Though any motor vehicle accident can leave individuals dealing with devastating repercussions, when it comes to an 18-wheeler collision, the consequences can be catastrophic, leaving motorists and truck drivers to cope with life-changing injuries that will forever impact the rest of their life.
That is why if you were driving an 18-wheeler and were involved in an accident, you need to know that you may be entitled to Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits, especially if you sustained injuries during the course and scope of your employment. For the reasons following this type of collision, if you want to ensure you pursue all the benefits and damages you are eligible for, it is best that you do not wait to retain experienced legal help. Instead, you should reach out to the law offices of Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law today for a no-obligation free consultation and let our 18-wheeler accident lawyers show you how we can help you fight for the money you need.
Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents
Although 18-wheeler crashes can occur for several reasons, in general, they are often known to result from the following causes:
#1. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving refers to any activity that diverts attention away from driving, including texting on the phone, eating and drinking, playing with the radio, or checking the navigation system. As a result, when a motorist is driving distracted and crashes into a fully-loaded 18-wheeler, the consequences can be catastrophic.
#2. Tired Drivers
Even though federal regulations limit the number of hours a trucker can spend on the road, these rules are not always followed, especially with the strict deadlines many companies place on their drivers. Consequently, truck drivers often end up working long hours, which prevents them from getting the much-needed sleep they need, and sadly this fatigue can lead to devastating mistakes and horrifying truck accidents on the roads.
#3. Intoxicated Driving
Alcohol is known to not only reduce the function of the brain and impair thinking, but it can also affect reasoning and muscle coordination, abilities that are necessary to operate a vehicle safely. That is why it is illegal for any person to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. However, even with this knowledge, people still decide to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, which can lead to debilitating accidents when they run into an 18-wheeler.
#4. Reckless Driving
Generally, trucking companies have payment structures that are based on miles driven rather than hourly payments. Unfortunately, this means that many 18-wheel truck drivers may decide they have to engage in risky and reckless driving to make sure they improve their delivery times to get jobs done more quickly so that they can get paid. This dangerous behavior may include excessive speeding, changing lanes too often, following other motor vehicles too closely, or driving erratically in poor weather conditions, which can lead to significant crashes.
#5. Company Negligence
Companies responsible for an 18-wheeler are accountable for keeping their trucks adequately maintained. If they do not, the truck or its components can break down and cause a massive accident. As a result, faulty brakes, worn tires, and poorly serviced trucks are often the top causes of 18-wheeler crashes every year.
#6. Improperly Loaded Materials and Cargo
Before an 18-wheeler heads out on the road, shipping companies need to safely secure their cargo when loading it into the vehicle. If they do not, the contents inside the truck can shift, forcing the trucker to lose control of their massive vehicle and cause a deadly accident.
#7. Poor Weather
Due to their size and weight, driving an 18-wheeler is already much more difficult than driving a standard automobile. Yet, when you add ice, snow, sleet, and rain to the mix, driving an 18-wheeler can become unmanageable.
These poor weather conditions can not only reduce visibility, which makes it harder for these large vehicles to maneuver safely, but heavy winds can cause the 18-wheeler to jackknife on the road, resulting in disastrous collisions.
The Difference Between Personal and Commercial Accidents
When it comes to personal and commercial accidents, the differences between the two are significant.
- Devastating consequences: Commercial vehicles, such as 18-wheelers, are known to cause horrifying accidents that are more brutal in nature than most other personal vehicle collisions. The impact of these massive trucks can not only cause substantial damage to other vehicles on the road, but they also tend to result in major permanent injuries that can forever change a person’s life.
- Insurance company issues: One of the biggest differences between a personal and commercial accident is the insurance companies. When you are involved in an 18-wheeler accident, you will likely be going up against aggressive insurance companies that are highly trained to represent the trucking company. Their goal is to avoid paying hefty settlements following these crashes, meaning they will do everything possible to deny your claim.
- Complexity of the case: An 18-wheeler crash will usually result in much more complex and tedious issues than personal vehicle accidents. This happens because trucking collisions tend to involve more considerable damages and even multiple parties. As a result, figuring out financial damages after an 18-wheeler accident can be a difficult process, especially when you pursue an attorney lawsuit.
Injuries From an 18-Wheeler Accident
The massive size of an 18-wheeler, which at times can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, often means that the injuries that result can be much more severe than compared to other motor vehicle accident injuries. Yet, although these injuries will still depend on the circumstances of the accident, in general, individuals who are involved in an 18-wheeler crash will likely suffer the following potentially life-altering injuries:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Broken bones
- Neck and back injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Burn injuries
- Crushing injuries
18-Wheeler Accident Legal Process
If you have been injured while driving an 18-wheeler or lost a loved one in this trucking wreck, the last thing you want to worry about is what legal steps you need to take next or how to bring an attorney lawsuit. However, it is important that you realize that the things you do after this accident can not only help protect your legal rights but can also help you and your family fight for the financial damages you deserve.
