When an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer collides with a 2,500-pound car or 4,000-pound SUV, the occupants of the smaller vehicles are likely to suffer serious injuries or worse.
A tractor-trailer accident claim is more complex than a typical automobile accident. Multiple parties are involved in putting an 18-wheeler on Nevada highways. Any of them may be financially liable if their actions contributed to a truck accident.
Because large commercial trucks present unique dangers for those sharing the highways with them, they are required to carry higher amounts of liability insurance. In theory, this should mean there is more insurance available to pay 18-wheeler accident settlements. But insurance companies are profit focused and will try to pay as little as possible to resolve 18-wheeler accident claims.
When a truck driver, truck owner, cargo owner, or others connected to the operation of a large commercial truck are at fault for a truck accident, their insurance company has the responsibility to compensate you for your losses. The Las Vegas 18-wheeler accident lawyers at Sam & Ash Injury Law will fight to hold them accountable.
If you have been injured in a Nevada truck accident, call us or contact us online. We will review the circumstances of the truck accident and your potential injury claim at no charge. If we can pursue a claim, we’ll fight for What’s Right for you.
Three Reasons To Hire an 18-Wheeler Accident Attorney
After being injured in an accident, you have the right to seek compensation from any party whose negligence caused the accident. You must show that the responsible party had a duty not to put other people in danger and that they breached that duty by driving unsafely, leading to your injuries.
In a truck accident, for example, you might show that the truck driver, who owes a duty to others on the road to drive safely, was distracted by talking on the phone when his truck hit your vehicle. You could sue the truck driver who hit your car and their employer, who is responsible for the driver.
There are potential complications to an 18-wheeler accident claim.
- Trucking companies have deep pockets. A commercial truck in Nevada may be covered by liability insurance worth anywhere from $100,000 to $5 million, depending on the type of cargo the truck transports and whether it travels out of state. While this coverage is to help anyone the truck may injure in a collision, an insurance provider will fight hard to avoid a substantial payout. You need a lawyer who has the resources, as well as the knowledge and dedication, to fight for the full compensation you need to move forward after an 18-wheeler accident.
- The trucking company may offer a settlement. One way for a trucking company and their insurer to protect their bottom lines after a truck accident is to offer a calculated payout to the injured person. If you’ve been in an accident, you may get a quick settlement offer that is intended to limit the insurer’s liability. Until you have completed all medical treatment, convalescence, and rehab after an injury, you cannot know your true costs.
You should never accept a quick settlement offer after suffering serious injuries in an accident. You should never sign anything presented by an insurance company without consulting a lawyer first. You may be releasing the insurer of liability and waiving your rights to demand a proper settlement. An experienced truck accident lawyer will document your total costs and losses and demand full compensation for you.
- You may have multiple claims for compensation. The truck driver and trucking company are the most obvious defendants in an 18-wheeler accident lawsuit. But they are not the only ones potentially responsible. There may be other parties involved, such as:
- Cargo owners/vendors. If there was an issue with the cargo on a truck that led to an accident, such as a cargo shift or spill, the owners of the freight being shipped and/or the company responsible for loading the trailer may be responsible.
- Truck and parts manufacturers. If the truck itself or a defective part — brakes, tires, couplings, lighting, or engine components — failed because of how it was designed, and this failure contributed to an accident, a product liability claim may be possible.
- Governmental agency or contractors. If a defective road design or lack of maintenance contributed to a truck accident, the governmental agency responsible for that stretch of road may be held liable. This would include an incident in which a highway work zone contributed to a truck accident by not providing enough warning or room for a truck to slow down before entering the work area. The contractor responsible for a faulty work zone or dangerous roadway might be held responsible for its role in a crash.
Nevada’s trucking laws and federal regulations dealing with commercial trucks can make an accident case more complex. In a truck accident, numerous rules and regulations may be relevant to your case. Determining who was at fault for a truck accident and holding them accountable requires knowledge and experience with truck accidents and the trucking industry. The attorneys at Sam & Ash Injury Law in Las Vegas, Nevada, have the knowledge and experience to pursue a truck accident claim.
Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents
Among the most common causes of 18-wheeler accidents are:
- Driver fatigue. Truck drivers have specific Hours of Service regulations restricting their time behind the wheel. But they are often pressured to work overtime to meet unreasonable delivery deadlines.
