There is no denying that a collision with a truck is a terrifying and stressful experience. Injuries from these accidents can be catastrophic, and may even result in permanent disabilities or death, which can devastate the victims and their families. While damage can never be undone, it is possible to create a brighter future. When pursuing legal action with an experienced truck accident attorney, you have a chance to take back some control over the situation by fighting for the compensation you are rightfully owed. Not only will this force the reckless party to take responsibility, but it can provide you with financial stability for the road ahead.
We accept calls 24/7, call 559-203-3333 to schedule a meeting to discuss your case at no charge.
Truck Accident Statistics:
About every 15 minutes, somebody in the United States is killed or seriously injured in an accident involving a large truck. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that large trucks weigh 20 to 30 times more than passenger vehicles. Given their massive weight and size, on dry pavement, they need 20 to 40 percent more roadway to come to a complete stop than passenger cars. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 4,657 large trucks that were involved in fatal crashes in 2017. They accounted for a total of 4,761 fatalities. Of those fatalities, only 841 were occupants of the trucks. The other 3,920 people who died in those crashes were occupants of other vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. More than 110,000 other people were injured in large truck accidents in 2017. Total injuries and fatalities were about 30 percent higher than in 2009.
Insurers Want to Protect Their Bottom Lines
Because we live in the economic center of one of the most productive agricultural areas in the United States, residents of Visalia, Tulare County and the San Joaquin Valley, are no strangers to gigantic big rigs that transport agricultural products and durable goods in and out of the area. When one of these big rigs causes an accident, serious injuries or fatalities are likely to occur. What comes to issue is that when the drivers of large trucks cause accidents with injuries and deaths, their insurance companies will want to compensate victims as little as possible or even nothing in order to protect their own bottom lines.
Some Common Causes of Large Truck Crashes
After being seriously injured or losing a family member in an 18-wheeler crash, victims and families will likely want to seek compensation for their damages and losses. In order to obtain that compensation, they are required to prove that a person or entity was careless and negligent and caused the crash. Here are some of the common causes of crashes involving 18-wheelers and other large trucks:
- Distracted Drivers: Long hours behind the wheel can become monotonous. That can tempt a driver to use a mobile device to talk, text, play games or watch a television show. That activity interferes with the driver’s visual, cognitive and manual senses that are so vitally important to safely operating a large truck on a roadway. In turn, that endangers not only the trucker, but everybody else on the roadway near that truck.
- Excessive Speed: When a large truck is exceeding the speed limit, it takes even longer to come to a complete stop. Excessive speed must also be considered in the context of traffic and weather conditions. Under certain circumstances, traveling at the speed limit might still be excessive.
- Fatigued or Drowsy Driving: Strict federal hours of service rules are in place. Truck drivers can only be behind the wheel for 11 hours. These rules help prevent driver fatigue and allow drivers to get sufficient rest.
- Poor Maintenance: This is most often seen in the context of tires and brakes. We’ve all seen debris on roadways that evidences poor maintenance.
- Drunk and Drugged Drivers: Alcohol and drugs cause poor judgment, affect reaction time and affect depth perception. Nobody with any combination of alcohol and drugs should be on the road.
- Overloading or Improper Loading: Overloading can cause tire blowouts and cause brakes to wear and fail. Improperly loaded cargo can affect the trailer’s center of gravity, making it unstable. That can cause a jackknife or rollover.
Common Truck Crash Injuries
Given the simple physics of a large heavy truck and trailer colliding with a much smaller and lighter passenger vehicle, that passenger vehicle is going to be pulverized. Here are some examples of common truck accident injuries and what they can do to victims:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries: The symptoms of a mild concussion might subside in a few days, but a fractured skull with bone penetrating into the brain can cause permanent disability requiring daily care or even death.
- Traumatic Spinal Cord Injuries: If the spinal cord is partially torn as a result of the crash, the damage will be irreversible. A partial spinal cord tear results in paraplegia. A full tear results in quadriplegia.
- Amputation Injuries: Limbs might be amputated as a result of the impact itself. Amputations might also be medically necessary.
- Burns: A ruptured gas tank can cause a fire and severe burns to truck crash victims. Burns are extremely painful, and they can result in severe scarring and disability. Many burn victims never make a full recovery.
- Internal Organ Damage: The heart, lungs, liver, bladder, spleen or kidneys can be damaged and cause physical limitations for life.
- Multiple Fractures: Given the magnitude of being impacted by a large truck, victims can suffer multiple serious fractures that will affect them for life.
After Our Investigation
We know that if you have suffered severe injuries or lost a family member in an accident, you might be suffering what feels like overwhelming pain and emotional trauma. We want to see you reach maximum improvement, but that takes time. During that interim, we can perform a thorough investigation and piece the evidence from it together to build a strong and coherent case against whoever caused your injuries, losses and damages. If a good faith effort isn’t made toward settlement by the opposing insurer, we’ll be fully prepared to try your case in front of a judge and 12 jurors.
Contact a Visalia Truck Accident Lawyer
At large, overworked firms, attorneys will sometimes wrap up cases with low settlements for clients in order to cross another case off their long to-do list. In cases that involve severe injuries, as truck accidents typically do, this will not suffice in providing the injured with appropriate care for the future.
At Maison Law, our Central Valley injury attorney spends extensive time discussing case details with clients so that we can determine what outcome will best meet their needs. We perform thorough investigations into the accident and client injuries in order to work towards an ideal settlement or trial verdict.