Handling Complex Truck Accident Claims in the Huntsville Area
All traffic accidents are dangerous, but truck accidents take the risks of danger to new levels. The size and weight differential alone makes truck accidents far more deadly than other kinds of traffic accidents. If a truck driver leaves you or someone you love injured in a truck accident, consult The Law Firm of Cloud, Ryan & Rouse with an experienced Huntsville car accident lawyer.
The Size Discrepancy
You recognize that semi-trucks are much larger than the cars we drive, but you may not realize that they can also be 20 times heavier. The average car is about 4,000 pounds while a semi can weigh up to 80,000 pounds (and that is for a single trailer – not one of the road trains with multiple trailers that are becoming more and more common). Further, big rigs sit much higher on the road and have far taller profiles than our vehicles, which makes them far more susceptible to rollover crashes. A tractor-trailer that rolls over obviously endangers everyone who shares the road.
When you get behind the wheel of your car, you take on the responsibility to drive safely, but truck drivers take on even greater responsibility. Truck drivers are professional drivers who are held to strict national, state, and industry safety standards for very good reasons. Truck drivers have far greater potential to cause frighteningly dangerous accidents.
Truck Crash Statistics
While you likely don’t need statistics to recognize how dangerous truck accidents are, they help to put things in perspective. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports two statistics that relay exactly how dangerous – and prevalent – truck accidents are. These include:
- In the year from 2016 to 2017, truck accident fatalities rose by 10 percent – from 4,251 to 4,657.
- In the same year, the number of injury-causing truck accidents rose by 5 percent – from 102,000 to 107,000.
To make things more dangerous for motorists, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) relays that the occupants of other vehicles – not the semis themselves – are far more likely to be injured or killed in truck accidents.
Truck Accident Damages
If you have been injured in a truck accident, the damages you face are probably overwhelming. The medical expense alone can be extensive and can include:
- Emergency treatment and emergency transportation from the scene of the accident
- Surgery and follow-up care
- Treatment and ongoing care from doctors and specialists
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Prescription medications
- Home health care
- Adaptive physical devices
In addition to medical expenses, however, you may also face lost hours on the job. If your injuries are very serious, you can also be looking at a reduced earning potential into the future and even an altered career trajectory. Since our careers and earnings can directly impact our stress levels and the rest of our lives, this isn’t just a financial burden but can also be an emotional burden.
Alongside financial damages, there is also your pain and suffering to consider. The unmitigated trauma associated with truck accidents leaves many victims with PTSD-like symptoms that can be debilitating. All told, the noneconomic damages associated with a truck accident can be immense, including:
- Physical pain and discomfort
- Psychological consequences
- Decreased enjoyment of life
Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents
Every truck accident is unique to the circumstances involved, but there are some common causes that are commonly associated with dangerous truck accidents, including:
- Truck drivers who speed, including using excessive speed for the condition of the road (even if it does not exceed the posted speed limit)
- Poorly trained and/or inexperienced truck drivers
- Failure to take inclement weather into consideration
- Fatigued truck drivers (a common problem due to the high-pressure nature of the trucking industry and the long hours truck drivers are expected to put in)
- Distracted and/or impaired truck drivers
- Tractor-trailers that are improperly loaded
- Cargo that is improperly secured
- Inadequate truck maintenance
- Inadequate safety checks
- Mechanical malfunctions, such as brake failure
- Defective or otherwise dangerous truck parts and/or equipment
The Trucking Industry
Our vibrant economy is consumer-driven, and the consumer goods we demand are often delivered by semi-trucks. In other words, the trucking industry is a vital part of our economy, and it sometimes struggles to keep up. Trucking companies, however, are responsible for maintaining safe fleets with experienced, responsible truck drivers who are not coerced or coaxed into putting in more hours than it is safe – or legal – to drive. Truck drivers’ livelihoods depend upon their ability to put miles behind them, and when under undue pressure from the trucking company, they are that much more likely to make bad choices related to hours of service.
The Insurance Company
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you’re going to be dealing with an insurance company that specializes in these matters. Insurance companies are in the business of turning large profits, and they have deep pockets to help them avoid making payouts to victims like you. Insurance companies have extensive experience dealing with distraught accident victims and making lowball offers that may seem generous at the outset but are unlikely to even begin to cover the extent of your damages.
Never take an insurance company’s settlement offer before discussing the matter with an experienced Huntsville truck accident lawyer. Your ability to cover your damages in their totality hinges on obtaining the compensation to which you are entitled, and this is unlikely to be forthcoming without skilled legal representation.
If You Have Been Injured by a Negligent Truck Driver, Consult with an Experienced Huntsville Truck Accident Attorney Today
Truck accidents are high-risk and require careful legal attention. The dedicated Huntsville Alabama truck accident attorneys at Cloud Ryan are committed to negotiating with the insurance companies and/or filing a lawsuit on your behalf. Our experienced legal team won’t back down until we’ve secured the compensation you need to reach your fullest recovery. We’re here to help and we’re on your side, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 256-801-1000 for a free consultation today.