18 Wheeler Accidents

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18 Wheeler Accidents

First and foremost, Indiana sits in the middle of the country. 18-wheelers are also known as semi-trucks, big rigs or tractor-trailers. They routinely pass through Indiana with their big loads. Unfortunately, given the large number of 18-wheelers on Indiana roadways, 18-wheeler accidents often occur. Moreover, 18-wheeler accidents happen often because of their size and weight. Consequently, these accidents cause serious injuries to other drivers.

Does This Sound Like Your Accident?

Consider this. A fully loaded 18-wheeler was traveling on Rt. 74 in a snow storm. Traffic was fairly heavy but moving at or below the speed limit. The 18-wheeler hit a patch of ice. As a result, the cab of the 18-wheeler started to skid. However, the trailer continued going straight. As such, the trailer actually pushed the rear of the cab further out. As a result, the 18-wheeler jackknifed.

Ultimately, the now jackknifed 18-wheeler skidded across the highway, crashing into a divider. Then the trailer then rolled over. Consequently, its contents spilled over the highway. In addition, several cars also skidded off the highway as they attempted to avoid the spilled cargo and each other.

What Types of 18-Wheeler Accidents Occur in Indiana?

As stated above, given the large number of 18-wheelers on Indiana roadways, there are many types of 18-wheeler accidents that happen in Indiana.Consider how typical rollovers can occur with devastating consequences. For instance, if a driver is speeding on a curved ramp, then a rollover can occur. Furthermore, if the shipping company put too much cargo in the trailer, or did not properly secure the load, a rollover can be the result.

In the example above, an 18-wheeler jackknifed. That can happen when the cab of the truck loses traction. The cab starts to skid. However, the trailer continues forward. Consequently, the trailer pushes the cab from behind. This causes the cab to skid to the side even more. As a result, the 18-wheeler jackknifes.

Other types of 18-wheeler accidents are:

  • Rear-end collisions
  • Multi-truck accidents
  • T-bone accident
  • Backing-up collisions

Indeed, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that there were 13.5 fatal large truck crashes per million people in the United States in 2018, a 27 percent increase from 10.6 in 2010. Furthermore, in 2018, on average, there were 1.12 fatalities in fatal crashes involving large trucks. Additionally, in 90 percent of those crashes, there was only one fatality. Lastly, the majority, 82 percent, of fatalities were not occupants of the large truck.

In the event an 18-wheeler accident injures you or a loved one, contact a knowledgeable Indiana 18-wheeler accidents attorney to assist you.

What Causes 18-Wheeler Accidents in Indiana?

As with other motor vehicles, 18-wheeler accidents happen in Indiana for many reasons:

Driver fatigue

Frequently, driver fatigue causes 18-wheeler accidents. In fact, federal trucking rules require drivers to take regular rest breaks. However, driver fatigue means more than falling asleep at the wheel. For example, driver fatigue can result in lowered reaction time. Additionally, the driver can be easily distracted and be unaware of dangerous road conditions.

Speeding

Frequently, speeding causes 18-wheeler accidents. 18-wheelers are large trucks. Obviously, they cannot stop as fast as smaller vehicles on the road. Speeding can result in collisions with other vehicles. In addition, speeding on a curved road can result in a rollover.

Tow hitches

Tow hitches connect the trailer to the cab. The trailer can detach from the cab if the tow hitch fails. 18-wheelers also have to have safety chains connecting the cab and the trailer. However, if the safety chains do not work, the trailer will continue down the road on its own.
Tow hitches can fail because of wear and tear. Additionally, they can be defective or improperly installed.

Improper loading

Furthermore, the trucking company or shipping company must properly load the the 18-wheeler. For instance, improperly loaded cargo can shift inside the trailer on curved roads or ramps. As a result, the center of gravity of the cargo shifts. In that case, the 18-wheeler can rollover.

Other Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents:

  • Adverse weather conditions
  • Mechanical failure
  • Hazardous road conditions
  • Defectively designed roads
  • Tire blow outs
  • Headlight defects
  • Brake failure
  • Drunk/impaired driving

Remember, fully loaded 18-wheelers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Comparatively, most passenger cars weigh 2,000 to 3,500 pounds. Therefore, 18-wheelers cannot stop as quickly as passenger cars and lighter vehicles on the road.
Furthermore, 18-wheeler drivers have no control over other drivers who may drive negligently near the 18-wheeler. As a result, 18-wheeler accidents happen because of other negligent drivers.

Who Can be Held Liable if You Are Injured in an Indiana 18-Wheeler Accident?

In fact, multiple parties can be held liable for injuries you receive in an Indiana 18-wheeler accident:

  • 18-wheeler driver-If the driver was speeding or driving while intoxicated and causes an accident, injured persons can sue him
  • Owner of the 18-wheeler-Certainly, injured parties can sue the owner of the 18-wheeler for the negligent driving of his employee-driver. Alternatively, parties injured because the 18-wheeler was not properly maintained or inspected can sue the owner
  • Manufacturer of the defective vehicle, tires, or other parts-If the parties were injured in an accident caused by defective parts or equipment, they can sue the manufacturer of those parts or equipment
  • Loader or shipper who put an overweight load in the 18-wheeler-If an overweight or improperly secured load in the truck caused the accident, those people injured in the accident can sue the shipping company

Who Else is at Fault in 18-Wheeler Accidents?

Other motorists can drive their vehicle negligently. As a result, they can cause the 18-wheeler to roll over or jackknife. Injured parties can sue those motorists

Lastly, an 18-wheeler accident can be caused by a defectively designed or maintained roadway. Injured persons may sue the government agency responsible for the design and/or maintenance of the road

Every 18-Wheeler Accident is Unique.

In fact, an experienced Indiana 18-wheeler accident attorney will know how to investigate the accident. Furthermore, that attorney will preserve the relevant evidence. Additionally, that attorney will know when to hire an expert to examine the 18-wheeler or reconstruct the accident itself to determine where fault lies.

What Kind of Injuries do People Get in Indiana 18-Wheeler Accidents?

  • Soft tissue-Often, sprains, bruises and contusions are common injuries in 18-wheeler accidents
  • Bone fracture-Unfortunately, drivers and passengers in cars involved in 18-wheeler accidents suffer fractures of legs and arms
  • Concussions-Notably, the impact of a collision with a fully loaded 18-wheeler jostles people in smaller vehicles. As a result, they can be whipped around. In addition, their heads can strike the interior of their car. Frequently, concussions are the result

What are some Other Injures Caused by 18-Wheeler Accidents?

  • Shoulder, back and neck sprains/strains
  • Burns
  • Internal organs
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Amputations
  • Spinal cord/paralysis
  • Wrongful death

Since a fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, accidents involving 18-wheelers can result in major injuries, leading up to death.

In reality, serious injuries in 18-wheeler accidents can mean hospitalization and multiple follow-up visits to a doctor. Likewise, treatment for some injuries above will also require a course of physical therapy or chiropractic treatment.

Experienced and Knowledgeable Indiana 18-Wheeler Accidents Lawyer

If an 18-wheeler accident has injured you or a loved one, you need an experienced Indiana 18-wheeler accidents attorney. As you can see from the above, an accident involving an 18-wheeler is likely more complicated that an accident involving passenger cars. Therefore, we will investigate the accident. Then, we will determine who caused the accident. Lastly, we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us at our Hammond office at 219-200-2000 or online at alexmendozalaw.com for a free consultation.

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