For these reasons, after an 18-wheeler crash, we recommend you retain an experienced and knowledgeable 18-wheeler accident lawyer as soon as possible. These legal professionals can not only help you get through the challenging legal process involved with a workers’ compensation claim, but they can also assist you in bringing an 18-wheeler accident lawsuit and fighting for the compensation you need.
To provide you with a better understanding of how these attorneys can help you with your legal process, we have prepared the below guide:
#1. Investigating the Accident
Before you can pursue an 18-wheeler accident lawsuit, you need to take steps to preserve and collect evidence from the accident that can help your claim. That is why when you retain these skilled 18-wheeler accident attorneys, they can promptly get to work investigating your accident and securing the evidence needed to show what happened. This includes:
- Obtaining a copy of the police accident report
- Finding video footage of the crash
- Gathering photos of the incident and the aftermath of the crash, including pictures of the visible injuries, the damage to the vehicles on the road, and anything else that can help show what happened
- Contacting eyewitnesses who saw the accident and getting their oral and written statements
In addition, these 18-wheeler accident lawyers can also use public records to investigate the trucking company’s background, to ensure that all the necessary evidence is gathered so that you can verify that the insurance company is giving you a just evaluation for the damages you sustained.
#2. Filing a Legal Claim
After the lawyer conducts a detailed investigation into the accident, they can file a legal claim. This 18-wheeler accident claim will typically include essential and relevant information related to your case, such as details regarding what happened, who was at fault, and the extent of the damages you sustained.
#3. Sending a Preservation Letter
To ensure that no evidence disappears or is destroyed, these lawyers will also send a letter to the trucking company and any other relevant parties to the crash indicating that you are pursuing an 18-wheeler accident lawsuit and these individuals must preserve any potentially relevant evidence.
#4. Hiring Experts to Substantiate Your Claim
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, these legal professionals may also hire one or more experts, including financial specialties, doctors, accident reconstructionists, and trucking experts. These professionals can review your crash, analyze the evidence provided, and offer you additional support to prove your case and go after maximum compensation.
#5. Valuing Damages
Another critical step in the process will be documentation and correctly evaluating the value of your claim. As a result, these attorneys will make sure to document all of your psychological, physical, and financial injuries and find as much evidence as possible regarding the harm you have suffered to determine the total damages they need to pursue.
#6. Handling Negotiations
As mentioned previously, the insurance company is not here to help you following a trucking accident. Rather, they will want to do everything they can to deny your case or offer you less money than you are entitled to. For these reasons, when it comes to the negotiations process, it is best to leave it to an experienced attorney who is familiar with handling 18-wheeler accident claims and knows what it takes to settle your claim for all that it is worth.
More importantly, if these lawyers cannot reach a fair settlement offer with the insurance company, they are prepared to take your case to court and fight for an amount that is fair to you.
In general, the litigation process is a complex area of law that involves strict procedural rules and requires a thorough understanding of the state laws. Fortunately, with an experienced 18-wheeler accident attorney, you will not have to take on this complicated attorney lawsuit on your own. Rather, these lawyers are prepared to take on all of the following required litigation tasks for you:
- Drafting your complaint to initiate the lawsuit
- Attending all the necessary court conferences and hearings
- Preparing motions on your behalf that are in favor of your position
- Defending your case against motions brought by the other side
- Engaging in the discovery process, such as requests for documents and interrogatories
- Taking depositions of all the parties involved in the accident, including witnesses, employers, and other entities
- Preparing the strongest legal case and representing you at trial
How We Can Help You
Following an 18-wheeler accident, you should not wait to retain the legal help you need to fight for the compensation and justice you deserve. Instead, you should reach out to an experienced 18-wheeler accident attorney at Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law as soon as possible. Our skilled legal team is here and ready to fight for your rights, take on this attorney lawsuit, and go after the workers’ compensation benefits you need. In addition, depending on the circumstances, you may be able to also receive additional compensation, which we are also ready to pursue, including:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and reduced earning capacity
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Pain and suffering
Get the Legal Help You Need with Your Attorney Lawsuit, Reach Out to Mottaz & Sisk Today
If you or a family member have been severely injured while driving an 18-wheeler, you may be able to pursue certain types of compensation through an attorney lawsuit. However, to ensure you get the maximum amount of financial damages you deserve, it is recommended you reach out to Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law today for a free case evaluation. Our legal team will review your unique case, identify legal options, and help you make an informed decision regarding future legal action.