The tractor trailers that has 18 wheels are huge rig trucks can cause serious damage to property and life if involved in an accident. Pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists and car drivers and passengers are at risk of losing life or being permanently disabled. These trucks have larger blind spots and need more time to stop. Carrying heavier cargo in large amounts, these trucks have a higher center of gravity that makes the trucks more likely to turn over. Common causes of accidents of 18 wheelers are tire blowouts, driver error and unsafe loads.
Stats And Figures
Accidents involving 18 wheelers weighing over 10,000 pounds are around half a million every year in the United States. In 2005 about 5,212 of such accidents resulted in fatalities and that figure is ever rising in alarming number. According to study, one out of eight traffic fatalities involve 18 wheeler accidents though these trucks form only 3% of vehicles plying on the roads in United States.
Process To Follow
If you face such an accident you will have to follow certain procedure to take advantages of your rights.
- Firstly, you must protect yourself from any further injuries.
- Secondly, you must call the police and for emergency medical help immediately. If you cannot do these due to your severe injuries call a friend or relative to follow the next processes.
- Thirdly, record and document the details of the surrounding and the cause of the crash.
- Next, take note of the information from the passengers, passersby and onlookers. Note their names and contact details.
- Take lots of photos of the accident scene with your cell phone having camera feature. Make sure that the time and date is adjusted in your phone accordingly.
- Take the details of other vehicles involved including the potential witnesses.
Cooperate In The Investigation
Typically, police and emergency help will arrive in no time in 18 wheeler accident cases. This is due to the fact that roads need to be cleared immediately for restoration of smooth traffic. You must cooperate with the police in the investigation as this police investigation report is an important tool to the accident injury lawyer to prove liability. People from trucking company will never accept liability easily as settlement amount in such incidents can even reach to millions of dollars.
The Liability Factor
As long as you are not at fault, the liability of the liability in an 18 wheeler accident is usually of the driver. However, trucking companies also use defective parts in maintenance of the 18 wheeler and hence the supplier of the defective parts may also be held liable.
Contact The Attorney
Lastly, to protect your rights and to claim compensations, which is very difficult and involves a lot of legalities, you must contact a qualified and established 18 wheeler accident attorney as soon as possible. Though the order of events after the accident will largely depend on the injuries sustained by you, these are the basics that you should follow. The accident attorney will determine whether or not you are eligible to file a personal injury claim lawsuit.