Accidents involving 18 wheeler trucks often result in serious, lifelong injuries to the other vehicle’s occupants. Seeking compensation for these injuries also involves highly complex legal issues.
An experienced truck accident attorney can help you pursue fair and full compensation for the damages you suffered so that you can focus on recovery and healing.
Las Vegas Truck Accident Statistics
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration reported that, in 2017, 4,761 people were killed in accidents involving large trucks. Additionally, 72 percent of fatalities in 18 wheeler accidents were occupants of the other vehicle. Only 18 percent of fatalities were occupants of the large truck.
In Nevada, 37 fatalities resulted from accidents involving large trucks in 2017.
In Las Vegas’s Clark County, 18 people died in truck accidents in 2017. Nine people died in 2018.
Common Injuries We See in 18 Wheeler Accidents
Injuries involved in truck accidents are often severe.
Common injuries that result from 18 wheeler accidents include:
- Severe whiplash or soft tissue damage,
- Internal bleeding,
- Internal organ damage,
- Amputation and disfigurement,
- Traumatic brain injuries,
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis,
- Broken bones,
- Torn muscles and ligaments, and
- Deep cuts and lacerations.
For those involved in an accident with a large truck, recovering from the injuries that result can take years. Many victims suffer permanent injuries that require a lifetime of medical care and rehabilitation.
How 18 Wheeler Accidents Differ from Car Accidents
Truck and 18 wheeler accidents are not like an ordinary car accident.
Commercial trucks are much larger than passenger vehicles. Eighteen wheelers can weigh up to 25 times more than a typical car.
For cars involved in 18 wheeler accidents, the result is often devastating for the passenger vehicle.
Many differences in truck accident cases stem from this significant potential for harm.
Federal and State Regulations
Federal and state regulations govern various aspects of large truck operation and maintenance.
Several important trucking regulations include the following.
Hours of service rules
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets limits on the number of hours a truck driver can operate a truck.
The hours of service regulations attempt to prevent accidents caused by driver fatigue.
Fatigued drivers are more likely to put other drivers in danger by falling asleep at the wheel or losing concentration.
Size and weight restrictions
FMCSA also sets maximum weight limits for large trucks that travel on interstate highways. The weight limit for commercial trucks is 80,000 pounds. Violating this weight restriction puts the driver at risk of losing control of the truck. Drivers also have more difficulty slowing or stopping heavier vehicles when traffic changes.
Cargo must be adequately secured within the truck with adequate restraints.
Cargo often weighs tens of thousands of pounds. When cargo is loose or becomes suddenly unsecured, the driver is more likely to lose control of the vehicle.
For example, rollover and jackknife accidents are often caused by improperly loaded cargo.
Motorists caught in the path of a sliding 18 wheeler can be seriously injured or killed.
Higher Damages and Costs
Because truck accidents result in serious injuries, the damages and costs incurred will be substantial.
These damages and costs can include:
- Cost of current and future medical treatment,
- Lost wages from the time you could not work,
- Loss of future income if you cannot return to work,
- Rehabilitation expenses,
- Medical equipment costs,
- Home modifications, and
- Emotional distress, disfigurement, and pain and suffering.
The costs associated with a truck accident can be hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Insurance Coverage in 18 Wheeler Accidents
Compared to passenger vehicle accidents, 18 wheeler accidents cause more damage to people and property.
Insurance companies provide more coverage for large trucks because of this potential for many expensive claims.
This means that more money is at stake for the company that insures commercial vehicles.
Because the insurance company stands to lose a lot of money in truck accident cases, the adjusters work hard to avoid paying the claims.
This can translate to manipulative tactics to persuade victims to accept a settlement that is not adequate.
The insurance company might also dispute liability or shift blame.
Sometimes, the insurance company may refuse to negotiate or pay out a claim.
Truck accident attorneys are skilled negotiators and know how to push insurance adjusters to offer a fair settlement.
Determining Responsibility for the Accident
Many parties might cause a truck accident. Potential at-fault parties include the:
- Truck driver,
- Truck driver’s employer,
- Truck owner,
- Maintenance and repair company,
- Manufacturer of the truck or truck parts,
- Company responsible for loading cargo, and
- Cargo manufacturing company.
It is often difficult to determine which party is at fault in a truck accident case because multiple parties may have played a role in causing the accident.
For example, a truck driver and the driver’s employer may share responsibility if the driver operated the truck fatigued at the employer’s demand.
Proving fault in a truck accident case typically requires an extensive investigation into the events leading up to the accident.
How Henness & Haight Can Help
Conduct an Investigation
Truck accident cases typically require an in-depth investigation into the cause of the accident. We thoroughly investigate the accident.
This investigation may include:
- Reviewing the truck driver’s log to determine if the driver violated federal or state regulations;
- Analyzing weight tickets, delivery documents, and driver instructions for violations;
- Checking maintenance records for faulty repairs;
- Interviewing witnesses; and
- Consulting with medical professionals about the scope and severity of your injuries.
Our attorneys also gather key evidence to support your claim for recovery, including:
- Medical records,
- Police and accident reports,
- Video or surveillance footage,
- Photographs of the accident, and
- Eyewitness statements.
Truck accident investigations are often complex. An experienced truck accident attorney will know how to investigate your accident, ensure evidence is preserved, and build your best case.
Determine the Best Legal Strategy
Where a quick settlement is possible, your case may be well-suited for mediation or arbitration.
When an agreement is not possible, your case may need to proceed to trial. A seasoned lawyer will know the best way to pursue your claim.
Our lawyers can engage in settlement negotiations or prepare your case for litigation if needed.
Communicate and Negotiate with Insurance Companies
Insurance adjusters use various tactics to avoid paying fair settlements to accident victims.
Having a lawyer communicate with the insurance company on your behalf can ensure that the adjuster will negotiate fairly.
Contact an Attorney Experienced in 18 Wheeler Accidents at Henness & Haight Injury Law
If you have been injured in an 18 wheeler accident, a truck accident lawyer can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
At Henness & Haight Injury Law, we have extensive experience representing clients in 18 wheeler accidents. Our attorneys have recovered tens of millions of dollars for truck accident victims.
Call us at 702-805-HELP or complete a free case evaluation form online.