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The U.S. depends on a constant flow of big tractor trailer trucks to ship goods across its sprawling network of highways and interstates. All of this activity keeps the U.S. economy going, but it also creates the risk of violent tractor trailer accidents on any given day.
Any time you are involved in a tractor trailer accident, there is the potential that you could be seriously hurt or that someone close to you could have been killed. If you are experiencing financial losses and mental suffering after your car accident, you have a strong motivation to get in touch with an experienced tractor trailer accident lawyer. They can help you document all of your losses and seek the maximum amount of compensation from all at-fault parties.
Auger & Auger has 25-plus years of experience helping victims of tractor trailer accidents seek the compensation they need to move on with their lives. Call us today at 855-969-5624 or contact us online to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with one of our tractor trailer injury lawyers.
A “tractor trailer” is a way to refer to a large truck configuration that consists of a heavy duty cab and a long trailer hitched to it. It is one of the most common modes of freight used to haul goods and other essential items throughout the country.
There are over 27.5 million registered trailers total in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. That includes 11.7 million registered commercial trailers, the kind commonly seen on semi trucks and various big rig setups.
Separate statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reveal that in 2017 around 121,000 tractor trailers and other large commercial vehicles were involved in injury-causing accidents that hurt around 170,000 people.
Tractor trailers can be more dangerous in accidents for a number of reasons. Their primary risk factor is their size and girth. A tractor trailer combination can be 60 feet long. With multiple trailers, it can be even longer! The typical maximum allowed weight for a fully loaded tractor and trailer combined is 80,000 pounds.
The size and weight of a tractor trailer makes them harder to maneuver through traffic. They can have large blind spots. Most importantly, they take much longer to stop compared to the average passenger vehicle. Going from 65 mph to a full stop can take the length of two football fields. If something happens that causes the truck driver to slam on their brakes, they might not have enough of a distance to be able to safely stop in time.
The size and weight of a tractor trailer can also make anyone caught up in an accident more likely to sustain major injuries.
Tractor trailer accidents can cause any number of catastrophic injuries. Many of these injuries will require emergency treatment, and they can take months to fully heal. During that time, truck accident victims may miss work, and they may end up paying extra for services like cooking, cleaning, or other services that they would normally perform themselves.
All of these accident-related losses are referred to as “damages.” There are two main categories of damages, “special damages,” which have a specific dollar amount attached to them, and “general damages,” which relate to pain and suffering and other subjective losses that can be hard to quantify.
Common damages claimed after a tractor trailer accident include:
Deadly collisions with tractor trailers are all too common. In 2017, the NHTSA recorded 4,455 fatal accidents with large trucks and other commercial vehicles. These accidents led to 4,889 deaths.
When a tractor trailer accident leads to someone’s unfortunate passing, then their surviving family members will typically have the option to file a wrongful death claim against all negligent parties. A wrongful death claim acts similarly to a personal injury claim, except that it compensates family members for their own personal losses.
Common damages awarded for a tractor trailer accident wrongful death case include:
The ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit or claim depends on your relationship to the departed. Laws on who can file a suit will vary between states. For example, Georgia allows surviving parents of the deceased to file a wrongful death lawsuit if no surviving spouse or child is able to do so first (O.C.G.A. §51-4-2). Some states even allow for surviving siblings to file a suit.
Additionally, people who have been appointed as the official representative of the deceased’s estate may be able to file a “survival action” claim for all of the deceased’s accident losses. These losses include all of the personal injury losses listed above as well as any other incidental costs to the person’s estate.
In order to file a claim or lawsuit against someone after your tractor trailer truck collision, you will need to be prepared to prove that the defendant was negligent. “Negligent,” in the legal sense, means that the collision was the result of a careless action or a failure to follow laws and regulations.
After a truck accident, any number of parties could be seen as having made negligent actions that contributed to the accident circumstances. This may include:
Because there may be multiple parties at fault and because insurers representing high-powered carrier companies will fight claims to the best of their ability, it can benefit accident victims to have an experienced tractor trailer accident attorney on their side.
Your attorney will help you identify all potentially at-fault parties, file a claim, and back up your claim with evidence of the party’s negligence. They will also help you calculate the full value of your accident losses.
To answer your legal questions and potentially start the process of filing your claim, you can get in touch with a tractor trailer truck accident lawyer from Auger & Auger for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Call 855-969-5624 or contact us online to schedule your free appointment now.