Thousands of accidents involving large trucks, often called semi-trucks or tractor-trailers, occur annually on U.S. roads and highways. In 2021, 123,000 large trucks were involved in fatal and injury crashes in the U.S. These accidents can have devastating consequences, not only for the individuals involved but also for surrounding communities. In this article, we will explore what happens when a truck driver has an accident, the potential injuries that can result, and a truck accident injury attorney’s role in helping victims seek justice and compensation.
What Impact Does a Truck Driver Accident Have?
Due to a semi-truck’s massive size and weight, collisions involving these vehicles often lead to catastrophic outcomes. Some common consequences of a semi-truck accident include:
- Severe injuries—depending on various factors, including the speed of the vehicles involved and the point of impact, truck accidents frequently result in severe injuries ranging from broken bones and concussions to spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs);
- Property damage—collisions with semi-trucks can cause extensive property damage and can total smaller vehicles, leading to significant financial losses;
- Traffic disruption—truck accidents often lead to road closures and traffic congestion, affecting the daily lives of many commuters and causing economic disruptions; and
- Environmental impact—when hazardous material spills lead to contaminated air, soil, and water sources, semi-truck accidents can also impact the environment.
Truck accident injury attorneys are vital in helping victims navigate these results. While accidents involving commercial trucks are often devastating, seeking legal assistance can make a significant difference in a victim’s life.
So What Happens When a Truck Driver Has an Accident?
From legal considerations to insurance claims, the aftermath of a truck driver accident can be complex and overwhelming. Here are just a few considerations.
The Immediate Aftermath
Due to a semi-truck’s massive size, truck accidents often result in severe injuries or fatalities. Thus, in the first moments after a semi-truck accident, drivers or other parties must immediately call emergency services for medical assistance and to secure the area. Truck drivers must also remain at the scene, as leaving could result in legal consequences.
Investigation and Reporting
A thorough investigation typically follows a truck accident to determine its cause and establish liability. This investigation may involve law enforcement, insurance companies, truck accident injury attorneys, and, in some cases, federal transportation agencies and the trucking company that employs the driver. However, the first step is to report the accident to law enforcement and document the scene. This includes taking photographs, gathering witness statements, and preserving any evidence that might be crucial later. The truck driver must also report the accident to their employer and, in most cases, to the relevant transport authorities.
Depending on the accident’s severity, the truck driver could face charges ranging from traffic violations to more severe criminal charges. If found at fault, the driver may face increased insurance premiums, loss of employment, and even loss of their commercial driver’s license. In severe cases, criminal charges can lead to imprisonment. Truck drivers and the companies they work for are also subject to various trucking regulations, including hours of service, maintenance standards, and load restrictions. Violations of these regulations can have serious legal consequences.
Parties to the accident, including the truck driver and any other drivers or victims, will typically file insurance claims with their respective insurance companies. This process involves providing detailed information about the accident, including police reports and evidence of damages and injuries. Insurance adjusters will then investigate the claim—including scrutinizing the driver’s qualifications, the truck’s maintenance records, and the accident’s circumstances—assess the damages, and negotiate settlements.
Truck accidents often involve complex insurance claims. Moreover, trucking companies usually have significant insurance policies covered by large insurance companies with significant resources. For these reasons, victims often need to work with a truck accident injury attorney to ensure fair compensation. If the collision caused injury or death, working with a skilled attorney is also critical. An attorney can help navigate the intricate insurance processes, negotiate settlements, and advocate for the victim’s rights.
If You Need an Experienced Truck Accident Injury Attorney, Smith & Holder, PLLC Can Help
At Smith & Holder, our truck accident attorneys are well-versed in truck accident laws and trucking regulations. As your advocates, we will thoroughly investigate the accident, gather evidence, and consult experts such as accident reconstruction specialists to determine liability. We take a creative yet no-nonsense approach to negotiating with insurance companies to secure fair compensation for medical expenses, property losses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. And if we cannot obtain a fair settlement, we are prepared to fight tirelessly for your rights in court. Our dedication to justice is unwavering—we’ll stop at nothing to ensure you receive the truck accident settlement you deserve. Reach out to us for a free consultation, and know we never charge a fee unless we win.