At over 80,000 pounds each, it’s no wonder that 18-wheelers are involved in ugly, and often fatal, crashes.
Not many people realize that a fully loaded big rig can weigh that much. Comparatively, most cars weigh only about 4,000 pounds. It’s not hard to see why smaller vehicles tend to get completely demolished when hit by an 18-wheeler. In most truck-versus-car collisions, there isn’t much left of the car, while the truck may come out of it with just a few dents and scratches.
Picking up the pieces from this type of wreck is tough, but evidence needs to be preserved, the integrity of the scene needs to be maintained, and the accident itself needs to be reconstructed to determine fault, if that is not clear from the scene. Despite the fact that big rigs only represent about 3 percent of all the vehicles on the road, they figure into the crash statistics as being involved in at least 21 percent of all fatal collisions.
What if you have been in a dust up with a tractor-trailer and survived? What do you do next? You’re badly injured, your car is a total write-off, you may not be able to work and you may not be able to live a normal life ever again – at least not the one that you were living prior to the accident. The number one thing on your should be to hire a seasoned Atlanta personal injury lawyer with truck accident experience.
If you think that isn’t necessary because you could handle the claim yourself, think about this. Big rigs are rated as commercial vehicles and thus are, by law, subject to a lot more rules and regulations than passenger vehicles. For example, if you and another car get into a minor fender bender, you would do OK with swapping insurance information and letting the insurance company deal with the fallout.
On the other hand, an accident with a big rig comes complete with a cadre of their insurance lawyers who want to downplay the incident and dismiss or diminish your injuries and other damages. Their goal would be to settle fast and settle cheap to keep the trucking company bottom line afloat and their premiums reasonable.
If you remember nothing else when you are involved in a semi wreck, remember this: insurance companies and their lawyers are not your friends. Do not talk to them or sign anything until you speak to your Atlanta personal injury lawyer. One wrong step and it could cost you a lot of money – money you may need to live because of the severity of your injuries.
Your Atlanta personal injury lawyer will also know the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules and regulations. Will you? Likely not, and this is vitally important to your case, because truckers are bound to comply with those rules. For example, the rules state they must not drive continuously for too many hours or over a certain time limit in a day. Understand that this is a hard rule for truckers to follow because they are generally paid by the mile and they need to make tracks. This means a large number of truckers – a documented almost 64 percent, in fact – fudge their hours-of-service log. When all is said and done, your Atlanta personal injury lawyer can weed out fact from fiction and find out what really happened to cause the wreck.
Tim Anderson writes for Atlanta Personal Injury attorney, Stephen M. Ozcomert. The firm specializes in personal injury, malpractice, motorcycle accidents, and wrongful death. To learn more about Atlanta personal injury lawyer, Stephen M. Ozcomert, visit Ozcomert.com.