- Speeding. Excessive speed is a factor in many deadly truck accidents. The time and space required for an 18-wheeler to stop increases as its speed increases. Higher speeds exponentially increase the force of impact in a collision.
- Overloaded trucks/cargo shifts. Truck drivers, trucking companies, and cargo owners are required to follow strict regulations when loading trucks. Rules govern cargo weight and how various types of loads must be secured. An overloaded truck is harder to stop and control in turns and on slopes. If cargo shifts, a trucker may lose control of the rig.
- Driving under the influence. Drug- and alcohol-related truck accidents are quite common despite drug testing and strict rules against drinking and driving. Many drivers overlook the impairing effects that certain prescription and over-the-counter medications can have on alertness.
- Lack of training. Today’s trucking industry is having a difficult time finding qualified drivers and other personnel. Many companies are being forced to hire less experienced employees. Lack of training can lead to driving errors as well as drivers or others ignoring safety rules and regulations.
Evidence Needed in an 18-Wheeler Accident
Sam & Ash Injury Law can investigate to determine who should be held responsible for an 18-wheeler accident. In addition to the police report, statements from witnesses, and accident scene evidence, we gather evidence that is unique to truck collision cases. This may include:
- Black box and in-cab camera data. A truck’s event data recorder (EDR) records a variety of information from just before a collision, including the truck’s speed, use of brakes or acceleration, gear shifts, steering trajectory, and more. Many trucks also have cameras in their cab, which may show what the truck driver was doing before the accident.
- Truckers are required to record information about how long they drive before taking a break and the length of their breaks.
- Gas, food, and lodging receipts may be compared to the trucker’s log to determine whether the driver really took breaks as recorded. The time stamps on the receipts may indicate violations of the FMCSA’s Hours of Service regulations.
- Cell phone records. A driver’s cell phone records can also indicate activity instead of mandatory sleep periods and can show where the driver and truck were at crucial moments relative to the accident. Records may show a trucker was illegally on the phone while behind the wheel.
- Texts or other communication between the truck driver and the trucking company could indicate whether the company was encouraging the trucker to drive extra hours.
- Maintenance records. Trucking companies must comply with FMCSA requirements for truck maintenance and keep records of work done.
- Trucker inspection records. Truck drivers are to inspect their trucks and cargo as they begin a trip, each day during the trip, and upon its conclusion. These records may show problems that were not addressed and what to examine more closely on the wrecked truck.
- Trucker’s personnel file. The truck driver’s personnel file should show their qualifications to drive a commercial truck, any medical conditions, driving infractions, drug or alcohol testing problems, inspection failures, or truck accidents in the record.
- Shipper documents. The shipping company could face liability if the cargo was loaded improperly, and this contributed to the accident.
It is important to move quickly to engage an attorney so the attorney can advise the truck owner of a pending claim and ask that they preserve certain evidence. To obtain access to a wrecked truck, we may need a court order. In some 18-wheeler accident cases, we enlist the aid of accident reconstruction specialists, whose forensic work can pinpoint and explain what caused a crash.
Average Settlement for an 18-Wheeler Accident Case
There is no way to know how much your 18-wheeler accident claim is worth at the outset. You will need to recover from your injuries to calculate your medical expenses accurately and their potential future impact on your life. As your attorneys, we would assess your costs and losses and pursue the full amount of compensation available.
In a typical claim, we seek compensation for:
- Medical care
- Long-term treatment and rehabilitation
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential if you were unable to work the same job or make the same income as before the accident
- Damage to your vehicle
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial expenses in a wrongful death case
Contact an 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Attorney in Las Vegas Today
If you have been injured in a crash caused by an 18-wheeler in Nevada, you should contact Sam & Ash Injury Law in Las Vegas as soon as possible. Our truck accident lawyers have helped thousands of accident victims just like you. We can identify everyone who is potentially liable for your injuries and serve as your advocates during this difficult time. We will fight to get What’s Right for you.
For a free review of your 18-wheeler accident and a potential claim, call us or contact us online now. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions. We do not charge a legal fee unless you receive a settlement or court award. You’ll only pay us if we recover money for you.