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Accidents involving 18-wheelers can lead to catastrophic injuries. Due to their size and weight, 18-wheelers are subject to certain federal and state mandates.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Zinda Law Group New Mexico truck accident attorneys can help investigate your accident, explain the legal process, and help get you started on your 18-wheeler accident lawsuit. Call (800) 863-5312 to speak with a Zinda Law Group truck accident attorney today.
WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER A TRUCK ACCIDENT?
Victims of trucking accidents are likely to be hurt, confused, or disoriented in the immediate aftermath of a wreck. Understanding ahead of time what to do in the event that you are involved in a trucking accident may help preserve not only your health but also the safety of others, as well as your legal rights. Listed below are several steps that you should take following a trucking accident.
1. Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Given the sheer size of eighteen wheelers and semi-trucks, it should come as no surprise that trucking accidents have the potential to lead to serious injury. Examples of such consequences include traumatic brain injury, permanent spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and even death.
If any of these injuries arise after a wreck, the need for immediate medical attention is apparent. However, it is important to remember that medical attention should be sought even after accidents that seem minor. This is because the effects of an automobile accident may take hours or even days to manifest. Seeking prompt medical attention will help increase your chances of recovering as quickly and efficiently as possible.
2. Report the Accident
Another step you should take following a trucking accident is to report the accident to local law enforcement as soon as possible. You can report the accident immediately after it happens if you are feeling well enough to do so, or you can wait until after you have received medical attention.
Reporting the accident is important because it will create an official record of the accident which may later be used as evidence to support your claim. Reporting the accident may also put the truck driver or his or her employer on notice of unsafe driving and may cause them to implement safer driving practices immediately.
When filling out the report, be sure to include as many details as you can remember, such as the date, time, and location of the accident, how the collision occurred, the injuries and vehicular damage sustained as a result of the crash, and whether there were any witnesses to the accident.
3. Document the Accident
One of the most important but overlooked steps to take following a trucking accident is to document the accident by keeping all paperwork, records, and other materials relating to the accident. Examples of items that should be held on to include copies of the police report, witness statements, medical bills, photographs of your injuries, and photographs of your damaged vehicle.
Keeping these documents in an organized folder at your home, office, or other safe location may make it easier for you to recall the details of your accident and can expedite the claims process. More importantly, these documents may also serve as evidence to substantiate the value of your claim.
4. Call an 18-wheeler accident attorney
Before speaking with insurance companies or agreeing to a claim settlement, contact a truck accident lawyer for a brief consultation regarding your accident. A lawyer may engage in a comprehensive review of the facts of your case and provide legal advice regarding what rights and remedies may be available to you. If necessary, an attorney may also negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to ensure that you receive the full value of your claim. If a settlement agreement cannot be reached, an attorney may file a lawsuit against the necessary parties.
TRUCK ACCIDENT STATISTICS
Accidents involving 18-wheelers may lead to catastrophic injuries and fatalities. Unfortunately, these types of accidents are not uncommon.
Nationwide Truck Accident Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has published findings on motor vehicle fatalities in 2019. In total, there were 36,096 total fatalities in the United States in 2019. Of those deaths, 892 were occupants of a large truck.
New Mexico Truck Accident Statistics
In 2018, there were 2,658 accidents involving heavy trucks in New Mexico. This number accounts for 5.7% of the total number of crashes in the state. Of the total accidents involving heavy trucks, there were a total of 60 fatalities. This number accounts for 15% of the total motor vehicle fatalities.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you should contact an experienced 18-wheeler accident attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Zinda Law Group has the experience and knowledge necessary to help you in your truck accident case and are available to explain the 18-wheeler personal injury laws in New Mexico. We may be available to discuss your case, file your claim, and negotiate on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve.
CAUSES OF TRUCK ACCIDENTS
18-wheelers are significantly heavier and longer than passenger vehicles. Getting into an accident with one of these vehicles may then cause severe injury or even death. Below are examples of common causes of 18-wheeler truck accidents.
Accidents involving a commercial vehicle and passenger vehicle are not always the fault of the semi-truck driver. Drivers of passenger vehicles may sometimes fail to understand the maneuverability of 18-wheelers. For example, large trucks take significantly more time to slow down when compared to smaller vehicles. Large commercial vehicles also tend to take wider turns than passenger vehicles. When you are on the road, it is important to give semi-trucks ample space to stop or turn.
DUI or Drugs
Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is always a bad decision. However, the consequences of doing so while driving a commercial vehicle may be even more costly. Large trucks can weigh over 20,000 pounds and may be towing large cargo. Due to their size and weight, injuries resulting from an accident from one of these vehicles can cause devastating loss.
