If you live or work in Fayetteville, you know just how common it is to see large commercial vehicles on the road. While they provide many of the goods and services we need, negligent drivers, trucking companies, and vehicle manufacturers contribute to the injuries and deaths of others on the road. If you’ve been involved in an accident, a Fayetteville 18 wheeler accident lawyer can help you pursue a legal claim, so you have the best chances of recovering from the crash.
18 wheeler claims have the potential to be complex, especially when it comes to proving fault. To give yourself the best chance for a successful claim, it’s important to work with experienced attorneys who understand the ins and outs of personal injury law and truck accidents. The legal representatives at McMath Woods P.A. have extensive experience handling claims of this nature, and we’re prepared to take on your case next to help you seek justice.
What to Know About 18 Wheelers
Hauling everything from produce and building materials, to vehicles, animals, and hazardous substances, big rigs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The majority, however, have 18 wheels. The vehicles are large and extremely heavy. Some cargo capacities can exceed 40,000 pounds and gross weights have the potential to exceed 80,000 pounds. Because of that, it’s crucial for drivers to understand how to safely operate around these large trucks and what to do in the event of an accident.
Because of their sheer size, truck drivers who operate 18 wheelers are required to have specific training and licenses. Tractor-trailers take longer to stop, so a trucker needs to know their vehicle inside and out and how to safely maneuver the vehicle. While this is the case for favorable road conditions, inclement weather makes a driver’s knowledge of how to handle the vehicle all the more important. They need to have the training and experience for handling the truck in the event of an emergency situation.
If the driver doesn’t have the experience and don’t allow more time to safely slow down, make turns, and change lanes, then they could cause an accident that causes terrible injuries and losses.
18 Wheeler Accidents in Fayetteville
When a large truck crash occurs in Fayetteville, it’s often a shock to the community. Unfortunately, these wrecks happen more often than people realize. For example, Fayetteville police investigated a wreck in December 2019 involving a tractor-trailer and an SUV. An underride accident occurred after the SUV ran into the back of an 18 wheeler in a construction zone. An adult driver, an 11-year-old, and an infant were transported to the hospital for treatment. An adult passenger was pronounced dead at the scene.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a wreck with a commercial vehicle and is now trying to manage the consequences, including the financial losses, you may be able to pursue an injury claim to seek compensation. In order to successfully do so, it’s important to have an experienced 18 wheeler accident lawyer by your side so a thorough and conclusive investigation is conducted.
Investigating an 18 Wheeler Collision
After a crash involving an 18 wheeler, multiple investigations will be conducted. The first is typically done by the police officers who arrive at the scene of the crash. Their findings will be documented in an official report, which your lawyer can use to help prove fault for your claim. Depending on the nature of the crash, it’s possible the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could get involved.
The third investigation will be conducted by your lawyer. They will start by gathering as much accident data as possible. It’s important to preserve physical evidence from the accident, if possible, to support your claim—like in the form of photographs or videos. In addition to that, your lawyer will gather copies of medical records and consult your doctor about the details of your injury, obtain an official accident report, and potentially consult an accident reconstructionist.
Your lawyer may also look to obtain black box data. Black boxes do not provide written information. Instead, the information is stored in binary code. Also known as an electronic control module or event data recorder, a black box stores the following information:
- The truck’s speed prior to the crash
- Sudden acceleration or deceleration
- Whether the driver was using cruise control
- Whether the brakes were applied and when
- If the trucker was wearing a seat belt
- Tire pressure
- GPS location information
Most black boxes record data for 30 days before the information is recorded over. This means it’s imperative for your 18 wheeler accident lawyer to obtain the information as soon as possible. If the trucking company refuses to turn this information over, you may need to file a lawsuit and request a temporary restraining order to stop the company from destroying evidence that could support your claim.
Determining Fault for a Big Rig Accident
With most 18 wheeler accidents, there are three entities that play a role in determining fault: law enforcement, insurance companies, and the court system. As discussed, the on-scene police officer will file an official report. On that report, the officer can record their opinion of fault. While this does not ultimately prove guilt, it can be used in court to support a case.
