If you travel on the highway to get to and from work, you probably see big trucks all the time. You may also notice them if you’re heading out for a vacation this year with the family. The industry calls these 18-wheeler trucks, and they help to keep this country operating.
Any 18-wheeler you see might have just about anything inside it. Maybe you’ll encounter one with fresh produce for grocery stores, or perhaps it’s full of toys for kids. Whatever you might find inside, though, you should understand one thing: that vehicle can run you off the road if you’re not careful because it’s so much larger and heavier than the average car.
We’ll talk about 18-wheeler accident cases in the following article. You should know some basic details just in case you ever collide with these interstate juggernauts.
The Most Common Times 18-Wheeler Accident Cases Occur
Damages caused by semi-truck accidents can have lifelong consequences. If a vehicle gets too close to an 18-wheeler, and you’re in their blind spot, that can cause one. You probably know about blind spots. You know to glance to your left before switching lanes since your mirrors won’t reveal a vehicle or other object there.
18-wheelers have larger blind spots than the average car. They have them on the left side but also directly behind and in front. A truck driver should know to check their blind spots before switching lanes or changing speeds, but some of them might not.
Staying away from these big rigs is the best thing you can do as a driver. If you keep your distance, they can’t run into you. You should do that easily enough by changing your speed to allow a truck driver to pass you or by speeding up and passing them if you can find a safe time to do that.
If you drive unsafely, that can cause an 18-wheeler accident. If you allow your smartphone to distract you, that might do it. You might also glance at a billboard or turn to speak to a passenger while you’re next to a big truck.
Any of those activities can cause an 18-wheeler accident if you’re near one. Make sure to follow all traffic laws and stay aware whenever you’re near a large truck.
18-Wheeler Accident Case Basics
Let’s say the worse has happened, and you’ve collided with an 18-wheeler. Maybe the accident injured you, or perhaps it totaled your vehicle. Contacting a lawyer is the first thing you’ll need to do in almost all of these instances.
You can meet with the lawyer to speak to them about the accident. They’ll want to know the event sequence and what injuries you sustained, if any. They’ll also want to try and determine fault since that will matter a great deal in these situations.
If you feel the truck driver caused the accident, you and the lawyer might decide to sue the trucker or their company. You might even sue the entity that made a faulty component that caused the accident.
You can usually meet with a truck accident attorney for free. The attorney will look at your case and decide whether they want to represent you. Often, they will represent you if they have time and feel you can win the lawsuit against the trucker or company for which they work.
What Can a Lawyer Do for You in These Instances?
If you hire a lawyer to help you during this difficult time, they can do a lot for you. For instance, they might look at any evidence that establishes fault and preserve it using approved methods. They can work with any experts who they feel can help you win your case, such as an accident scene reconstructionist.
They might look at the insurance coverage both parties have to verify it. They can file all the insurance claims for you and make sure you do everything correctly. They will know all the steps to take and will make sure you don’t miss any.
They can work with any medical experts or doctors that you’re using to care for you. They can get injury documentation to potentially use in court. They can also calculate how much in monetary damages you should receive based on lost wages, pain and suffering, established precedent, and other factors.
What Else Can an Attorney Do for You?
An attorney might also sit down with the lawyer or team representing the trucker or trucking company. They might receive a settlement offer on your behalf if the trucker or trucking company feels you have a strong case, and they don’t want to proceed to trial.
The attorney can talk to you about whether you should accept the settlement offer or not. They might tell you the trucker or trucking company wants to lowball you, and you should hold out for a larger payout by going to trial. They may also suggest that you take the settlement if you feel like the money will cover the damages you sustained.
Remember that if you get a settlement offer and decide to take it, you will need to pay your lawyer with some of that money. Lawyers often operate in these cases on a contingency basis. That means you pay them once you get money from a settlement or when you go on to trial and win.
You might choose to take a settlement offer or go to trial. If you go to trial, though, you can lose. The jury might feel like you didn’t prove the trucker or trucking company caused the accident.
If so, you won’t get any money, and neither will your lawyer, assuming you agreed on a contingency payment plan. Make sure to get the contingency payment plan stipulation when you sign a contract with the attorney. Otherwise, you’ll need to pay them, regardless of whether they win your case for you or not.
Now, you know some commercial truck accident basics.