What to Do to Protect Yourself
Due to the hectic demands of life, we often find ourselves on the road. Daily interstate travel brings many drivers in frequent contact with larger vehicles like 18-wheelers or semi-trailer trucks. Many truckers work lengthy hours, driving long distances hauling cargo, which can result in fatigue and distracted driving, both of which can lead to catastrophic crashes. In addition, truckers often face strict delivery deadlines, causing some to disregard speed limits. Many drivers do not realize how different a car wreck involving an 18-wheeler is from one involving two average vehicles. 18-wheeler trucks can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. which often causes serious and substantial damage to the cars involved in this crashes and sometimes fatal consequences. One in every eight automobile wreck fatalities involves a large truck like an 18-wheeler. If the past is any indication, more people will be killed in traffic accidents involving large trucks this year than have died in all the domestic commercial airline crashes over the past 45 years. Because of statistics like these, there are strict laws and regulations that apply to trucking companies and their drivers, which do not apply to non-commercial drivers. Examples of such regulations include limitations on the amount of time that truck drivers can spend driving before they take a break and what they can haul.
If you are in a wreck with an 18-wheeler, it is important to call an attorney who handles trucking collisions immediately. The trucking company will begin investigating the wreck right away with a team of experts and lawyers on the case to protect itself, so time is of the essence for you to hire an attorney to begin investigation to protect yourself. There is valuable evidence such as black box data or other GPS recording devices from the truck that need to be preserved promptly by an experienced attorney working on your behalf. A “black box” is a recording device that is triggered by certain events to start recording important data about the truck and its movement and speed. Black box data can provide critical evidence later for an expert such as an accident reconstructionist to determine what happened in the wreck. If this data is not requested early, there is nothing preventing the trucking companies from destroying it. It is also important to document the wreck with photographs of the vehicles at the scene of the collision to show exactly what occurred. An attorney can also investigate the background of the trucking company as well as the driver. It is important to have someone who will fight for you after an 18-wheeler collision.