Insurance companies from both parties will conduct their own investigations. Adjusters will review all of the details of the accident, inspect the vehicles, and speak to witnesses. The adjusters speak to each other and work to come to a fault conclusion. Your lawyer will speak to the adjusters, describe their findings, and fight for your right to compensation. In the event an agreement cannot be reached, the case can be presented to the court system.
When filing a lawsuit, the outcome is ultimately determined by a judge or jury. The final verdict, however, can be appealed. In the event your case ends up going to trial, your lawyer will explain how the court proceedings will work and what you need to do to support your case.
What Severe Injuries Can These Accidents Cause?
When your lawyer is investigating who was responsible for the accident, they will also evaluate the injuries that you sustained and what compensation you’re owed for them. Your injuries are likely severe and will require intense medical care.
Because of their increased size and weight, 18 wheeler injuries can cause problems for the rest of your life. If they affect your ability to work or have permanent consequences, then the injuries can be considered catastrophic. These are common in large truck accidents.
Injuries that can arise include brain trauma, spinal cord trauma, nerve damage, and internal organ damage. These injuries need immediate medical care and may not fully heal. If someone is suffering from the permanent effects of a brain injury, they may not be able to concentrate or remember details or facts like they used to. Brain injuries can also cause headaches and communication issues.
Spinal cord trauma can cause paralysis. If the injury site is high enough, it could cost the person the use of their limbs and trunk. If someone’s nerves are damaged, they may be beyond repair. In some cases, amputation may be necessary. Internal organ damage can need immediate surgery and also be deadly.
Additionally, the accident can cause broken bones. While these may be expected to have a full recovery, a broken arm or leg can cause someone to have limited mobility for weeks. These types of injuries can have a long road to recovery. Let’s see how a lawyer can help you get the financial security you need.
What Will Your Lawyer Fight for You to Recover?
When you’re trying to heal and are doing everything you can to aid your recovery process, it’s likely you’ll need to take time away from work. However, if you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time, this can affect your wages. If the injury is severe enough, you may not be able to do that job again. Whether you’re missing a long period of work or you’re not going to be able to go back to your job, your lawyer will fight for you to recover the lost wages or loss of earnings that resulted from the accident.
You’re also going to need to afford the treatment for your injuries. Staying in the hospital, taking medication, seeing specialists, undergoing surgery, or needing medical equipment can cost a lot in medical expenses. You shouldn’t have to wonder how you’re going to get the care for injuries that were caused by someone else’s negligence. We’ll make sure that your compensation covers your past and future medical expenses.
If you’ve suffered other economic losses from the collision, our 18 wheeler accident lawyers will make sure to include it when calculating what the crash has cost you financially. However, this isn’t the only part of your recovery. You can also recover damages for noneconomic losses as well.
The trauma that you experienced is also considered when you’re seeking justice with an 18 wheeler lawyer. When you’ve been in an accident and have suffered injuries, you’ve likely experienced pain and suffering. This takes the injuries you’ve sustained and will have to live with into account.
Other parts of the crash can cause you mental anguish or emotional distress. Whether it’s the trauma of the accident itself or if you’re dealing with the consequences of the injuries, these will be included in your compensation.
If your injuries will affect you for the rest of your life and will cause you to change your lifestyle, you may feel significant loss for the life you had before the accident. This can be referred to as loss of enjoyment of life, and is considered a noneconomic loss. Your attorney will also take this into account.
You may have lost a loved one in an 18 wheeler crash. If this is the case, then your lawyer can will factor in loss of consortium. You could have lost someone you ran a household with, are raising a family with, or have lost someone who otherwise supported you. While these losses are incredibly difficult, our lawyers will do everything possible to get you and your loved one the justice you deserve.
Seek Legal Guidance From McMath Woods P.A.
No matter the extent of your injuries and losses after a truck crash that wasn’t your fault, you deserve compensation to cover that suffering. As you can see, however, pursuing a claim isn’t always easy—especially when fault isn’t immediately obvious. That’s why we recommend working with a Fayetteville 18 wheeler accident lawyer from McMath Woods P.A.
To learn more about the claims process or to get started on yours, contact our law firm today. We’ll review your situation, explain your legal rights and options to you, and help you determine how best to proceed to protect your future.