An 18-wheeler accident is difficult to imagine, much less live through. Despite a large number of 18-wheelers, also known as big rigs, on our roads and highways, nobody really expects to be involved in an accident with one. Nevertheless, motorists continue to share roads throughout the country with these massive vehicles. The effects of an 18-wheeler accident are devastating. 18-wheelers are often 20-30 times the size and weight of other vehicles on the road and have the ability to tear through cars, trucks, and SUVs, leaving behind death and debris.
Most people wouldn’t be surprised to learn that 18-wheelers don’t stop as quickly as ordinary vehicles, or that 18-wheeler drivers usually cannot respond to sudden traffic changes as nimbly as drivers of cars, trucks, and SUVs. Most people know that commercial trucks are involved in a disproportionate number of serious and fatal accidents. But people may be startled to learn the actual figures—eleven percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths were the result of large trucks, including 18-wheelers, and ninety-seven percent of the people killed in crashes between a passenger vehicle and large truck were occupants of the passenger vehicle.
Why Do These 18-Wheeler Accidents Happen
There is no definitive list of every single cause for 18-wheeler accidents, but trucking companies and drivers often push too hard for too long. Unfortunately, when a driver gets tired, cuts corners on maintenance or improperly loads his trailer, accidents can happen. Other common causes of truck accidents include:
- Drug use;
- Driver intoxication;
- Poor driver training and little experience; and
- Driving in dangerous weather.
What To Do If You’re Involved in an 18-Wheeler Accident
Every situation is different, but here are a few things you should do if you are involved in a car accident with an 18-wheeler:
- Make sure that you and your family, or other occupants of your vehicle are safe. If you think you’ve suffered any type of injury, you should always get medical attention. That includes taking the ambulance to the emergency room, so that any serious injuries can be treated, or ruled out. Following an accident with an 18 wheeler, you should immediately call 911 and request an ambulance respond to the scene so you can determine the extent of your injuries (if any)
- Get the driver’s and his employer’s or trucking company’s information.
- Get a copy of the driver’s license, registration, and insurance.
- Talk with witnesses, record them (if they let you), and get their contact information. Take photographs and record videos of your car and the scene. This evidence is crucial—trucking companies and their insurance carriers typically report to the scene of an accident immediately. Strangely, witness memory and evidence have a tendency to disappear.
- If you have a dashcam, save the video—don’t let it get recorded over.
- Do not talk to the insurance company at all before you talk to an attorney and get a consultation on your case.
Morrow & Sheppard LLP’s 18-wheeler accident attorneys and regularly handle cases involving commercial vehicle crashes. Our attorneys are licensed in Texas, Louisiana, and New Mexico and have been admitted on a temporary basis to handle work injury cases all around the country.
If you have been injured in an 18-wheeler crash, contact the team at Morrow & Sheppard LLP for a free, confidential consultation.