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How Many Truck Accidents Happen a Year?
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the lead agency within the federal government that regulates the safety of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). According to FMCSA, there are about 500,000 police-reported trucking accidents per year.
Of the estimated half-million trucking accidents that occurred in 2019:
- 1% were fatal crashes
- 29% involved injuries
- 22% of injury-involved crashes – and 36% of fatalities – happened at night
- 62% of all fatal trucking accidents involved two vehicles
Fatal trucking accidents are most likely to occur on interstate highways or in rural areas. Additionally, when trucking accidents occur, passengers in non-truck vehicles are 6 to 10 times more likely to suffer injuries than truck passengers.
How Do Truck Accidents Happen?
Trucking accidents can happen for many reasons, but they are often caused by the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver failing to comply with federal safety standards.
Some common reasons trucking accidents happen are:
- Distracted driving
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failing to properly maintain tires, brakes, and other truck parts
- Following too closely
- Inadequate surveillance
- Overloading trucks
- Trucker fatigue or drowsiness
- Unfamiliar roadways
- Unqualified or untrained truckers
Additionally, some trucking companies design pay structures that lead to dangerous driving. Drivers may be encouraged by their employers to cut corners to stay on schedule and budget.
This is an example of the trucking industry putting profits ahead of people, endangering other drivers on the road and their own employees.
What Is a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Truck accident injury attorneys file personal injury lawsuits on behalf of people injured in trucking accidents. Through a truck accident lawsuit, victims can seek compensation for their injuries.
Truck accident lawyers handle cases involving different types of CMVs, such as:
- Big rigs (semis, tractor-trailers, or 18-wheelers)
- Box trucks (single-unit trucks or straight trucks)
- Cargo vans
- City, coach, or school buses
- Delivery vans
- Dump trucks
- Taxis or rideshare cars
These CMVs are often protected by layers of insurance. Unfortunately for accident victims, insurance companies work hard to avoid paying out claims. A common tactic is to convince people to settle, tempting victims with a quick payout that is far less money than they deserve.
Truck accident lawyers help victims fight powerful insurance companies to ensure they are compensated fairly. A truck accident lawyer is experienced in working with insurance companies and can use the same aggressive tactics to negotiate the maximum amount of money for their clients.
With a commercial truck accident lawyer working for you, you won’t need to talk directly with insurance companies, investigators, or adjusters. Avoiding these stressful situations allows victims to focus on healing and getting their lives back on track as quickly as possible.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
After conducting a free consultation to see if you qualify for legal action, a commercial truck accident lawyer will handle every aspect of your case. This includes determining liability, collecting evidence, filing your lawsuit, and fighting to get you the money you deserve.
It’s important to note that truck accident lawyers charge no upfront or out-of-pocket fees. They work on a contingency basis, which means they only get paid if and when they successfully resolve the case.
Determining Liability in Trucking Accidents
Determining liability in trucking accidents can be challenging. Truck wrecks can happen for many reasons, some of which are unavoidable. In some cases, it is the driver’s fault in a passenger vehicle. In other instances, passenger vehicles can do nothing to prevent a truck accident.
Common causes of trucking accidents are:
- Being in the way when a truck makes a right turn
- Changing lanes carelessly
- Making a left turn in front of a truck
- Merging into traffic improperly
- Passing in an unsafe manner
- Rollovers or jackknife accidents
Determining liability in truck crashes is the backbone of building a solid case. A respectable commercial truck accident law firm has the case history necessary to identify who was most likely responsible in a large truck crash.
Collecting Truck Accident Evidence
Evidence is one of the most essential elements of a truck accident case. Once the liable parties are identified, a truck accident lawyer will work with you to collect this critical evidence.
Truck accident evidence may include:
- Data from the truck’s communication system
- Expert testimony
- Eyewitness interviews
- Medical records and bills
- Photos or videos of the scene of the accident and road conditions
- Police reports
A truck accident lawyer will also compile any expenses related to the truck accident and document any losses you suffered, such as lost wages due to injuries.
