Tractor-trailers can be seen on nearly every American highway as well as smaller local roads. These are the trucks that drive our economy, bringing products from their growers and manufacturers to distribution centers where they are sorted, then sent out to the stores where they will be on shelves for consumers to buy. As the old saying goes, “if you bought it, a trucker brought it.”
Because tractor-trailers are such a common sight on American highways, drivers of cars and other passenger vehicles need to know how to safely coexist with them. Tractor-trailers weigh tens of thousands of pounds and when one is involved in a collision with a smaller vehicle, the result is often a fatal or permanent injury for the occupant of the smaller vehicle. Knowing how to share the road with tractor-trailers means knowing the special accommodations they need, such as a greater stopping distance and where their blind spots are located. It also involves an understanding of the accident types that are unique to tractor-trailers, such as jackknifing. If you are involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer, you could potentially suffer significant damages. Work with an experienced tractor-trailer attorney to determine how you can recover compensation for these damages through a personal injury claim.
How is a Tractor Trailer Accident Different From a Car Accident?
At first glance, tractor-trailer accidents can look very similar to car accidents. Both occur when a driver acts negligently and can result in significant damage to one or both of the individuals involved in the collision. Because of its larger size, a tractor-trailer is susceptible to different causes of accidents.
Seeking compensation in a tractor-trailer accident claim can also differ from seeking it in a car accident claim. When you are injured in a car accident, you may seek compensation for your damages from the negligent driver’s insurance provider. In a tractor-trailer accident, you need to determine whether the driver is an owner-operator and thus holds his or her own motor carrier’s insurance or an employee of a larger company, in which case he or she is insured by this company. You need to seek compensation from the correct insurance provider in order to recover for your damages.
Causes of Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Tractor-trailer accidents can occur at the result of a variety of causes. Sometimes, two or more of these factors causes an accident to occur.
Some of these causes are the same factors that cause car accidents, such as the following:
Driving while exhausted;
Failure to obey posted traffic signs and signals;
Adverse weather conditions; and
Poorly-maintained roadways, such as uneven pavement and potholes.
Other causes of accidents are unique to tractor-trailers because of their size and structure. These include:
Jackknifing, which occurs when the trailer moves away from the tractor and forms an acute angle. It is extremely difficult for the driver to regain control of the trailer when this occurs, which is often due to braking errors;
Underriding, which occurs when a smaller vehicle becomes caught under a tractor-trailer due to their height difference; and
Rollovers. Tractor-trailers have a sensitive center of gravity and because of this, are subject to falls and rolling over when they are not properly loaded. If the driver of an overloaded truck speeds or takes a turn too sharply, he or she can risk the truck rolling over and causing an accident.
What to Do If You Are Injured in a Tractor Trailer Accident
If you are involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer, pull off the road if it is safe to do so. If not, remain where you are. Check on all other individuals involved in the accident and if anybody is in need of immediate medical attention, call 911 to have an ambulance sent to the scene.
Next, call the police to have an officer dispatched to your accident. He or she will fill out the official police report, which you will need later as a piece of evidence for your personal injury claim. Do not leave the scene of the accident without this and contact information for any witnesses to the accident.
After leaving the scene, seek medical care as soon as possible. Not only will being proactive about your recovery make it easier for you physically, but it can aid in proving your claim’s validity.
Finally, contact an experienced Georgia tractor-trailer attorney to start working on your claim. Be sure to be proactive about this as well – in Georgia, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the accident.
Work with an Alpharetta Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a tractor-trailer accident in Georgia, work with an experienced personal injury lawyer to recover the compensation you deserve. Contact our team of tractor-trailer attorneys at Christopher Simon Attorney at Law to schedule your initial consultation with us to learn more about your rights and legal options.