I Was Injured In An Accident With An 18-wheeler – Can I Sue?

About Trucking Accidents

Around 5,000 Americans are killed every year in truck accidents, while over 150,000 serious personal, burn and brain injuries are sustained as a result of 18 wheeler accidents.

While any vehicle accident can be serious, ones involving an 18 wheeler truck are often the most dangerous. The legal weight for an 18 wheeler in the U.S. is currently 80,000 lbs or 40 tons without overweight permits. The average car weighs around 5000 lbs. A truck weighing around 40 tons can cause a tremendous amount of damage and personal injury.

18 wheeler accidents are undoubtedly extremely dangerous. 75% of fatal 18 wheeler accidents involve collisions with other vehicles.

There are many factors that can contribute to 18 wheeler accidents including:

  • Driver error
  • Defective tires
  • Driver fatigue
  • Brake failure, defective brakes or overheated brakes
  • Mechanical malfunctions
  • Poor Safety Measures

18 wheeler accidents can also occur if loose cargo is unstable causing the driver to lose control of the truck.

The economic incentives in the trucking industry also weigh in on the problem. The 18 wheeler driver might not have undergone proper training, or he or she could be driving under the influence or without sleep.

Incentives in the trucking industry often make it tempting for drivers to skip sleep so they can make more deliveries. Since federal and state regulations regarding the time 18 wheeler drivers can operate the truck do exist, these 18 wheeler accidents can be much more complex than standard car wreck cases. This is why it is necessary to hire a 18 wheeler accidents lawyer with expertise in the field.

Hours-Of-Service (HOS) Rules

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has addressed this safety issue by revising the HOS. The HOS safety requirements for commercial truck drivers ensure that they will get the rest needed in order to prevent fatigue-related mistakes and hopefully, save lives.

Under the old standards, commercial rig drivers were allowed to work up to 82 hours within a seven-day period. The new rule limits the hours to only 70 within the same time period. Also truck drivers are to take a break of at least 30 minutes after working eight hours. The existing 11 hour daily driving limit remains unchanged.

The final rule also allows drivers to use the “34-hour restart” provision only once during any seven-day period. This allows them to restart the clock on their work week if they are off duty for at least 34 consecutive hours.

Big rig crashes can cause more severe injuries than other vehicles. Companies and drivers that do not comply with the HOS requirements will be held accountable for any damage and injury caused as a result of non-compliance.

Commercial truck accidents are the most serious of all vehicular accidents often causing life-threatening injuries or death,” said Attorney Miller, owner of D. Miller & Associates, PLLC, “and while certain factors are beyond the driver’s control, such as weather and road conditions, driver fatigue is preventable. An eighteen-wheeler can become a deadly rig if the driver is overtired.

At D. Miller Law we have years of experience dealing with the many complicated legal issues surrounding 18 wheeler accident claims. Because of the rules and regulations surrounding the trucking industry, the resulting lawsuits often differ from standard car accident cases. Hiring an experienced lawyer is key, since 18 wheeler accidents can involve corporate interests and even federal regulations.

Do not delay if you have been involved in an accident. There may be a time limit to file your claim and you do not need to face the insurance adjusters alone. Let our experienced team work for your behalf. Please call or fill out the form on this page now to begin your free consultation.