: What to do right now.
Due to the heavy interstate corridor that runs through the Hagerstown area (the intersection of I-70 and I-81) and around the metropolitan beltways (I-495, I-695) of Maryland, there are a large number of semi trucks on the road on a daily basis. This density of trucks unfortunately leads to an increased number of truck accidents.
Truck accidents can be especially devastating due to the size of the truck, and in some cases the weight of the cargo it may be carrying. We provide comprehensive representation to those suffering from injuries in a truck accident. These accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, including:
- Driver negligence (falling asleep at the wheel, reckless driving and speeding)
- Poor driver training
- Improper truck maintenance
- Overloaded cargo
- Unbalanced cargo
- Aggressive, distracted, or alcohol- or drug-impaired driving
A Truck Accident Case Is Not the Same as a Car Crash Lawsuit
While all car accidents have the potential to cause severe injury, the injuries sustained in truck crashes are liable to be life-changing. The extreme size and weight of a semi truck can cause traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, multiple bone fractures, paralysis, or internal damage that will need extensive medical treatment. Victims may be forced out of work and into the hospital for weeks or even months, and all the while, the trucking company and its insurers will make every attempt to withhold payment to accident victims.
Truck accidents also are often more complicated than auto accidents, and the odds are stacked against victims the moment the accident occurs. If you or someone you love was injured in a commercial truck accident, be sure to see our list of what to immediately do after a crash and watch our videos about truck crashes.
Ways Trucking Companies Attempt to Avoid Liability
Trucking companies attempt to avoid liability after an accident by:
- Coaching drivers. Trucking companies train their drivers on what to say and do after a crash. This helps companies protect themselves from liability at a time when victims may be in shock, unconscious, or unable to offer their testimony to a policeman on the scene.
- Performing damage control. Employees from the trucking company can arrive on the accident scene in minutes, gathering any evidence that may show that you are partly responsible for the crash. If they are not served with spoliation letters, companies may also destroy evidence that can be used against them.
- Calling in insurance adjusters. Trucking companies are heavily insured, and these insurers have adjusters that are paid handsomely to deny claims. Adjusters may contact victims just days after the accident in an attempt to gather evidence to against them, and often offer quick settlements to get victims to take fast payment that is far less than they are owed.
Ways Trucking Companies Can Be Held Liable for Big Rig Accidents
There are strict federal safety laws that trucking companies must follow in order to reduce the risks of a crash. However, many truckers or companies may ignore these laws in favor of higher profits and reducing road time. Some of the most common illegal actions that cause truck crashes include:
- Driving while distracted. The most common driver distractions include talking on a cellphone, texting, eating and drinking, watching TV, and surfing the Internet.
- Violating hours of service requirements. If a trucker spends too many hours on the road, he may become drowsy, inattentive, or even fall asleep behind the wheel.
- Reckless driving. Drivers who use drugs or alcohol, perform aggressive or unsafe driving maneuvers, or travel over the speed limit can all be held liable for reckless driving.
- Improper maintenance. Drivers must ensure that all parts of their rigs, trailers, and cargo are in proper working order before each journey. Overloading the trailer, improper fasteners, thinning tires, broken mirrors, and other maintenance problems can all lead to a crash.
- Failed inspections. If the trucking company failed any safety inspections on its equipment or facilities, the company may be seen as unnecessarily endangering the public.
- Negligent hiring practices. Trucking companies are required to perform background checks, drug testing, and adequate driver training before setting drivers loose on highways.
Trucking companies are unwilling to release any of their company records to victims, especially if the contents could implicate them in the crash. That is why it is vital to have an experienced truck crash attorney perform a full investigation of the trucking company to see whether any violations occurred. Bruce Poole is a member of the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys, National Trial Lawyers: Top 10 Trucking Trial Lawyers Association, and the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group and he and our legal team are well-versed in commercial truck safety laws, semi crash liability, insurance negotiations, and trial procedures, ensuring that our clients get the best possible result after an accident. Contact us today to find out how we can help.