Truck accidents may be caused by human error, such as distractions or mistakes. There are limitless numbers of distractions available to any driver at any time. Truck drivers who have been on the road for many hours may begin to feel tired or bored. These drivers may then be looking for distractions to occupy their time. For example, they may begin texting, playing games, or reading articles on their phone. If a truck driver is distracted, he or she may fail to see hazards in the road, pedestrians, or other drivers, resulting in an accident.
Another example of human error is the failure to use defensive driving techniques. Commercial vehicles are much heavier than passenger cars. Therefore, it takes large trucks a longer amount of time to slow down. Truck drivers may cause an accident if they fail to keep a safe distance from other vehicles, are impatient with slower drivers, or fail to use turn signals.
LAWS INVOLVING COMMERCIAL VEHICLES
Commercial vehicles are larger and more dangerous than the typical passenger vehicle. It is not surprising, then, that commercial vehicle drivers are held to a higher standard than the typical driver. The United States federal government has put forth certain guidelines and laws that commercial drivers must abide by. Below are examples of 18-wheeler personal injury laws in New Mexico.
Commercial Driver’s License
Commercial truck drivers are required to hold a special commercial driver’s license (or “CDL”). Driving an 18-wheeler requires special skills and knowledge. In order to get this license, the driver must pass certain tests and physical requirements. If you were injured in an accident involving a large truck and the driver does not have a valid CDL, you may be able to prove that the driver was not mentally or physically capable of operating the vehicle. This may aid you in showing fault and help get you compensation in your truck accident lawsuit.
Read More: New Mexico Commercial Trucking Laws
Every commercial vehicle driver is required to keep a logbook. Drivers must track his or her working status for each 24-hour period. The daily log must include certain information, such as the date, daily miles driven, and vehicle number. The number of hours a commercial driver can work is strictly monitored. If you were involved in an accident and the other driver failed to keep a logbook or has booked too many working hours, it may help to show liability. An overworked or fatigued commercial driver may make mistakes, resulting in accidents and injury to other drivers.
Vehicle Weight Standards
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are federal regulations on the size and weight of a commercial vehicle. These national weight standards apply to all commercial vehicles on the Interstate Highway System. Individual states may also set their own commercial weight standards when the vehicle is off the Interstate Highway System. The federally mandated maximum weight standards are:
- 20,000 pounds for single axle vehicles
- 34,000 pounds for tandem axle vehicles
- 80,000 pounds for gross vehicle weight
If you were injured by a vehicle that exceeded these maximum standards, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Zinda Law Group personal injury attorneys are available to discuss the 18-wheeler personal injury laws in New Mexico and may help you with your case. Our experienced attorneys may help you in all aspects of your lawsuit. We can help investigate your accident, determine who is at fault, negotiate on your behalf, and much more. Contact us today for a free consultation.
If you have been involved in a large truck accident, you may be entitled to different kinds of compensation. Zinda Law Group attorneys may be able to help. Below are examples of the different types of compensation, or “damages” that you may be entitled to.
Economic damages are those damages that can be easily calculated by adding up hospital bills, invoices, or other receipts. Economic damages are meant to compensate the victim for any actual losses. These damages are objective and may include surgical costs, pharmaceutical bills, property damage, and physical therapy costs.
The second type of compensation is referred to as “non-economic” damages. Non-economic damages are more subjective than economic damages and are not easily put into monetary value. These damages may include pain and suffering, disfigurement, or disability.
Punitive damages are uncommon and should not be expected in every case. These types of damages are not meant to compensate the victim but are designed to punish the wrongdoer and to deter others from making the same mistakes. These damages are typically given in addition to economic and non-economic damages.
Zinda Law Group personal injury attorneys are here to discuss what your case might be worth. We have the experience necessary to fight on your behalf and can help get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
ZINDA LAW GROUP ATTORNEYS MAY HELP YOU
If you have been injured by an 18-wheeler, we may be able to help. Zinda Law Group attorneys are available to discuss your case and explain the 18-wheeler personal injury laws in New Mexico. We understand that you and your family may be experiencing hefty medical bills and property damage. Therefore, you will not pay us a thing until we get compensation in your case. We are here to help you through this difficult time.
Zinda Law Group’s New Mexico personal injury attorneys have the experience necessary to help with your truck injury lawsuit. We are able to explain the legal process, investigate your case, negotiate on your behalf, and much more. We have the experience and knowledge necessary to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries and property damage. Call us today to set up your 100% free consultation. You do not pay us a thing unless we win your case. That is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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