Semi Truck Accident Lawyer
Semi truck accident attorneys or tractor trailer accident lawyers at Parke Gordon Law Firm in Boise believe every client deserves fair representation. Our semi truck accident attorneys are experienced in representing clients in accidents caused by semi trucks, big rigs, tractor trailers, or other commercial vehicles. Semi truck accidents can cause serious injuries and sometimes result in wrongful death claims. Special considerations are owed in handling a semi truck due to the special federal and state safety laws that regulate trucking companies and their drivers.
Hire a Semi Truck Accident Lawyer Immediately
Semi truck companies are required by federal law to keep documents about their trucks and their drivers for a period of time. After that time, they may destroy those documents. You need to hire a semi truck attorney immediately after a truck accident. Evidence needs to be preserved that can be used to demonstrate that the trucking company and its driver were negligent. An attorney can protect your rights by sending a special letter called a spoliation letter to the trucking company. After receipt of the letter, the trucking company will be forced to preserve the documents. If the documents show a pattern of willful and reckless behavior, you may be entitled to recover punitive damages.
Do not hurt your chances of obtaining a full recovery by waiting to hire a semi truck accident attorney. After the trucking company has destroyed valuable evidence that you could have used to prove your case, you may not receive as great of a settlement.
Maximize Your Settlement With a Semi Truck Accident Attorney
A person injured in a semi truck accident is entitled to recover a number of different types of damages, categorized as either economic or non-economical or special or general. Many people settle for much less than they could recover from the trucking company or it’s insurance company because they did not hire a truck accident attorney and do not know what types of damages are available to a truck accident victim. Our experienced truck lawyers in Boise can build your case by employing experts to investigate liability, produce life care plans, economic analysis, and make a vocational rehabilitation assessment to maximize the value of the damages you are entitled to recover.
Things You May Recover from a Semi Truck Accident
If you’ve been injured in a semi truck accident, you can recover compensatory damages designed to make you whole. These would include reimbursement for things such as the following.
- Medical bills
- Medical treatments
- Lost wages
- Property damages (car repairs, total loss, etc.), and
- Out of pocket expenses.
Rollover Semi Truck Accidents
In 2012 over half the fatalities of truck driving accidents were from rollover incidents according to Claims Journal. These truck drivers are sleepy, overworked and distracted which generally causes rollover accidents. Many truckers also falsely believe they can drive however fast they like no matter the road conditions because of the heavy load they are carrying. This is not only false but could be deadly to either them or others driving around them if in a truck accident.
Reducing Fatal Truck Accidents
Technology like stability control and enforcement of seat belt use has helped reduce fatal truck accidents. Since 2003, truck accident fatalities have reduced by 21 percent according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. However, the number of truck driver fatalities in rollover accidents has not decreased. In 2003, statistics showed 51 percent fatality rate. In 2012, that number increased to 52 percent according to federal data.
What is the Estimated Total Cost of a Semi Truck Accident?
- Commercial vehicle accidents including property damage, injuries and deaths, and other expenses to cost the nation the following estimated total amounts according to the FMCSA:
- In 2009, $79 billion.
- In 2010, $84 billion.
- In 2001, $87 billion.
How Does a Semi Truck Accident Case Differ from a Car Accident Case?
Often times clients involved in a semi truck accident will mistakenly believe their case will be handled much like any other car accident. However, this is not true. In fact, common passenger vehicle accidents are very different from 18-wheeler accidents. Here are some ways in which semi truck accidents differ from car accident cases.
Due to the amount of time semi trucks are on the road as well as the size, nature, and movement of an 18-wheeler, semi truck companies will typically carry 50 times more coverage than an average passenger vehicle. This amount of coverage is necessary to cover the extensive damages and injuries incurred from a semi truck accident.
The worth of an insurance policy for a semi truck can be worth millions. This is exactly why the insurance carrier will often times do almost anything to find a way out of being liable for the accident. This is also why you need an experienced, trusted and aggressive attorney from Parke Gordon Law Firm fighting for your rights.
Because of the nature of a semi truck driver, they are typically governed by hundreds of more regulations than a typical passenger vehicle. These regulations include the maintenance of the semi, the driver’s license and qualifications of the driver, annual inspections, and logbooks.
Truck accidents are often more involved cases because of these regulations. For example, hiring a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following a semi-truck accident is critical for your case. Semi truck companies are required by federal law to keep documents about their trucks and their drivers but after a period of time, they may destroy those documents.
Greater Property Damage
When an 80,000-pound semi-truck hits a 3,000-pound car, obviously the damages are going to be extensive. Injuries from a semi truck accident are often much more severe than injuries incurred from a car vs. car accident. Although many trucking companies will carry large insurance policies to cover such damages, the effects of such serious injuries are often still life-changing if not deadly.
