You have to share the road with 18-wheelers all the time, and they are a critical part of America’s economic infrastructure. They are also very dangerous. They might weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and getting in an accident with one of those vehicles puts you at serious risk of injury.
As common as 18-wheelers are, there are still a lot of things that people don’t understand about trucking accidents. It’s time to break some of this down so that those who are involved in these accidents understand what steps they need to take next.
These are incredibly serious accidents
First and foremost, people often don’t realize just how much more dangerous it is to be hit by a semitruck than another car. No one wants to get involved in any accident, but 18-wheelers carry some unique risks. One is noted above, in that they may weigh 10 or 20 times as much as your car, meaning that your vehicle is going to absorb most of the force and you are probably going to suffer the greatest injuries.
Another issue is that some 18-wheelers can cause underride accidents. This occurs when the angle of the accident pushes the smaller car below the truck’s trailer. These are potentially devastating because they often result in head, neck and chest trauma since the trailer is so much taller and it shears off the passenger compartment of the car.
The insurance company may try to undermine your claim
Another thing people often don’t realize is that this is a huge liability for the trucking company, and their insurance company is going to fight tooth and nail to try to get out of paying that claim. They may dispute how the accident happened or even who was at fault. For instance, it takes more than 500 feet for a truck to come to a stop, so they may try to claim that you cut off a truck that rear-ended you, when you know it is perfectly clear that the driver wasn’t paying attention and caused the crash.
If you do find yourself in this situation, facing major medical bills and being told by the insurance company that they don’t want to help, then you absolutely need to know about all of your legal options.