18 Wheeler & Bus Accidents
Large trucks -- also called semis, Mack trucks, 18-wheelers, big rigs or tractor-trailers -- intimidate many drivers of smaller cars, and for good reason. Trucking accidents, or 18-wheeler accidents, can be catastrophic events. Because of the size of the tractor-trailers involved in these accidents, 18-wheeler crashes almost always involve more severe injury than other types of accidents. That means that in a crash between a large truck and a family vehicle, the smaller car or truck will almost always be crushed by the sheer force of the semi truck's weight and speed. Statistically speaking, 82% of all tractor-trailer wrecks result in fatal multi-vehicle collisions, which is far higher than the 59% rate for passenger-vehicle accidents. One out of every nine traffic fatalities in 2007 was caused by a tractor-trailer/semi truck or other large truck. When semi-truck accidents are fatal, it's typically not the truck driver that suffers; 75% of tractor-trailer-related fatalities are occupants of other vehicles. Nearly 5,000 fatalities and over 101,000 injuries were caused by large trucks in 2007.
All of this translates to 18-wheeler accidents and bus accidents being bad news for drivers of other vehicles. Unfortunately, while these types of traffic accidents are typically more severe, they're also more complicated to prosecute. To successfully litigate an 18-wheeler or bus crash, you need an experienced trucking and bus accident attorney.
Why 18-Wheeler Accidents are Challenging
Trucking accidents are difficult to litigate for a variety of reasons. First, these accidents typically involve more severe injuries. Any insurance company wants to pay as little as possible in an accident case, so more severe injuries make an insurer even less likely to pay - as 18-wheeler accident injuries typically cost a lot more to litigate than the average car accident.
Beyond the insurer resistance, though, 18-wheeler accidents are typically governed by federal laws and regulations - not state laws. Federal regulations are very specific about the rules for safe operation of semi-trucks for the express purpose of avoiding trucking accidents, but drivers are often not in compliance with these regulations.
Because federal regulations affect the litigation of a trucking accident, you don't just want any old personal injury attorney handling your case - you want a Mississippi 18-wheeler accident attorney who has real experience litigating tractor-trailer crashes, and who knows federal regulations. This is where Jared A. Kobs and Benjamin N. Philley come in. They're both experienced personal injury attorneys who can successfully navigate your 18-wheeler accident claim and get you the settlement you deserve.
Finally, determining liability or fault in an 18-wheeler accident case can be challenging. You're often dealing with multiple defendants in this type of injury case. You might be suing the driver of the semi-truck rig, but the driver might not own the truck, in which case you could be suing the owner, too. Particularly if you're dealing with a large trucking company, you'll find that most companies argue over who is actually liable for the accident, and you could find yourself on the hook with the driver who has no assets and no cash.
Jackson Trucking Accidents Cause Serious Injuries
It doesn't matter where you're driving - Ridgeland, Jackson, Madison, Canton, or the surrounding areas, or anywhere in Mississippi or the United States - 18-wheeler accidents can cause serious or catastrophic injuries. Big rigs are typically huge trucks that are carrying literally tons of cargo. Because these trucks are so big and weigh so much, it takes them longer to stop, and they carry a lot more force when they do get into an impact. What might be ample stopping distance for a car could be up to three times too short for a tractor-trailer to stop, which means the end result is that it plows into other traffic with a lot of force. This force typically causes far more severe injuries than other types of multi-vehicle accidents. Semi trucks only account for 4% of all vehicles registered, but they account for 8% of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes.
Catastrophic trucking injuries might include:
- Broken bones;
- Loss of limbs;
- Internal injuries;
- Back injury;
- Spinal cord injury;
- Head wounds;
- Brain injuries;
Generally, an 18-wheeler accident at highway speeds results in a combination of these catastrophic injuries, or fatality for the driver or passengers in the other vehicles.
Because of the severity of these injuries, the medical bills mount quickly. The total cost for 18-wheeler accident injuries could easily start at around $50,000, and could pass the $200,000 mark in cases of back injury, spinal cord injury, paralysis or other serious, long-term injuries.
Causes of Mississippi Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Many factors cause tractor-trailer accidents in Mississippi and around the country. Mechanical failure, loss of control, inadequate training of the truck driver, aggressive driving behavior, truck driver inexperience, or suddenly stopped traffic are big contributors to trucking accidents. A loss of control might occur because of:
- Overloaded trucks;
- Oversized trucks;
- Failure to yield;
- Tire blowouts;
- Poorly maintained truck brakes;
- Driving in conditions of poor traction due to bad weather or visibility conditions, including fog, snow, rain, or smoke;
- Truck drivers driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol
- Poor maintenance and mechanical upkeep.
Determining the cause of 18-wheeler wrecks is extremely important. Some of these causes may be the fault of the semi-truck owner, while others might be the fault of the driver. Things like speeding or a failure to yield typically come down to operator error, and the driver of the tractor-trailer is probably at fault. Things like mechanical problems, tire blowouts, poor maintenance or overloaded trucks are a bit more complicated; they could be the fault of the driver or of the owner, depending on how the responsibility for the truck is handled.
Federal regulation is very strict about how much time truck drivers can spend on the road, because fatigue is another major factor in trucking accidents, injuries and fatalities. Truck drivers who fall asleep at the wheel cause thousands of 18-wheeler accidents every year.
Some trucking accidents are also caused by drunk driving. Truckers are regular people, too, and it's a hard lifestyle; sometimes truckers turn to alcohol or illegal drugs and then get behind the wheel. These cases typically go beyond civil liability and include a criminal case, as well.
Ultimately, the cause of a truck accident is important when determining liability, but injured parties don't particularly care why they've been hit by a tractor-trailer; just that they've been involved in a catastrophic accident. After a collision of this magnitude, most trucking accident victims just want to focus on healing from their injuries, and getting back to their normal lives.
Trucking accident lawyers Jared A. Kobs and Benjamin N. Philley can help. Let these experienced 18-wheeler attorneys litigate your case, so you don't have to worry about anything except your recovery. If you or a family member has been injured in a tractor-trailer crash, call Kobs & Philley, PLLC, for a free consultation. Take advantage of our NO OBLIGATION, FREE CONSULTATION. Ask us questions. We will provide straight answers and explain what we can do for you and how we can help you during this stressful time. You can contact us online or call us today at 601-856-7800 or 1-877-856-0330 for a FREE CONSULTATION.
No Upfront Money is Required.
TRUCKING ACCIDENT RESOURCES
- Truck Safety Coalition
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCS)
- Analysis & Information Online
- Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks
- Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests
- Rules & Regulations
- Part 383 - Commercial Drivers License Standards: Requirements & Penalities
- Part 390 - General Requirements and Information
- Part 391 - Qualification of Drivers and Longer Combination Vehicle Driver Instructors
- Part 392 - Driving of commercial motor vehicles
- Part 393 - Parts and accessories necessary for safe operation
- Part 395 - Hours of service of drivers
- Part 396 - Inspection, repair and maintenance
- SAFER - Safety and Fitness Electronic Records System
- U.S. Department of Transportation
- Federal Highway Administration