Along with the damage to your vehicle, you may also be facing expensive medical bills. Parke Gordon Law Firm can help. Our experienced attorneys will help you deal with the insurance companies, medical bills, lost wages, and property damages resulting from a semi truck accident. We will fight for every penny you are owed. Call (208) 322-7274 now for a free consultation.
Fatal Semi Truck Accidents
Due to the large size and weight of semi trucks, being hit is often times deadly. In fact, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), about 3,000 to 5,000 fatal semi truck accidents happen each year. These wrongful deaths are all too common. If your loved one has been killed due to the negligence of a semi truck driver, contact Parke Gordon Law Firm immediately.
Common Causes of Semi Truck Accidents
Semi Truck Needs Maintenance
Semi-trucks are required by federal regulations to be kept in good condition when being operated. Serious truck accidents are often caused by the semi truck needing to be maintained. Examples include when a trailer being pulled by a semi comes loose or a tire blows out. Semi trucks should be checked for maintenance regulations before each use.
Semi Truck Driver Is Fatigued
Often times a semi-truck driver may feel pressured to stay on a tight schedule and not be able to rest. The public has been warned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the seriousness of fatigue while driving. Truck drivers are often required to drive thousands of miles each day.
Semi Truck Driver Is Distracted
Distracted driving continues to be a number one cause of car accidents nationwide. It is no different for truck drivers. A driver is considered to be distracted when they are using a cell phone, changing the radio station or doing any other kind of activity while driving that would cause the driver to take his or her eyes off the road.
Semi Truck Driver Is Inexperienced
Some trucking companies will hire a new driver, send them to learn to drive a semi truck and then immediately put them out on the road. These new drivers may then be placed with a semi truck they are not familiar with. The biggest reason trucking companies hire inexperienced drivers is because they are able to pay them less than they would have to pay a more experienced driver.
Sometimes an accident may occur from improper balance of a load on a semi-truck trailer. A semi truck can sometimes be loaded quickly to get the driver to the next drop off as soon as possible. Improperly loaded trailers can cause serious car accidents.
Why Does a Semi Truck Accident Cause Serious Damages and Injuries?
There are many different causes of semi truck accidents and the damages and injuries they cause. The two biggest reasons are due to the weight and stopping distance.
Big trucks such as 18-wheelers, coal trucks, log trucks, cement trucks, tracker trailers, and buses all weight a significantly larger amount than a 3,000-pound passenger vehicle. On average, a motor vehicle weighs 2.5 tons, while a tractor-trailer can weigh 40 tons.
Another reason for serious damages after a semi truck accident is the amount of time it takes for these large trucks to stop. For example, if a semi truck or tractor-trailer was traveling at 40 mph and started to break the exact same moment as a standard vehicle, it would take the semi truck 45 feet longer to come to a complete stop. A passenger vehicle needs about 306 feet to stop after braking while a tractor-trailer needs about 525 feet.
5 Tips to Drive Safely Near Semi Trucks to Avoid a Serious Accident
It is important to drive safely near semi trucks to avoid an accident. Semi trucks travel about 140 billion miles a year in the United States. Understandably, semi trucks are critical and necessary to be on the road to deliver goods to stores. How can a small vehicle be safe while driving near a semi-truck or other large vehicle? Here are some tips to drive safely near semi trucks to avoid an accident:
Tip 1: Make Sure the Semi Truck Driver Can See You
A semi truck has four blind spots:
- Directly in front of the cab
- On the right of the cab
- On the driver’s side from the cab door to 1/3 down the trailer
- Directly behind the trailer
A good rule of thumb to remember is if you can’t see the driver in their rear view mirrors, they can’t see you. It is also a good idea to no linger near a semi-truck. Lingering leaves you to possibly be in a truck driver’s blind spot.
Tip 2: Leave Plenty of Space
It is hard enough to maneuver a large vehicle such as a semi-truck. Give the semi-truck driver a break by leaving them some space. Some issues with following a semi truck too closely include:
- The truck driver cannot see directly behind them. If a car is following too closely, it is most likely they will hit the back of the trailer.
- Semi trucks often have tires that blow out. To avoid large chunks of debris flying at you, stay back.
A good amount of space to leave is five seconds.
Tip 3: Never Cut Off a Semi Truck
Trucks need twice as much space to stop compared with a car. If you cut off a semi while braking, it is likely the semi is going to crash into you. Semi trucks weigh 80,000 pounds. Stopping a fully loaded truck takes some time and space.
