Those involved in a truck accident are often left severely injured with injuries that can alter their lives forever. A large commercial truck can weigh 80,000 fully loaded while a passenger vehicle weighs between 2,500 and 4,000 pounds. This significant difference in size usually means those in the passenger vehicle are left with injuries that can be catastrophic. Because of this, having a Mechanicsville truck accident attorney by your side can make a difference in the outcome of your truck accident.
At Tronfeld, West & Durrett, we understand what a difference having an advocate in your corner. As such, our goal is to always be that advocate, ready to help you through this difficult time in the best way possible. We will deal with the insurance company, working hard to ensure you receive an equitable settlement to help you move forward in your life. We will ensure you receive the medical treatment you need and that you are compensated for lost wages so that you don’t have to worry about unpaid monthly bills.
How Common Are Truck Accidents?
According to the IIHS, most deaths that occur in large truck crashes are among those in smaller passenger vehicles. A fully-loaded semi-truck can weigh from 20-30 times as much as a passenger vehicle. Additionally, the truck is much taller, with greater ground clearance, which can cause a smaller vehicle to run under the trailer, shearing away the top of the passenger vehicle. In 2019, a total of 4,119 people died in semi-truck accidents. While only 16 percent of the fatalities occurred among those in the commercial truck, 67 percent of the fatalities occurred among those in passenger vehicles.
Another 15 percent of those who died in truck accidents were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists. There has been a 31 percent overall increase in the number of truck crash fatalities in the decade between 2009 and 2019. Since about 70 percent of all products in the United States reach their destination via a commercial truck, there will continue to be more and more trucks on the roadways. As many as 130,000 people each year suffer serious injury following a truck accident; since hazardous cargo is present in 4 percent of all truck accident fatalities, truck drivers must be consistently well-trained and vetted.
Can Aggressive Driving Cause a Mechanicsville, VA Truck Accident?
Aggressive driving can be deadly, particularly when the aggressive driver is driving an 80,000- pound vehicle. Although the trucking industry is heavily regulated, with truck drivers not allowed to drive more than a certain number of hours on any given day, truck drivers may sidestep these rules and regulations since they are only paid when they are diving. Logbooks may be “modified” in order to deliver loads quicker. The pressure to get loads delivered quickly can result in drivers who drive faster than they should or disobey other rules of the road. Some forms of aggressive driving include:
- Excessive speeding
- Weaving in and out of traffic on Interstates
- Aggressive braking
- Refusal to yield the right-of-way
- Running stoplights or stop signs
While such aggressive driving behaviors can be dangerous in a regular vehicle, in a commercial truck the potential adverse consequences increase exponentially. Due to the size and weight of a commercial truck, it can take a significant amount of time for the truck to come to a stop. This can result in the truck rear-ending the vehicle in front of them. It is also important for all drivers of passenger vehicles to ensure the truck driver can see them. A rule of thumb is that if you cannot see the driver in their side mirror, they probably can’t see you.
Factors Involved in a Mechanicsville, VA Truck Accident
The most common factors in a truck accident are fatigued truck drivers, distracted drivers, roadway hazards, reckless or aggressive driving, excessive speed, and brake or tire issues. There is another issue known as “swinging turns” that can potentially cause a truck accident. Large commercial trucks require a much wider area to turn right or left at intersections. Because of the blind spots in large trucks, when the driver is making a wide, swinging turn, he or she is unable to see the vehicles directly to the side or behind. This means that drivers of passenger vehicles must be aware of the wide turns and take precautions to avoid a serious accident.
Thus, when a large commercial truck is turning to the right, drivers should never attempt to pass the truck on the right and vice-versa on the left side. Extra space is needed for the 18-wheeler to safely maneuver the truck and make the turn. Certain streets are particularly narrow, making it even more difficult for the driver to make a turn without swinging out wide in the opposite direction. Many times, smaller passenger vehicles are trapped between the truck and curb and can end up sideswiped or crushed.
What Should I Do Immediately Following a Mechanicsville Truck Accident?
If you suffered injury from a trucking accident, it’s important that you contact a highly experienced Mechanicsville, VA truck accident attorney immediately. This allows your attorney the necessary time to gather the information. In turn, this helps protect your rights, allowing your attorney to obtain the compensation you are entitled to receive. Of course, you must first seek appropriate medical care in order to minimize the long-term effects of your injuries. It is important that you are thoroughly checked out by a medical professional, even if you think you are not badly hurt. If you are able, while at the scene of the accident, take photos of both vehicles as well as the surrounding areas.
Once an accident has occurred, critical evidence may be removed, taking away evidence that could have proven fault in the accident. It is extremely important that you not speak with anyone, particularly the trucking company’s insurance carrier prior to discussing your accident with a knowledgeable truck accident attorney. Once you are home, jot down every single detail you remember about the accident. Memories can fade quickly, so ensure the details of your truck accident are properly preserved. Contact an attorney as quickly as possible. Trucking accidents can be life-altering, and the best way to minimize the fallout is to have an experienced truck accident attorney by your side, fighting for your rights.
Do I Need a Mechanicsville Truck Accident Attorney?
Many times, the question following a truck accident is whether a Mechanicsville, VA truck accident attorney is really necessary. Truck accidents are generally much more complex than passenger vehicle accidents. The injuries are likely to be much worse, lasting months, years, or a lifetime. Victims of a truck accident may be unable to return to work, perhaps forever. There may be emotional trauma associated with the accident, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, and PTSD. All of these things can make it extremely difficult for truck accident victims to get back to their normal lives, both physically and financially. Further, there can be more than one defendant in a truck accident.
The truck driver could have been at fault, the trucking company could bear some liability for the accident, the loading company or maintenance company could have contributed to the accident, or the truck manufacturer could be liable for a defective part. When any of these things are at hand, having an experienced truck accident attorney by your side can make all the difference in the final outcome. You deserve a settlement that will fully compensate you for all your accident-related expenses, both current and future. To ensure that happens, you need a knowledgeable Mechanicsville, VA truck accident attorney in your corner.
How Long Does a Truck Accident Lawsuit Take?
Insurance companies may make a settlement offer shortly after a truck accident, but it is rarely in your best interests to accept this first offer. It is almost always better to wait for a full investigation of the accident and a full assessment of your injuries. The investigation will determine whether the truck driver was following rules and regulations, who was at fault in the accident, whether the truck was properly maintained, and whether the trucking company followed proper hiring and training procedures. Generally speaking, truck accident claims will take longer than passenger vehicle claims to settle due to the potential of having more than one defendant as well as the extent of the injuries, medical expenses, and lost future wages.
Can a Tronfeld, West & Durrett Mechanicsville Truck Accident Attorney Help Me?
If you’ve been injured in a Mechanicsville, VA truck accident, you need serious, experienced legal representation. Attorneys Jay Tronfeld and David Durrett are knowledgeable and caring and are ready to help you through this difficult time. If you have found yourself in an untenable situation following a truck accident—hurting and struggling financially—you are not alone. We can help you get the medical treatments you need and the money you need to get your life back on track. Contact Tronfeld, West & Durrett today.