Plano 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer
Were you in an accident with an 18-wheeler? You’re not alone. 18-wheelers are a common part of life on the highways and interstates around Plano, TX. As the economy grows, 18-wheelers are vital for shipping goods. Tragically, they often cause accidents.
A car accident involving an 18-wheeler is often serious. Injuries and fatalities are frequent, as well as significant vehicle damage. Cars that have been struck by 18-wheelers are likely to be declared a total loss.
If you’re injured by an 18-wheeler, you may require hospitalization. Your injuries may prevent you from returning to work and engaging in hobbies. You may become temporarily or permanently disabled. For some, an accident involving an 18-wheeler ruins their life.
That’s why you deserve compensation for damages after an 18-wheeler accident. If you or someone you love was injured by an 18-wheeler, don’t wait. Call (214) 740-4556 now for legal assistance. Our Plano lawyers can help. Consultations are 100% free.
Statistics About 18-Wheelers and Accidents
The term “18-wheeler” is another name for a semi-truck, also known as a tractor-trailer, big rig, or transport truck. As the term suggests, they usually have 18 wheels, as well as multiple axles and other engineering features designed for hauling heavy cargo.
On average, 18-wheelers are 8.5 feet wide, 13.6 feet tall, and between 70 and 80 feet long from cab to cargo doors. They can weigh up to 80,000, including their load.
As a result of this massive size, 18-wheelers can be deadly in a collision. The impact force of an 18-wheeler is over 24 times stronger than the impact force of a midsize sedan.
The fatality statistics surrounding 18-wheelers prove just how dangerous these vehicles can be. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), over 4,100 people died in accidents involving large trucks like 18-wheelers in 2018.
Additional statistics about 18-wheeler accidents include:
- In a fatal crash, 67% of deaths occurred among drivers or passengers of other vehicles. Only 16% of truckers were killed.
- 11% of all automotive fatalities in 2018 involved a large truck.
- 52% of 18-wheeler accident deaths happened on roads other than highways and interstates. Interstate and highway crashes accounted for 33% of fatalities.
- In accidents where the truck driver was killed, 45% involved the vehicle rolling over.
What Causes 18-Wheeler Accidents?
Many factors contribute to 18-wheeler accidents. Often, some form of driver negligence is the primary cause. In other crashes, the contributing factors were outside the truck operator’s control. 18-wheeler collisions occur frequently as a result of another driver’s actions.
Here are some of the common causes of 18-wheeler crashes:
18-wheelers have large blind spots. On average, the driver cannot see directly in front of their vehicle, behind the cargo trailer, or left and right of the vehicle. The driver’s right side is the biggest blind spot. Beyond their right side view mirror, an 18-wheeler operator cannot see any cars within two lanes.
As a general rule, you can determine a truck’s blind spots by looking for the driver in their mirrors. If you can’t see the driver, the driver can’t see you. Unfortunately, blind spots still cause many 18-wheeler accidents.
Other drivers may linger in these blind spots as they pass. The truck driver can cause an accident when they change lanes or turn and collide with the “hidden” car.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
There are strict rules and testing procedures to prevent truckers from driving under the influence. However, as with any rule, it can be broken. Long-haul driving is a stressful job, so many drivers turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. These substances will dramatically impact their driving ability.
When you’re high or drunk, you become severely impaired. These substances reduce motor control, lower reaction time, and affect judgment. An 18-wheeler driver who is under the influence may cause a fatal crash. Even “buzzed” driving is a recipe for disaster. Truck drivers need to be alert to control their vehicles.
Commercial truckers are legally allowed to drive up to 11 hours straight before taking a break. As anyone who’s ever taken a road trip knows, an 11 hour drive is exhausting. If you’ve been driving for 11 hours every day for several days in a row, you’ll suffer extreme fatigue.
Fatigued driving is just as dangerous as driving drunk. When you’re tired, the signals between your brain and your body slow down. Fatigued drivers can easily lose control of their vehicle and cause an accident. They’re also likely to misjudge distances.
In cases of extreme fatigue, drivers begin “microsleeping.” Microsleeping occurs when your eyes droop involuntarily. You lose consciousness for a few seconds, then jolt back to wakefulness. Although dozing off for a few seconds might not sound as bad as falling asleep behind the wheel, it can be just as deadly.
18-wheeler accidents can also be caused by mechanical issues, bad weather, and spillage of contents. Spillage of contents accidents, also known as fallen cargo accidents, are particularly dangerous for other drivers.
In these situations, the 18-wheeler’s load falls off the truck. It may shatter a car’s windshield and injure or kill someone inside. The spilled contents also cause accidents when other drivers swerve or stop suddenly to avoid hitting them.
What to Do if You’re in an Accident with an 18-Wheeler
If you’re ever in an accident with an 18-wheeler, prioritize your physical safety. Immediately following the accident, check for any injuries among the people in your car. If someone has been hurt, call 911. Don’t try to move them, as this may exacerbate their injuries.
Then, if you can, pull your vehicle to the side of the road or another safe place. Call highway patrol to report the accident. Collect the trucker’s information, including their employer’s information. In some 18-wheeler accidents, the driver’s employer may share liability. Next, take photos and videos to document the crash.
Finally, call (214) 740-4556 to speak with a lawyer. Our Plano law offices are standing by to assist you.