Collisions involving large trucks are some of the most serious traffic-related incidents across the U.S., and data prepared by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is proof of this claim. 18-wheeler accident statistics show that there was a total of 2,306 of these crashes, 45 of which were fatal. Many who survived the 822 injury-causing incidents may still be recovering after suffering serious bodily harm. If you were injured under such circumstances, it?s important to reach out to a Roanoke semi-truck accident lawyer regarding your rights.
Virginia laws protect victims of motor vehicle collisions, and large truck crashes are no different. However, there are more complicated legal issues at stake, which is why it?s important to retain an experienced Roanoke truck accident lawyer to represent your interests. You may be entitled to compensation, so please contact our team at Lugar Law PC at (540) 384-0348 to learn more about your options.
Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents
The above statistics are interesting, because they show the frequency of semi-truck accidents, but they also reveal some of the causes and contributing factors to these crashes. Some issues are unique to large trucks and their drivers, while others apply to any motorized vehicle crash.
- Seventeen of all semi-truck accident fatalities occurred on interstates, which is not surprising considering that large truck traffic is heavy on these roadways.
- Of the 330 victims who were hurt in truck collisions, 62 were seriously injured, which means that they sustained the loss of function in a body system, amputation, broken bone, or other severe harm.
According to DMV data, the top causes of 18-wheeler accidents include improper lane change, following too closely, failure to yield, and speeding. However, 19.1 percent of all crashes were the result of ?other? actions. For instance, operators and other responsible parties may:
- Take curves too quickly with a fully loaded trailer
- Drive too fast for road or weather conditions
- Fail to properly inspect or maintain the truck?s tractor or trailer
- Not take proper precautions when loading cargo
- Drive while drunk or under the influence of a controlled substance
- Fail to comply with rules regarding Hours of Service
- Violate laws regarding the transportation of hazardous substances
- Infringe rules regarding cargo weight
Negligence in Semi-truck Crashes
Regardless of the exact causes, the majority of large truck collisions are a result of negligence. This word is often used interchangeably with carelessness and recklessness, but it?s a specific legal concept. You must prove certain facts to succeed in a claim for compensation, and a semi-truck accident lawyer can help. The elements of a negligence claim include:
- Proof that the truck?s operator had a duty to exercise reasonable care while driving
- Evidence showing that the driver breached this legal duty
- A causal connection between the breach of duty and the truck accident that caused your injuries
- Information regarding the losses you sustained in the 18-wheeler accident
As a semi-truck accident victim, you may be able to recover monetary damages as compensation for your losses. One type of compensation is economic damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages. Your attorney may use medical records regarding treatment and prior paychecks to prove these losses.
Non-economic damages, including pain, suffering, emotional distress, and related losses, are slightly more complicated. There are challenges because these aren?t out-of-pocket expenses or costs represented by receipts. Still, you endured hardship. An 18-wheeler accident lawyer can assist in recovering these losses by retaining the assistance of medical providers, financial analysts, accident reconstruction professionals, and other experts.
Complicated Legal Issues in 18-Wheeler Collisions
Negligence may be at the core of a claim for semi-truck injuries, but some challenges make these matters more complex. A skilled semi-truck accident lawyer will take on the burdens in advocating on your behalf when the following is brought up in your case:
The size and weight of an 18-wheeler are immense compared to a passenger vehicle, which means far more serious types of injuries in a semi-truck accident. Catastrophic injuries may affect entire body systems or leave you paralyzed. Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are common. As a whole, your claim for damages could be much more than crashes involving two cars.
Higher Insurance Coverage
?Because of the potential for catastrophic injuries in a large truck accident, there are laws requiring operators to carry higher insurance coverage. These policies could run into the millions, especially for trucks hauling hazardous materials. There?s a lot of risk for the insurers, so companies assign their best, most experienced employees to 18-wheeler crashes. The claims adjuster will take advantage of every opportunity to protect the insurance company?s interests, not yours.
Multiple Potential Parties?
Trucking is a commercial enterprise, so there may be many other individuals and entities beyond the driver at the wheel of the vehicle. Besides the insurer and operator, you could be dealing with:
- The driver?s employer
- A separate trucking company
- Other individuals or partners that have an ownership interest in the 18-wheeler
- A warehousing company or other entity that loaded the cargo
- An inspection crew that failed to identify issues with the truck, trailer, or cargo
- The manufacturer of a defective truck part or component
Rely on a Roanoke Semi-truck Accident Attorney to Assist You
For more information about your rights after being injured in an accident with an 18-wheeler, please contact Lugar Law PC to set up a free case evaluation. Our semi-truck accident lawyers can tell you more about how these cases work, and help you file an insurance claim. We?re also prepared to take the matter to court as necessary to protect your interests. Contact us today or call (540) 384-0348 to learn more.