18 Wheeler Accidents
San Antonio 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer
We have all driven past an 18-wheeler on the interstate and held our breath while doing so. It’s because these massive trucks, also known as tractor trailers, are incredibly heavy, dangerous, and – let’s face it – scary. One wrong move could result in serious injury, a lifetime of medical debt, and even potential disability. Unfortunately, that is the reality for many Americans who endure the horror of trucking accidents. That’s why it’s necessary to have aggressive truck accident litigation from Janicek Law. Call a San Antonio 18 wheeler accident lawyer today at 210-366-4949 for a free consultation.
How Common Are 18 Wheeler Accidents in the U.S.?
According to data from the NSC, more than 147,000 Americans suffered catastrophic injuries while 4,965 people died from semi-truck accidents in 2020.
Top 4 Reasons Why Semi Trucks Are More Dangerous Than Passenger Vehicles
18-wheelers are so much more dangerous than regular cars. As a result, a semi-truck crash is often much more dangerous than a regular auto accident between two or more passenger vehicles. Below, our truck accident lawyers explain why.
Commercial vehicles, particularly 18-wheelers, weigh tens of thousands of pounds — and that’s excluding the weight of their cargo. It isn’t uncommon for big rigs to carry upwards of 80,000 pounds of cargo. When a vehicle this size collides with a passenger vehicle that weighs a fraction of a semi-truck, injuries are often catastrophic.
Additionally, the size and weight of 18-wheelers can make it difficult for truck drivers to stop or slow down. In fact, it can take 18 wheelers the length of almost 2 football fields to stop due to their weight.
2. Dangerous Cargo
As stated previously, 18-wheelers can carry thousands of pounds of cargo. But they also carry dangerous cargo such as heavy, sharp industrial equipment or hazardous chemicals. Any motor vehicle accident involving cargo like this is likely to result in serious injuries. All it takes is windshield penetration from a sharp object or equipment collapsing on top of a small car to result in a wrongful death suit.
3. Blind Spots
All vehicles have blind spots. However, big rig blind spots are much more dangerous because they are located not only on each side of the truck but in the front and very back as well. More blind spots create a greater likelihood of a truck driver sideswiping a passenger car and causing a collision.
4. Truck Driver Error
Many drivers often drive past the speed limit — but it’s usually because they are running late for work or an appointment. Truck drivers, on the other hand, often speed because it affects their bottom line. In other words, many truck drivers are often paid by the mile. The further they can travel in the least amount of time equals more money.
As a result, many truck drivers will do what it takes to get as many miles in as possible, even if it means driving with little sleep or refusing to stop to conduct vehicle maintenance for safety purposes. This behavior also contributes to the increased potential for a trucking accident.
Common Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents
Most semi-truck accidents occur due to:
- Distracted Driving: The most common reason why drivers are distracted nowadays is due to cell phones. But other common distractions include eating while driving, messing with a GPS while driving, driving with headphones in, dancing to loud music while driving, etc. All of these distractions can easily result in tragic trucking accidents.
- Fatigued Driving: It’s no secret that big rig drivers work long hours. Driving all day every day is exhausting. Unfortunately, this fatigue can lead to fatal large truck accidents.
- Drunk Driving: Both truck and passenger drivers could easily cause a semi-truck accident if either of them are intoxicated.
- Inclement Weather Conditions: Heavy rain, snow, ice, or even fog can lead to truck or car accidents. Not only can poor weather cause slippery roads, but it can also impair a driver’s vision, causing them to collide with another vehicle.
- Poor Truck Maintenance can easily lead to equipment failure, such as tire blowouts or brake malfunctions, on the roads.
- Improperly Loaded Cargo: Because 18-wheelers carry thousands of pounds of cargo, it’s crucial for it to be loaded properly and safely. If a truck is overloaded or if its cargo isn’t strapped down well enough, it could fall off the truck and hit passenger cars at high speeds.
Common 18 Wheeler Accident Injuries
Semi-truck accident victims can suffer catastrophic injuries including:
- Back and spinal cord injuries which can lead to paralysis
- Neck injuries such as whiplash and vertebral fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Cuts, scrapes, bruises, and burns
- Internal organ injuries
- Major scarring and disfigurement
- Psychological distress such as PTSD and increased daily anxiety
- Wrongful death
How Are 18 Wheeler Accident Cases More Complicated Than Average Car Accident Cases?
Average car accidents can get complicated at times depending on the severity of injuries, varying insurance policies, negligence, and more. But 18 wheeler accidents are often much more complicated due to the following reasons.
Multiple Parties Involved
Semi-truck accidents are much more complicated than average car accidents because there are so many more parties involved. Not only are all drivers involved, but so are large trucking companies, truck owners, truck driver employers, truck part manufacturers, freight owners, and so much more. So if a driver were to sue a semi-truck driver, they may have to sue all those other parties too.
Big Insurance Policies
Additionally, semi-truck accidents are often complicated because all commercial trucks are backed by big insurance policies with policy limits that are probably far greater than yours. That’s because trucking companies know exactly how dangerous their big rigs are. Naturally, they’ll do everything they can to defend themselves in truck accident cases. If a negligent truck company or driver has to shift the blame to you, offer an incredibly small settlement for your serious injuries, or even deny your truck accident case altogether, they will do so.
Truck Wreck Evidence
Lastly, truck accident cases are much more complicated than regular car crash cases because of the amount of evidence required for a successful case. We all know that obtaining a police report and photographing the accident scene are crucial pieces of evidence. But what many don’t realize is that when you crash into an 18-wheeler, you also have to obtain other evidence, including:
- Truck inspection records,
- Maintenance records,
- A drug screening from the big rig driver,
- Documentation of a truck driver’s service hours,
- The truck driver’s training and qualification files,
- Cargo weight tickets,
- And so much more.
That’s why you need an experienced truck accident lawyer from Janicek Law on your side. We have years of experience in successfully handling the tricks that a trucking company will try to pull on an injured victim. We know how stressful it can be to receive the compensation you deserve from an insurance company. Truck accident attorneys at our law firm will handle all the involved parties while you recover from your personal injury.
Types of Damages for 18 Wheeler Accidents
A semi-truck accident attorney at Janicek Law can help you recover fair compensation for the damages listed below.
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future rehabilitative bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Emotional distress
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
Texas Statute of Limitations for Semi-Truck Accidents
Semi-truck accident victims have 2 years from the date of their accident to file a lawsuit according to Texas law. This tight timeline encourages personal injury victims to file a claim while their evidence (such as police reports, witness statements, pictures of the accident scene, etc.) is still fresh. Victims who wait longer than two years to file a lawsuit against an 18-wheeler driver and the trucking company may have their case dismissed altogether.
Why Injured Parties Should Hire a San Antonio 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer
When it comes to motor vehicle accidents, getting a lawyer to help with the process is vital. But when a semi-truck driver is at fault, hiring a truck accident attorney is more important than ever.
These cases frequently involve commercial entities with significant resources and top-notch insurance companies to fight on their behalf. Your attorney must be able to go toe-to-toe with these entities. At Janicek Law, we know how to do just that. We’ve won multi-million dollar settlements for our clients for over 25 years, and we can do the same for you.