Tip 4: Use Your Turn Signals and Have Patience
A semi truck has to drive slower than a car because of its size. It is easy to become impatient with a semi truck but remember to have patience. It could save a life. Semi truck drivers may have to cut you off to pass another vehicle. It is not usually their intention to inconvenience you. They do it to keep momentum. Honking, tailgating or flashing your lights will not speed things up. Just be patient and courteous.
Tip 5: Avoid passing or driving in the lane to the Right of a Semi Truck
A few key reasons to avoid passing a semi truck on the right are:
- A semi-truck has a large blind spot on their right. Passing on the right endangers your ability to be seen by the semi-truck driver.
- When turning, a semi truck needs extra space. Avoid being sandwiched between a large semi and a pole or other objects on the side of the road.
How to Pass on a Two-Lane Road to Avoid a Car Crash
Semi truck accidents often happen on a two-lane road. Impatience and even road rage are often common when driving. Getting behind a slow-moving vehicle on a two-lane road can be very irritating. Waiting to pass and following the Washington Rules of the Road is critical to the safety of the driver and anyone else on the road. Here are a few tips on how to pass on a two-lane road to ensure your safety and follow the law.
- Be aware of traffic and lane markings. A solid line indicates that a driver must stay in the lane. When the line turns to a single dotted yellow line, it is safe to pass so long as traffic permits.
- Check other conditions around you before attempting to pass. For example, tunnels, bridges, sharp turns, driveways, animals, bad weather conditions or anything else that could possibly create a hazard for you to pass.
- Ensure there is enough space for you to pass around other traffic. Look ahead into the other lane and make note of any oncoming vehicles. If you have any hesitation, DO NOT PASS.
- Know what the speed limit is and if you have enough time to pass without going over the speed limit. If the slow-moving vehicle in front of you is moving no slower than 15 mph under the speed limit, it may be best to wait.
- If you come to the conclusion it is safe to pass, do so in a manner that is safe for everyone. For example, accelerate slowly, use your turn signal, smoothly pass, use your turn signal to re-enter the lane.
Head-on Semi-Truck Accident Statistics
In 1998 6,684 people were killed in a head-on car accident according to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These number dropped to 3,914 in 2008. This is an improvement, yet it could still be better. Head-on truck accident fatalities make up more than 10 percent of motor vehicle traffic fatalities. In these head-on truck accidents, 74 percent of the victims were the drivers of traditional vehicles and not the semi-truck driver.
Tips to Prevent a Head-on Truck Accident
- On multiple-lane highways, drive in the right-hand lane. This will make it safer and easier to pull over into a ditch or off the side of the road rather than hitting head-on.
- If you see an oncoming vehicle heading straight for you, quickly veer to the right. This will prevent you from going into lanes of other vehicles.
- Gain more stability by keeping the two wheels on the driver’s side on the pavement when pulling over to a shoulder.
- Choose to hit a fixed object on the side of the road rather than hitting another vehicle. The fixed object has no momentum and will usually cause less injury.
- If you come across an aggressive driver, don’t react to them in the same manner. Let them pass.
- Semi trucks require more time to react. Avoid making unpredictable actions such as quick lane changes.
- Avoid driving in a semi-truck driver’s blind spot. Always make sure you can see a truck driver in their side mirror. This guarantee’s that they can see you.
Overcorrection While Driving Leads to Semi Truck Accidents
Sometimes you may find yourself driving on the shoulder of the road in an attempt to pass a semi-truck. If this happens, be sure not to overcorrect. To overcorrect means to oversteer due to reacting to an event such as driving off the road. Here are some tips to prevent overcorrecting while driving.
- Ease your way back onto the road. Your knee-jerk reaction will most likely be to quickly pull but onto the road. Don’t do it! A quick jerk of the steering wheel will likely cause you to spin out or drive into oncoming traffic.
- Get a firm grip on the steering wheel and drive straight while easing off the accelerator.
- While slowing, straddle the pavement edge.
- When traffic is clear, turn the steering wheel back toward the pavement and return driving as normal. Be careful not to steer too far so you don’t end up driving in the opposite lane.
Semi Truck Accident Attorneys or Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyers
The semi truck accident attorneys or tractor trailer accident lawyers of Parke Gordon Law Firm in Boise can usually tell you over the phone if you have a good case. Don’t wait to call a truck accident attorney doing so could hurt your case. Call our law office in Boise now at (208) 322-7274. We can help take the stress out of the claim and make sure you get every penny you are owed. Parke Gordon Law Firm offers a free consultation to discuss your truck accident case. The clients who have chosen our law firm love us and we think you will too. Take a minute to read over some of our client reviews to see the dedication of our semi truck accident attorneys.
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