Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer
Tractor Trailers (also referred to as semi-trailers or semitrucks) and 18 wheelers are the biggest vehicles on the road, and they require drivers with special licenses because they are so challenging to maneuver. Because of their size, these trucks can cause severe accidents. There are no “fender benders” when a tractor trailer truck collides with a car. A minor accident can prove fatal or lead to severe injuries for the driver and passengers in the smaller vehicle.
If you experience an injury or vehicle damage in Glastonbury, Simsbury, Hartford County, Connecticut or the surrounding areas, you will typically have to deal with the truck’s insurance company. A tractor trailer accident lawyer experienced in such accidents can make sure you get a fair settlement or represent you in court if the case requires more aggressive litigation.
Tractor Trailer and Semi-Truck Accident Statistics
In the United States in 2020, there were 107,000 truck accidents. Data from the National Safety Council (NSC) shows a 19% decrease in accidents compared to 2019. However, the number of truck-involved accidents has been trending upward over the past decade, so the one-year decrease may be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
18-wheeler accidents can sometimes be fatal. According to NSC data, truck-related accidents accounted for 4,965 deaths in 2020 — 71% of these fatalities were riding in the other vehicle, and an additional 12% were pedestrians, cyclists, or others who were not in a car. The majority of 18-wheeler accidents happened on rural highways or non-interstate roads. Traffic was a factor, with more accidents occurring during the busier daytime driving hours.
Because of all the different factors at play, it is always helpful to enlist the services of a good 18 wheeler accident lawyer to ensure you get a fair settlement and respond to any challenges to the case by insurance attorneys.
Most Dangerous Roads in Connecticut for Truck Crashes
Connecticut sometimes falls short in terms of infrastructure. A study done in 2022 showed that 20% of the roads are in an unacceptable condition. Issues like potholes, worn lane markings, poor signage and lighting, or other aged safety features can play a role in accidents.
If you live in Hartford, Simsbury, Glastonbury, or any of the surrounding areas, you know that some roads are more dangerous than others because of poor conditions, speed, traffic patterns, or the presence of 18-wheelers.
Are these roads really dangerous? Here is a look at the data showing the number of truck accidents on specific roads. Let’s see the most dangerous roads that have caused trucker crashes in the past.
- Interstate 91, near New Haven, saw over 1,493 accidents in the most recent year.
- Interstate 95 sees many truck accidents because of its heavy traffic and speeding.
- Connecticut Route 6 has vehicle-accident casualties due to its unexpected turns, lacking signage, and poor condition of the road.
- In Hartford and Glastonbury, Route 17 is known for its rear-end collisions. Many of these occur because of the confusing layout when the highway merges with Route 9.
When an 18-wheeler is involved in a collision with a car or SUV, a simple rear-end or side-swipe accident can be serious or even fatal.
Can you avoid these dangerous occurrences? Here are some of the most common causes of truck accidents.
Common Causes of Tractor Trailer Crashes and Truck Accidents
18-wheeler and tractor trailer drivers aspire to have accident-free careers. However, this ambition can be quite challenging. With a full load, an 18-wheeler will need 20% to 40% more time to stop compared to other vehicles, and they have to contend with wide turns, poor vision, and impatient drivers who try to weave around the truck in close quarters.
In addition to these challenges, other factors can cause most truck accidents in Connecticut.
Driver fatigue: Most drivers have a tight schedule for the delivery of their load. They may often drive with limited sleep or skip rest stops if they experienced delays earlier in their trip. Tiredness can slow reactions, adding to the already slow stopping times of the truck.
Distracted driver: A driver who is focused on anything else but the road while driving can cause fatal accidents. Some common distractions include texting or eating.
Aggressive or reckless driving: Reckless driving behaviors could include speeding, tailgating, changing lanes suddenly, failing to signal turns, and ignoring traffic signals or signage. Because of their slow reaction times, trucks are difficult to maneuver. The driver may not be able to respond to unexpected or aggressive movements by other vehicle drivers.
Intoxicated drivers: Drugs and alcohol are leading accident causes. In addition to these substances, truckers may use pharmaceutical or recreational drugs to help them stay awake during long hauls. These substances can cause them to lose concentration or shift their focus away from the road.
Improperly loaded cargo: This accident cause is unique to cargo vehicles like 18-wheelers. If a piece of cargo comes loose or the trailer detaches, it can cause devastating accidents. Unlike some other incidents, which drivers may avoid by using defensive maneuvers, this problem will almost always happen unexpectedly, leaving little to no time for a response.
Poor road conditions: Trucks need more time to stop. If cars are slowing or skidding because of ice, snow, or pooling water on the road, the 18-wheeler may not be able to react in time, or it may also slip on the icy or wet surface. Issues such as crosswinds can cause trucks to sway, tip, or even leave their lane unexpectedly.
What to Do Immediately After an 18-Wheeler Accident
All vehicle accidents are traumatic, but 18-wheeler mishaps can be especially stressful. However, it is essential to respond as calmly as possible to ensure everyone is safe, provide assistance if needed, and begin collecting evidence that will help the truck injury lawyer with your claim.
A methodical step-by-step approach can help you respond correctly even as you deal with the stress of the incident. Here is what you should do after an accident with a truck.
