Here’s a sobering fact: tractor-trailer accidents result in nearly 500,000 non-fatal accidents and 4000 fatalities every year. It’s really not surprising that tractor-trailers, which are between 20 and 30 times heavier than average cars, are involved in so many accidents. After all, it’s estimated there are 3.5 million truck drivers in the US alone.
Why Are There So Many Tractor-Trailer Accidents?
Truck drivers must complete a training program and pass knowledge tests to get a CDL, and many employers require even more training before allowing drivers to hit the highway. With so much required training, why are there so many tractor-trailer accidents?
Many truck drivers are fighting fatigue, using caffeine or other stimulants to get them to the next stop. Still, the scheduling is tight and many tractor-trailer drivers are fighting fatigue that makes them drowsy. Truck drivers often operate regardless of their health status, and some may even be operating their rigs under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Distracted driving is always dangerous, and even more so for truck drivers. A fraction of a second’s distraction at the speeds and weights of tractor-trailers can have devastating consequences.
Not Following the Rules of the Road
Speeding, veering over highway lines, driving unsafely in hazardous conditions, and aggressive driving are all major factors in the numbers of tractor-trailer accidents. In addition, the “blind spot” plays a huge part in accidents as truck drivers attempt to change lanes.
Improperly Maintained Vehicles
Improperly maintained vehicles and other faults with the trucks play a part in accidents. In addition, an improperly balanced load, or one that is too heavy, can cause a tractor-trailer to perform poorly even with the most skilled driver behind the wheel.
What to do if You Are Involved in a Tractor-Trailer Accident
While the stakes are higher in an accident, the steps to take following one are the same as with any other vehicle accident.
Safely Move Your Vehicle Out of Traffic if You Can
The first step is to get your vehicle out of the way, if it’s still drivable. A tractor-trailer accident takes up more space on the roadway, and many drivers will try to go around the incident if possible, and their ability to see your car may be hindered by the truck. Safely pull off to the side of the road if possible.
Notify the Authorities
Call the police immediately, and don’t be afraid to call for medical services even if you don’t think you are injured. Many injuries aren’t apparent at the scene of an accident, and emergency services should evaluate you even if you think you are unharmed.
Exchange driver’s information such as license and insurance. Take a picture of the tags of the truck as well.
Find Witnesses if Possible
With a tractor-trailer accident, you are seldom on the road alone. These accidents tend to happen on highly traveled, busy roadways with lots of other drivers. Finding a credible witness or two can help you prove your case.
While this isn’t the time for finger-pointing, you should gather as much evidence as you can. Witness statements, as mentioned above, are important, but so are photos from the scene. Take numerous photographs of the scene, the truck, and your vehicle’s damages.
Call an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Never try to file an insurance claim on your own. These companies exist to find ways to deny claims, and it’s best to leave them to the professionals. A personal injury attorney who specializes in vehicle accident claims is the best way to ensure you get all the post-accident benefits you deserve, such as lost wages, medical bills, and physical or emotional impairments (pain and suffering).
Why Call the Law Offices of Arthur Crum, PA?
Arthur Crum is a leading attorney throughout Western and Central Maryland, and has been recognized for many years as the “attorney’s attorney” for accepting referrals from other law offices for legal counsel following vehicle accidents.
Our objective is to represent all stages of the victim’s case, from the initial consultation to the resolution. We believe in clear and informed representation, keeping in touch with clients every step of the way.
If you’ve been involved in a tractor-trailer accident, it’s not too late to call the Law Offices of Arthur Crum for a free consultation. Contact us now to make sure you make informed choices about your options following the incident.