We drive alongside big commercial trucks every day in Arizona. The number of close calls many of us have had is frightening in itself. So what happens when the close call turns into an actual accident? The sheer shock of the crash is bad enough, but when you've been injured in the accident, it's unimaginably worse. The size of the vehicle makes these incidents even more dangerous and fatal than those of regular motor vehicle accidents. In this article, we'll discuss why semi-truck accidents are typically worse than other crashes, the parties who may be held responsible for them, and what proving liability may entail if you've been in one of these accidents.
If you have been a victim of truck driver negligence that's left you recovering from injuries, out of work, and under a pile of medical bills, call or text our trusted and experienced semi-truck accident lawyers in Arizona at (602) 345-1818 today. We'll schedule a free initial consultation with you to review the facts of your case and give you a better understanding of your legal options going forward.
A Semi-truck Accident Is Different
In 2019, the Arizona Department of Transportation reported that there were 1,912 large truck accidents, with 60 of those resulting in death. Several factors make these accidents more deadly and dangerous than the average car accident:
- The large, bulky size of commercial trucks - Loaded semi-trucks can weigh 80,000 pounds. To put that into comparison, an average passenger vehicle weighs about 3,000 pounds. The weight coupled with the height and the difficulty to stop can make truck wrecks disastrous and tragic.
- Poorly loaded trucks - Though a big truck being loaded properly is highly important, often it is not a priority. This can make the likelihood of accidents even greater.
- Dangerous and flammable loads - Frequently big trucks are transporting dangerous and flammable chemicals, which increases the chance of fire and explosion during impact.
- Speeding and large trucks - Going above the speed limit is dangerous for passenger vehicles, the danger multiplies when the vehicle is a big truck with a heavy load. There are laws in Arizona that address speeding in large, commercial vehicles. Unfortunately, this doesn't stop every big truck accident caused by speeding.
Do This Directly After the Accident
After you've been in an accident with a large truck, it's important to follow a checklist to protect yourself, other passengers and drivers, as well as to protect any future case you may have against the trucking company or driver.
- Make sure you and your passengers are safe - If you are safe, check on others involved in the accident. If needed, call 911 immediately.
- If you can move your vehicle to safety, do so - If you are in traffic, and you can move your vehicle, park it somewhere safe and out of the way of traffic, which may cause additional accidents.
- Don't leave the scene of the accident - Stay at the scene and wait for the authorities to arrive.
- Mum's the word - Don't say anything about the accident. Anything can be taken as an admission of fault, and it could be used against you later. Similarly, do not post photos or comments about the accident on social media. Insurance companies have a way of finding things online and applying whatever meaning they want to it.
- Collect evidence at the scene - If you can do so safely, take photos and video of the scene. Capture any damage to the involved vehicles, indentures and marks on the road or ground, and any damage to surrounding objects, like light poles, guard rails, signs, etc.
- Get all the information - You'll also want to ensure you get the appropriate information from those involved in the crash. Obtain names, contact information, license plate details, and insurance information. Additionally, get any information from eyewitnesses of the accident. This could come in great use to your case later.
- Speak to the responding officer - Be sure to speak to the officer and get the reference number to the official police report. Always call the police, so they can draft the official police report. You will most likely need it later for insurance purposes, as well as for legal purposes should you need to take further action down the road.
- Go get checked out by a medical professional - It doesn't matter if you feel fine following the accident. Often, symptoms of injuries can be covered up by the adrenaline of the collision. They may take hours or even days to appear. Always be safe, and go get yourself checked out. If you do have a serious injury (brain injury, internal damage, back injury, etc), they can catch it and treat you quickly. You will also have medical records to use in case you have an insurance or legal concern in the future. This evidence can play a very important role in your semi-truck accident case.
- Contact a semi-truck lawyer in Arizona - A lawyer can help you collect evidence, prove liability, and get you the compensation you need to recover. The lawyer can negotiate and communicate with the insurance company, making sure they have all the information they need and that you get the compensation you need and deserve. Additionally, big truck companies tend to have big insurance companies who are trying to pay you as little as possible. Don't let them infringe on your rights; Impact Legal is ready to fight for you and keep the negotiation tables level and fair.
Who's Responsible for the Big Truck Accident?
Liability in a big truck accident can vary. Because of the potential errors, the various parties that may be involved, and the huge insurance companies likely in the picture, proving liability in a truck case can be complex. Potentially liable parties in a large truck accident include the truck driver, the driver's company, the manufacturer of the truck parts or trailer, the owner of the truck, the company leasing the trailer, the shipper that requested the load, etc. Any involved party may be at fault depending on the error which caused the wreck. Your semi-truck accident lawyer will work to prove liability with the following tactics:
- Identifying expert witnesses
- Analyzing traffic reports and data
- Requesting and reviewing black box data from the truck involved in the accident (this should be done promptly to cut down on any potential evidence coverups)
- Obtaining alcohol and drug tests from the driver
- Reviewing police and accident reports
- Working with experts to reconstruct the accident
- Examining medical records
When the trucking company lawyers and insurance adjusters are against you, you can count on Impact Legal to step in and fight for you. We'll get the evidence we need, so you get the legal remedy you need to get back to your life.
Hiring a Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ
Consulting with an experienced semi-truck accident lawyer in Arizona is important to these types of cases. There will potentially be a lot of experienced people on the other side of the negotiation table, leaving you with more of a chance to get shortchanged in your recovery. If you need someone on your side to help you recover, we're here for you. Call or text Impact Legal today to review your legal options. You can reach us at (602) 345-1818, or by filling out this convenient online form.