- Call for help – You can call 911 immediately for ambulance and police services. The EMTs and officers can provide medical assistance if needed. The police will also create a report of the incident and speak with witnesses. This documentation can be vital evidence in your case if it goes to trial. A skilled 18-wheeler accident attorney can use the information to support claims of negligence by other drivers.
- Collect evidence at the accident scene – Once everyone is safe or receiving treatment, you can collect your own evidence. You can take pictures of the scene, talk to witnesses yourself, or get their contact information for later testimony.
- Exchange information with the other vehicle’s driver – You will need to provide your insurance details and get the policy information from the other driver. You can also get the information of the trucking company, which could be useful for your truck wreck attorney during negotiations.
- Get a medical checkup – Even if you do not have visible injuries or immediate pain, you should get a checkup. Adrenaline could mask internal injuries, or you could start experiencing soreness hours after the accident. A doctor can check for serious injuries and provide vital medical reports for your claim.
- Draft a demand letter – Your truck accident lawyer can start the process by filing a demand letter to ask for compensation. Insurers for the other drivers may try to settle quickly if they are at fault. However, you should wait for an attorney to look at the evidence before accepting any offers.
You will either receive or be denied compensation through a settlement, after negotiations, following mediation, or after the verdict in a civil court case.
Determining Responsibility in an 18-Wheeler Accident
Commercial truck accidents are not as common as other motor vehicle accidents. However, they can be more complex because they often involve more than two parties. Other drivers, the trucking company, the company responsible for maintenance or loading cargo, and the agency covering road repairs could all share part of the blame for the accident.
This is important because Connecticut has a comparative negligence law. Payouts are determined by the level of liability that each party has in the incident. For example, if the accident award is $100,000, but a jury finds you 25% responsible for stopping too quickly in front of a truck, your settlement will be $75,000 because of the comparative negligence law.
Therefore, insurance companies will often try to shift responsibility onto other drivers. However, your 18-wheeler accident lawyer will try to argue that speed, distraction, a poorly maintained truck, unsecured cargo, or drug or alcohol use by the other driver were the main factors in the accident.
What Does a Connecticut Truck Wreck Lawyer Do?
Trucking companies and their insurers may deal with many claims because of the number of vehicles on the road and driving hours. They will try to avoid as much liability as possible. Insurers may offer a quick settlement to avoid legal expenses and get you to accept before consulting a lawyer.
They may also try to shift blame to avoid paying or to limit the payout due to comparative negligence. A truck wreck attorney can help you calculate a fair settlement based on the situation and available evidence. They can also negotiate for a better settlement with the insurance companies and go through a mediation process if the initial efforts do not work.
Finally, you need a skilled tractor trailer accident attorney to help you argue your case if it goes to a civil court, where a judge or jury will weigh the argument and come up with a settlement amount.
What Is the Average Semi-Truck Accident Settlement?
Several factors determine how much one will be compensated after an 18-wheeler accident. First, compensation should cover medical expenses and any suffering from the severity of the injuries or trauma. This should also cover therapy and any other services necessary to get you back to normal condition.
If you are not at fault, settlements should also cover vehicle damage, lost income from missed work, and other services necessary during your recovery process. Because of these different factors, it is impossible to predict compensation.
However, you should know that even if someone is fatally injured in a truck accident, a tractor trailer accident attorney can take the case on behalf of their family and achieve a fair settlement.
What to Consider When Choosing an 18-Wheeler Accident Attorney
Hopefully, you understand how vital a good 18-wheeler accident attorney is for your case. All vehicle accidents are complex, but truck crashes are especially confusing because of the different parties involved. You should hire a truck accident attorney early in the process before accepting an insurance company’s initial settlement offer. Here are some of the things to do when choosing a truck wreck attorney:
Check the lawyers’ experience: You should hire someone experienced in vehicle accident cases who is also familiar with the unique factors of 18-wheeler collisions. The insurance and trucking companies will have experienced attorneys, so you will want someone who matches their level of knowledge.
Check the lawyers’ track record: You should see how many cases they have won and what their settlements are.
Check their reviews: You can look online to see what other clients say about them. This is important. Some lawyers leave cases when they cannot win to preserve a positive record, and others may only pay attention to clients with the possibility of a large settlement. You should look at the reviews to see how the 18-wheeler accident attorney treated their clients.
Seek recommendations from other accident victims, friends, or family – Personal recommendations can be helpful because you need to have trust in your personal injury lawyers.
Have a personal connection: You and your attorney must have a personal rapport because if you don’t get along, it can be difficult for them to fight on your behalf.
Choose someone who is upfront and transparent about fees and costs. Some truck accident law firms will accept a percentage of the settlement as payment. If so, they should be honest about that percentage upfront. If you select the right 18-wheeler accident attorney, you will have a good chance of getting a fair settlement after your crash.
Connecticut Truck Wreck Attorneys
Some of the locations in and around Hartford County our tractor trailer accident lawyers serves include: Hartford, Simsbury, Glastonbury, New Britain, Bridgeport, Waterbury, Danbury, Norwalk, Manchester, Windsor, Farmington, Windsor Locks, Wethersfield, Rocky Hill, Avon, Bloomfield, Bristol, Enfield, Newington, South Windsor, Southington, Plainville and more.