It does not matter if you live in New Jersey or Florida, motorists need to keep watch for the big rigs that share their roads. Truck accidents are collisions involving large vehicles (gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds). Typically, these include semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers or other commercial vehicles. Since they are tremendously larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, collisions involving large trucks have greater likelihood of causing catastrophic damage.
Large truck accidents are physically and financially devastating to the drivers and other occupants of vehicles involved. However, if found liable, it is also financially devastating for the trucking and insurance companies involved. Therefore, in the aftermath of a truck accident, trucking and insurance companies often send representatives in an effort to resolve quickly at the scene of the accident, and such tactics apply pressure on traumatized victims and affect their ability to make important decisions.
The number of collisions involving these large vehicles has increased by 10% in the last decade. While federal and state safety laws and regulations have been enacted to regulate these large vehicles in recent years, they still account for a disproportionate percentage of collisions. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2003, while large trucks constituted only 3.4% of all registered vehicles, they were involved in 6.9% of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes and caused 11.6% of all motor vehicle related fatalities. As a result, 4,986 were killed and 122,000 were injured; however, only 14% of those killed and 23% of those injured were occupants of large trucks.
Truck accidents are not simply big car accidents; the seriousness of the accidents and the extent of the damages are typically much greater; the federal and state laws and regulations are unique and complex and require experience and expertise. In addition, truck accidents often involve a greater number of parties. For example, trucking companies often contract with independent employment companies to provide them with trained and qualified drivers. Furthermore, trucking equipments such as tractors and trailers are often leased from independent vendors, and vendors or contractors often provide maintenance, repair and inspection of the equipments. Most trucking and insurance companies have ample amount of experience and expertise in resolving these accidents and it is imperative that you retain aggressive and experienced truck accident attorneys to represent you.