Filing a Trucking Accident Claim
Once liability is determined and enough evidence is gathered, a truck accident lawyer will file a claim with the defendant’s insurance company.
This is usually done through what is called a demand letter. This document explains the details of the trucking accident, makes a claim about who was at fault, and states who should pay the injured party.
A demand letter generally includes the extent of injuries and the monetary damages that they caused. Depending on the laws in the state where the trucking accident occurred, pain and suffering may also be factored in.
Negotiating a Truck Accident Settlement
Once the insurance company or lawyers who represent the defendant respond to the demand, a truck accident lawyer works with their client to determine the best next steps.
In many cases, the truck’s insurance company will offer a settlement. With the experience that comes in handling similar cases, a skilled commercial truck accident lawyer will negotiate the settlement for the maximum amount.
If the amount being proposed is not enough, a truck accident lawyer may advise you to take your case to trial through a truck accident lawsuit.
Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident?
One factor that makes truck accident cases a bit more complicated is that determining liability is not always straightforward. In many cases, there could be more than one responsible party.
Parties liable in a truck accident could be:
- Government entities
- Insurance companies
- Manufacturer of the truck
- Other motorists
- Shipping company that loaded cargo
- Trucking company
Due to the complexity involved in determining liability, hiring a truck accident lawyer is often the easiest and most efficient option.
What Should I Do After a Truck Accident?
Many people who have had accidents involving CMVs are left wondering what to do after a truck accident.
The most important thing to do is seek medical care. Even if you think you were not injured, it is essential to seek medical attention to determine potential injuries. Sometimes, adrenaline or shock can mask injuries immediately after an accident.
While you are at the trucking accident scene, if you are safely able to do so, you should document as much as possible.
Use your phone to take pictures or videos of the following:
- Accident scene, including any road signs nearby
- Road conditions
- Surrounding traffic
- Truck’s license plate
- Weather conditions
Recreating these kinds of factors is difficult to do once the conditions have changed. It is therefore critically important to get as much documented at the scene as possible.
Let your insurance company know of the trucking accident, but do not accept any settlement offers before you consult with a truck accident attorney who can help you figure out your best course of action.
Do Semi Truck Lawsuits Go to Trial?
Most trucking accident cases are settled before they ever reach the trial stage. While investigating your case, your lawyer will determine how much you are owed and negotiate on your behalf.
However, if the amount being proposed in a settlement agreement is not adequate, your case may go to trial, where it will be argued in court before a judge or jury who will make a decision.
Even if you are certain you are not at fault, you should still not handle your truck accident claim on your own. A truck accident lawyer can level the playing field between you and powerful insurance companies that are trained to take advantage of accident victims.
Do not battle insurance companies on your own. A truck accident lawyer has the knowledge and experience needed to get you the compensation you deserve.
What Can I Recover From a Truck Accident Settlement?
Since so many unique details are involved in truck accident cases, there is not a specific amount of money you can expect to recover.
Some factors involved in the amount of a truck accident settlement are:
- Economic damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages
- Extent of disability caused (temporary or permanent)
- Insurance policies of the parties involved
- Noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Punitive damages (sometimes awarded for gross negligence)
- Severity of injuries
- State laws where the accident occurred
- Who the defendants are
- Wrongful death
Because of the complexity of these cases, a skilled truck accident lawyer is likely needed to calculate the specific amount you are owed. Some of these lawsuits result in hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for the plaintiffs.
Who Are the Best Truck Accident Lawyers?
The best truck accident lawyers are attorneys who have proven success handling truck accident claims. This is because truck accident cases are often more complex than car accident cases.
There could be multiple defendants, including truck manufacturers or even government entities. Lawyers with experience will be able to determine who is responsible for the truck accident and get you the compensation you deserve.
We can connect you to lawyers who have:
- Access to extensive resources
- Experience handling truck accident cases
- A history of winning results for clients
- Nationwide availability
- No upfront legal fees
Contact us for a free, no-obligation case review to see if you qualify for a lawsuit.