In 2015, 3,852 people died in truck crashes. A majority of the people who died, 69% in fact, were occupants of cars, and not the driver of the truck. On nearly all major highways, including our own I-95, large 18-wheelers dominate the road. Unfortunately, not all of them drive safely. Accidents happen every day.
We can help. As truck accident lawyers, we want you to know how truck accidents occur and what you can do when a truck accident happens. Keep reading for a handy guide on what to do.
Why Truck Accidents Happen
It is easy to misunderstand how big trucks are. Your average car weighs around 4,000 pounds and a semi-truck can weigh up to 88,000 pounds in Florida. This means that a truck is 22 times bigger than your average car.
This size differential has many implications. First, trucks are far less nimble than cars. A car driver may be able to swerve out of the way of an obstacle, but a truck does not always have that option. 18 wheelers need a much longer distance to come to a complete stop than cars do. This distance can be 20-40% longer than it takes a car to stop.
Second, one of the reasons that trucks weigh so much is due to the fact that they are carrying goods. When the items shift, they can cause the driver to swerve, and then compensate for how they move. They may turn into another vehicle, or cause another car to behave erratically.
Finally, truck drivers work long hours. There are federal laws regarding how many hours someone can drive, but due to tight deadlines, these rules are ignored. As many as 1 in 4 drivers admitted to having fallen asleep while operating their vehicle. Fatigue is a major factor in truck accidents.
Other problems may include mechanical failure, objects on the highway, or poor road conditions. Trucks tend to do poorly on narrow roads or on steep inclines.
There are steps you can take to avoid truck crashes. It may be a good idea to give trucks a wide berth. This includes maintaining a solid distance behind and in front of them, as well to the sides. If you must pass a semi, it may prove to be a good idea to do it as quickly as possible.
When the road conditions are poor, give trucks as much space as possible. While it is unlikely that we will see snow or ice in Florida, rain is a certainty. You can never be too careful around trucks in the rain. Remember, you are less than 5% of their size.
What to Do after a Truck Accident
In many cases, truck accidents are far more dangerous than typical car accidents. The vehicles are larger, and typically going faster. Due to these facts, it is absolutely imperative that you call an ambulance as soon as you can. Try to make sure that the other driver is ok.
If you have been seriously hurt, you should try not to move as much as possible. At highway speeds, spine and neck damage is a serious risk.
Second, call the police. When they come, be as honest as you can be. Your adrenaline may be flowing, but you should tell the officer your story. If you can, try to get contact information for the police officer. You will need the report of the accident for insurance purposes.
Then, you should try to get the contact info for the truck driver. You will need the truck driver’s information. In addition, you should try and figure out who the truck driver is working for. This matters because this is who you will be dealing with when it comes to settlements and lawsuits.
Hire a Lawyer
Dealing with laws, insurance agents, and large trucking companies can be overwhelming. A lawyer can help. Having an attorney on your side means that you have peace of mind. The sooner you call a lawyer, the stronger your case will be. A good lawyer knows what evidence to collect and use, and how to effectively prove your case.
If you have been in a truck accident, contact Joseph Dawson. He is an experienced, personable, and aggressive lawyer who can fight for you today. The attorneys of the Dawson Law Firm have the expertise and resources you need to get the best deal for you. Call us at (954) 467-2100 .