Car accidents are scary. Even when no one is seriously injured, the stress and frustration is overwhelming. But we all know and understand that transportation is necessary. We also know that means accidents will continue to happen. And when the other vehicle involved in an accident is a commercial truck, especially one that can weigh over 80,000 pounds, it’s easy to see why an 18-wheeler accident can quickly become deadly.
There is little dispute about the importance of commercial trucking in our economy. In fact, one common industry adage claims “if you bought it; A Truck Brought It!” These trucks are also very large. The average length ranges from 70-80 feet, but can reach lengths of 175 feet with special loads; the standard height is 13.5 feet tall with a wheelbase of 245-265 inches; the maximum legal weight, without special permits, is 80,000 pounds.
In contrast, the most popular car on the road, the Honda Accord, is around 16 feet long, 6 feet wide, less than 5 feet tall, and weighs around 3,000 pounds. The difference is striking and truly creates a David and Goliath scenario on the road. Yet, we know these trucks are vitally important and are not going away any time soon. Therefore, the need to regulate the industry and hold the drivers and companies accountable is more important than ever.
Large commercial vehicles, including 18-wheelers, are regulated by several governmental agencies. Most noteworthy among those is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The FMCSA provides rules and guidelines for commercial vehicle drivers and companies that they must follow in order to operate safely on our highways. Some of the most common failures we see are:
- Failure to follow hours-of-service regulation
- Failure to properly maintain vehicles
- Poor hiring, supervision, and retention practices
- Driver substance abuse
These rules are in place for a reason: to protect you and your family on the road. When drivers and companies try to skirt these rules, or fail to stay up-to-date with current regulations, they increase the likelihood of an 18-wheeler accident. As a result, more people could be injured or killed.
How we handle an 18-wheeler accident case
An 18-wheeler accident case can be complex and challenging, both for you, the victim, and for us as attorneys. That’s because the majority of the companies on the road today have been involved with accidents before and they know the system. Almost every 18-wheeler accident we handle has already been investigated by the carrier’s insurance company by the time we’re hired. They’ve obtained information and facts that are vitally important to the case. Therefore, one of our first steps is to send a preservation letter requesting the insurance company or the carrier maintain a record of any important information they obtain.
Our office then begins investigating the driver, the company, the accident scene, the vehicle, and any other relevant information. We visit the scene and interview witnesses so we can fully understand the causes of your accident. Time is critically important in an 18-wheeler accident case, and hiring an attorney you trust will help you and your case in the long run.
The attorneys at Fortune & Beard understand your pain and suffering. We understand the enormous stress that an 18-wheeler accident causes to families. And it’s because of that knowledge and understanding that we fight every, single day to ensure our clients are justly compensated for their injuries. For your free initial 18-wheeler accident consultation, call and speak to a Fortune & Beard 18-wheeler accident lawyer at 205-252-2222.