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Blog > 2016 > December > 18-Wheeler Truck Accident: What to Do

18-Wheeler Truck Accident: What to Do

December 9, 2016
Truck Accident Lawyer

When an 18-wheeler is stopped in lane of traffic or parked by the roadside, there’s high tendency of any of these leading to a devastating type of accident which can lead to long-term injuries and most times, fatalities. The unalikeness between a vehicle and a mammoth truck is so large, so when a vehicle colides with an 18-wheeler, it’s more like hitting a brick wall. This extremely dangerous situation is now made worse when the 18-wheeler is not parked well or if its stopped at night and its trailer poorly illuminated. This article will talk about dealing with trucking companies and getting the most value out of your case if you turn out to be a victim.

Why do commercial trucks engage too much in accidents?

To explain it better, the only way a stopped or parked 18-wheeler can be considered partially liable or liable for an accident is if they have been parked negligently. Now to the big question; how do you determine when a 18-wheeler is stopped or parked in a negligent manner? Let me give you an instance: A semi-truck has already pulled over to the shoulder of a highway, but the trailer is still stuck in traffic. If eventually a car crashes into the trailer, then the semi-truck driver is likely to be found partially liable for the accident, since it was parked in an unsafe manner and that clearly contributed to the accident. However, take note of the key term to be “contribute,” because there will be instances where the 18-wheeler can be parked illegally but might not contribute to an accident. If an 18-wheeler truck is packed in a “compact car only” spot, even though illegal, but won’t really cause any accident in the same way as the first example I gave.

Below are some of the most common situations that have been handled in the past cases:

Though it isn’t right for them to, but 18-wheelers simply stop sometimes in the middle of the road and park. However, there are times when they break down and can’t move on. The law mandates that safety protocols go into effect the moment this happens. One of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulations states that when an 18-wheeler is parked on the roadway or a lane of traffic, the driver of the truck should set out triangular orange reflectors at 50 feet intervals. The reason for this is to warn other drivers coming through well ahead of time that there is a faulty 18-wheeler and is on or near their path. A lot of truck drivers however ignore these requirements and simply decide not to set out these warning devices. Other times, they do not have the required devices, probably because their employer failed to get one. As a result of this, anyone can easily drive and crash into the rear of the truck, and at the end killing the occupants or seriously injuring.

Another case is when the truck is disabled due to an accident that happened earlier and is still moving. This is quite common. Many cases have been litigated where, for instance, a truck was moving at a great speed and suddenly spun out or flipped over at a turn. By the time other drivers followed on the same stretch of roadway after the accident, they wouldn’t have the patience and time to stop, so eventually crash into the disabled truck. In most cases, it’s an issue of the 18-wheeler coming behind a car at a very close range. The law stands to hold any driver or company to account for the outcome of such accidents.

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