The idea of being in a regular car accident is scary, but a collision with a massive 18-wheeler truck is even more terrifying. Accidents with the latter often lead to exponentially more severe injuries. Weighing up to 80,000 pounds, these commercial trucks can cause catastrophic damage when they crash into smaller passenger vehicles.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an 18-wheeler collision, you may be wondering if getting a lawyer is worthwhile. To put it simply, it definitely is as hiring an experienced attorney levels the playing field and provides the best chance at securing fair compensation.
The Dangers of 18-Wheeler Accidents
With their massive tonnage, semi-trucks can cause catastrophic damage when they collide with smaller passenger vehicles. In fact, over 70% of fatalities in semi-truck collisions are occupants of the cars and motorcycles hit by these giant rigs. Occupants of smaller vehicles involved in semi-truck crashes are at grave risk of severe injuries such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Severe back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries leading to paralysis
- Severe lacerations and burns
Sadly, many accident victims suffer permanent disabilities or even death. The extreme size and weight disparity between big rigs and cars or motorcycles means that truck drivers and their companies should be held accountable when their negligence leads to such severe harm. Experienced 18 wheeler accident lawyers can build a strong case.
6 Good Reasons Why You Need 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyers
The trucking industry and insurance companies dedicate enormous resources to protect themselves from liability and minimize settlement payouts after 18-wheeler crashes. 18 wheeler accident lawyers level the playing field by providing:
1. Knowledge of complex local, state, and federal laws and regulations related to the trucking industry. Unlike regular car accidents, commercial trucking accidents involve many more legal complexities.
2. Resources to conduct thorough investigations and accident reconstructions. Your attorney and their team can collect police reports, ELD (electronic logging device) records, inspection reports, company policies, and other evidence needed to prove liability.
3. Experience negotiating with insurance companies. Trucking companies and their insurers rarely make fair initial settlement offers. Your lawyer has the negotiation skills to demand full and fair compensation.
4. Determination to take your case to trial if needed. If insurance companies won’t offer adequate settlements, aggressive trial lawyers aren’t afraid to take them to court.
5. Access to medical experts. Lawyers work with doctors and other experts who can accurately assess the full extent of your injuries and prognosis over your lifetime.
6. No out-of-pocket costs. Reputable personal injury firms work on contingency, meaning legal fees only come out of settlement funds after your case wins.
Steps Your Lawyer Will Take
Shortly after retaining an 18-wheeler accident attorney, their thorough investigative process begins. The first step involves collecting every piece of evidence available. Your lawyer will gather police reports, photographs, eyewitness statements, and critical records like the truck driver’s logs.
Next, your attorney will consult medical experts to fully understand the extent of your injuries, treatment needs, and prognosis. Identifying liable parties also begins at this stage. Lawyers will look at the driver’s training and history, company policies, cargo weights, and equipment like defective parts that may have caused the crash.
Your lawyer then uses the evidence and expert input to calculate complete damages. Demand letters asserting your right to maximum compensation are finally sent to insurers from where your lawyers will aggressively negotiate these claims.
By handling these complex legal and investigative tasks, your lawyer lifts the burden during your recovery, so you can focus on getting your health and life back on track.
Factors That Determine Settlement Amounts
Because no two 18-wheeler collisions or ensuing injuries are ever identical, many factors affect the potential settlement amount victims can receive.
A primary consideration is the level of truck driver negligence. Actions like intoxicated driving, speeding, distractions, or disregarding hours of service rules demonstrate clear irresponsibility. Violations by the company, such as inadequate driver training or overloaded cargo, also strengthen the case for maximum compensation.
Severe injuries that require extensive hospitalization, surgeries, or long-term care warrant higher damages. Outcomes like permanent disability or disfigurement further increase deserved compensation.
Even subtler factors like lost income, benefits, and pain levels factor in. In fatal crashes, funeral costs and death benefits must be included. Experienced attorneys account for every applicable element, skillfully calculating and demanding adequate compensation for the victims and families they represent.
Don’t Delay, Consult an Attorney Today
The aftermath of an 18-wheeler crash can be utterly devastating. Medical expenses start piling up, lost wages jeopardize your financial stability, and injuries possibly leave you permanently impaired. The trucking company and insurance adjusters won’t show compassion or offer enough compensation unless an aggressive lawyer demands it from them. Don’t wait to protect your rights. Consult qualified 18 wheeler accident lawyers as soon as possible so they can start building your claim today.
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