Tractor-trailers are integral to America’s economy; they carry goods across the country, supplying manufacturers and stores with inventory. Their ability to transport large loads makes them an economical logistical solution, but an 18-wheeler’s large size also makes them dangerous.
California’s seaports and industries make the state a leader in the amount of freight hauled, but California also leads the nation in the number of truck accidents. Semi-truck collisions can cause catastrophic injuries and property damage, and victims often need an 18-wheeler accident lawyer to pursue accident claims.
Why Are 18-Wheeler Accidents So Catastrophic?
Even the largest passenger automobiles are substantially smaller than trucks. To put it into perspective, passenger autos average:
- Approximately 70 feet long, depending on the type of cab and trailer
- 8.5 feet wide
- 13.5 feet tall
- 80,000 pounds
As you can see, trucks overpower cars in both dimensions and weight. Heavier trucks have more force behind them than cars traveling at the same speed, increasing the time and distance needed to stop. They can also crush lighter, smaller cars.
How Long Does a Tractor-Trailer Take To Stop?
Automobiles and trucks often travel side-by-side at the same speed on highways, but their stopping distances are drastically different. At 65 miles per hour, a car needs 316 feet to stop. A fully loaded 18-wheeler needs 525 feet, which is close to two football fields in length.
Why is the longer stopping distance dangerous?
- If drivers are distracted, they may look up and find themselves unable to stop before causing a collision.
- Sudden changes in the road, such as blind curves, or surrounding traffic may require more reaction time and distance than is available.
- Car drivers may merge into a truck’s lane too closely in front, unaware that the tractor-trailer can’t slow quickly.
Whether a truck accident is due to its longer stopping distance or other reasons, injured accident victims deserve compensation for their damages. Johnson Attorneys Group can help.
What Damages Are Available in 18-Wheeler Accidents?
Each state regulates how truck accident claims and civil lawsuits handle damages. California is an at-fault state using pure comparative negligence. That means you can seek compensation for damages even if you hold most of the fault for causing an accident. However, your percentage of fault reduces the payment you can obtain. Your 18-wheeler accident lawyer from Johnson Attorneys Group will ensure that you aren’t blamed unfairly.
Injuries and property damage resulting from truck accidents are typically more extensive than in other types of vehicle collisions, and victims can face staggering expenses. Economic damages reimburse you for eligible expenses, which may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Replacement services
- Property damage
If your injuries require extra recovery time and missed work, you may qualify to seek compensation for future medical costs and lost wages. Ask your JAG attorney if you’re eligible.
You’ll need to keep your receipts and bills to ensure that you receive full compensation for eligible expenses.
Victims of truck collisions often suffer more than physical wounds. They may have other injuries with life-long consequences, and non-economic damages compensate for things like:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost quality of life
- PTSD, anxiety, and depression
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
Because these injuries aren’t necessarily visible, liable insurance companies may dispute them. Your JAG lawyer knows how to prove they exist and will seek maximum compensation on your behalf.
Punitive damages are only awarded in cases when the responsible party is willfully malicious or reckless. Ask your JAG attorney if your case qualifies.
Who Is Responsible for Paying Damages?
When two passenger cars collide, the chances are that only the two drivers may be liable for paying damages. That’s not the case when an 18-wheeler causes an accident. Big trucks are commercial vehicles, and as such, one or more parties can be found liable for the truck’s fault, including:
- The driver
- The trucking company
- The cargo’s shipper, owner, or loader
- Parts or truck manufacturer
- Those responsible for truck maintenance
An investigation is necessary to discover why the truck caused the collision. If the brakes failed, for example, your lawyer needs to find out whether the truck’s maintenance providers failed to replace worn brakes or if the brakes were faulty. In addition, if the driver knew the brakes weren’t functioning correctly, did they take preventive measures?
You probably don’t have the resources or time to conduct a thorough investigation. JAG does, and we will find every party responsible for causing your accident to make them pay.
What Kinds of Accidents Do Trucks Cause?
Trucks can cause unique accidents because of their dimensions, weight, and nature. Some of these aren’t possible with other kinds of vehicles.
The floor of a truck’s trailer is relatively low to the ground and lower than most cars' height. If a car rear-ends an 18-wheeler, the auto can travel under the truck’s bed and become wedged. Unfortunately, the car’s passenger compartment often hits the rear of the truck, crushing front-seat passengers.
Large trucks can also rear-end cars. Similar to underride collisions, tractor-trailers may travel over the auto’s rear until it reaches the passenger compartment. This can injure the car’s rear-seat passengers.
Loaders must distribute cargo weight evenly and secure it properly because uneven or unsecured cargo can cause shifts. If cargo shifts, the driver may lose control of the truck, causing it to overturn and crush surrounding cars.
Unsecured cargo may sometimes fall from the truck even without a collision. The load can become sudden and unavoidable roadway obstacles or fall onto other vehicles.
Toxic substances that leak from a truck may expose people to dangerous fumes or the risk of fire and explosions.
If something causes an 18-wheeler to roll over, surrounding vehicles are often crushed. The truck might fall directly onto a car or slide into it, injuring or killing passengers.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
Personal injury law firms, such as Johnson Attorneys Group, understand the complexities of truck accidents. We know the difficulties you can face and will help you in many ways. We will:
- Offer information and advice
- File case-related paperwork, including your insurance claim
- Investigate your accident
- Serve as your spokesperson with insurance company representatives
- Negotiate a favorable settlement offer or file a civil lawsuit on your behalf
At Johnson Attorneys Group, we realize that your hands are fully recovering from your injuries and putting your life back together. We will handle your legal matters so you don’t have to.
Do You Need an 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer?
If you sustained injuries in a truck accident, you need an experienced legal team on your side. Johnson Attorneys Group focuses on cases like these and can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. With a 98.7% case success rate and over $100 million won in settlements for our clients, you can rest assured that we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
You won’t owe fees unless we win, so contact us today for your free case review. Call Johnson Attorneys Group 24/7 at (800) 208-3538, use live chat, or submit our online contact form.