A serious accident can happen to anyone at any time. This past summer, a sedan driving along Alabama 79 in northeast Birmingham collided with a flatbed 18-wheeler and caught fire, resulting in immediate death for the passenger of the car. Collisions between cars and tractor trailer trucks often result in serious or fatal crashes. Statistics compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicate that fatal accidents on U.S. roads involving large trucks increased by 8.7 percent from 2010 to 2011 while all other kinds of vehicle accident fatalities decreased.
If you are involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, beware. Major trucking carriers have dedicated insurance adjusters whose main objective is to protect drivers and their employers from large injury lawsuits. One of their tactics is to show up on the scene of an accident or shortly thereafter and make on-the-spot settlement offers to injury victims. Trucking company lawyers and their insurance adjusters count on the victims’ lack of understanding regarding how much injuries may cost over time and the victims’ worries over short-term medical bills. Do not fall for these tactics. Once you have accepted such an offer, you may not reopen your claim. Check with a lawyer before signing anything after an accident.
Truck accident cases are often far more complex than those involving only passenger vehicles, so it is important to involve an attorney. There may be several parties liable for the accident:
- The truck driver
- The driver’s employer
- The owner of the truck
- The manufacturer of the truck or of any of its parts (including the wheels)
- The company responsible for maintaining the truck
A loading company may be found primarily responsible for the accident if improperly secured cargo shifted during transit and fell into the road damaging other vehicles or causing the entire truck to fall off balance.
Although a car is no match for a big commercial truck on the road, this is not the case in court — that is, if you hire an experienced lawyer with knowledge of the trucking industry. Call our office today for a consultation.