While the trucking industry plays a major role in our economy, and transports and delivers the goods and services we purchase every day, there are a significant number of accidents every year caused by large trucks, trucking companies, and truck drivers.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a semi crash, it’s in your best interests to contact a qualified Jackson truck accident lawyer immediately. We can investigate your truck accident claim and work towards getting you the maximum compensation you need to recover.
How Often Do Truck Accidents Occur?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were nearly 415,000 tractor-trailers involved in accidents all across the country in 2020. Of those crashes, 101,000 caused injuries, and 4,444 ended with fatalities. A number of those accidents occurred in Mississippi.
If you find yourself dealing with the aftermath of a Jackson, MS truck accident, it’s important to understand your legal options and rights. We understand that dealing with claims and insurance companies can be overwhelming, especially if you’re trying to focus on recovering from physical injuries and emotional trauma. We’re here for you. Let’s take a look at why so many devastating truck accidents happen.
Common Types of Truck Accidents That Occur in Jackson, MS
Our truck accident lawyers often assist clients who’ve been involved in a variety of different types of truck accidents, including the following:
These types of truck accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, including improper loading, speeding, and sudden braking, especially on wet, icy, or slick roads.
Crashes like these often cause the semi-truck to assume a “V” shape, whereby the tractor and trailer end up pointed in opposite directions, often obstructing multiple lanes of traffic. Motorists traveling alongside may easily become entangled in a truck accident when this happens.
There’s just enough room under the trailer portion of a big rig that most sedans can slide under them under just the right set of circumstances.
These types of accidents are most apt to happen at intersections if one party runs a red light, for example. They can also happen if a truck driver brakes suddenly, not giving a passenger car operator following them ample time to come to a full stop to avoid a collision.
Passenger cars often become stuck under the side portion or rear of the semi-truck. Depending on the circumstances, the truck crash may shear off the roof of the vehicle or the smaller automobile may end up being dragged, both of which can cause the passenger car occupants a personal injury or result in their wrongful deaths.
Tire blowouts, speeding and braking problems, shifts in loads, distractions, and other factors can all cause a trucker to lose control of their truck, crossing a center line or median and barreling into oncoming traffic. Small passenger cars don’t often fare well when a commercial vehicle collides with them, especially if one or both vehicles are traveling at a high rate of speed, or depending on the angle of the impact.
Collision damage to the front-end of an automobile can cause a fire, burning passenger vehicle occupants inside. Any impact that extends into the passenger compartment can cause blunt force trauma, resulting in internal organ damage, head injuries, and other life-altering impairments.
Blind Spot Accidents
Big rigs have various blind spots, including in front of, to the sides, and at the rear of the vehicle. Motorists are most apt to have collisions with 18-wheelers on highways when truckers go to make lane changes and don’t notice a driver is in their blind spot.
Accidents can also occur when truckers attempt to make a right turn and don’t notice a motorist or pedestrian curbside and strike them in the process. Anything happening immediately in front of or behind a truck in its blind spots may also be vulnerable to being struck.
This type of trucking accident can happen under similar circumstances as jackknife incidents. They often occur because of an unbalanced load, due to poor conditions caused by inclement weather, and speed.
It’s possible for an overturned truck to drop its load on the roadway, striking passenger cars or creating hazards motorists have to contend with. Additionally, a truck and its trailer can strike or fall on other drivers as it tumbles over on its side, also injuring anyone nearby.
Another all-too-common type of collision that truck accident lawyers at our Jackson, MS law firm often handle are rear-end ones. These often occur at stop signs or red lights due to distractions or delayed braking. Brake failures can also result in these.
Instances in which a rear-end truck accident occurs on the interstate can initially start out as a crash into a single vehicle but soon turn into a multi-car, chain reaction crash.
Federal law requires truck drivers to perform pre-trip inspections to ensure their trucks are roadworthy. Federal and state laws also require truck drivers to undergo physicals, consent to alcohol and drug testing, and follow hours of service regulations, which include designated rest periods, as a condition of their work as truckers.
All of these requirements (and others) aim to minimize the chances of truck drivers becoming entangled in crashes like the ones listed above. Truckers don’t often follow these requirements, though.
Causes of Truck Accidents in Jackson
The majority of semi crashes are entirely preventable when trucking companies and 18-wheeler drivers follow proper procedures set by the FMSCA. When federal or Mississippi law is not followed, truck wrecks are likely to happen.
Let’s take a look at the most common causes of tractor-trailer accidents in Mississippi. Those include:
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Commercial trucks cover a significant number of miles a day. As a result, fleet companies, truckers, and maintenance crews are required to regularly inspect their semi-trucks to ensure everything is in working order. Worn brake pads or a cracked windshield can cause major truck accidents.
Improper Cargo Loading
Commercial vehicles can haul incredibly heavy materials. There are, however, weight restrictions in place to ensure a large commercial truck is safe for travel. The maximum weight for a vehicle traveling on an interstate is 80,000 pounds. If that is exceeded, the semi-truck risks rolling over or damaging the road.
Unsafe Driving Practices
Unfortunately, not all commercial truck drivers are responsible and diligent behind the wheel. Some drivers try to multitask by using their phones or eating while driving. Instances of distracted driving-related incidents are high. Truckers may also speed, tailgate, neglect to use their headlights or turn signals when they’re needed, or fail to actively check their blind spots.
Truckers are often on tight schedules. As a result, they may think it’s wise to travel for extended periods of time without resting. Driver fatigue, however, can have a similar effect on the brain that alcohol does. It can significantly hinder the ability of a truck driver to focus and process their surroundings, as well as decrease their reaction time.
If a truck driver is inexperienced, they may not know how to properly handle their vehicle in rain, snow, or fog. These weather events can be difficult to drive through because of the heavy weight and slower stopping speeds associated with semis. Skidding, jackknifing, and hydroplaning are possible.
Why Truck Crashes Are So Severe
Truck accidents are much more dangerous than passenger car crashes for a number of reasons. If you’ve been in a trucking accident involving an 18-wheeler, it’s likely that many of the following circumstances apply to you:
While car accidents can result in life-changing injuries and even result in death, many victims are able to recover from what they’ve been through. Given the weight and size of commercial automobiles, a truck crash can be a serious accident.
Common truck accident injuries are often worse and require intensive medical care, resulting in hefty medical expenses. Severe injuries that may stem from truck accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Lost limbs
Increased Property Damage
Once again, the weight and size of tractor-trailers contribute to the difference between truck accidents and passenger vehicle wrecks. The smaller vehicle is likely to be totaled by a large commercial vehicle.
Greater Chance of Death
Because of the possibility of severe property damage and injuries, large truck accident victims face a greater chance of death when compared to accidents between two passenger vehicles. If you’ve wrongfully lost a loved one after a Jackson, MS truck accident, our personal injury attorneys can help.
Determining Liability After a Tractor-Trailer Crash
One of the first questions Jackson, MS truck accident lawyers like ours at Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC ask prospective clients during their initial free consultation is whether there are police reports. Truck accident attorneys ask this because they know that in personal injury cases like this, this is one of the first pieces of documentation that an insurance company will review to determine liability for a crash.
Also, insurance adjusters may try reaching out to you, as the truck accident victim, for your account of events. Insurance providers do this in hopes that you’ll say something that allows them to deny liability. After all, truckers’ policy limits can reach into the realm of millions of dollars. Since insurers are in a money-making business, they save money by denying liability at every opportunity possible.
It’s not uncommon for individuals who’ve suffered a personal injury in a collision to inquire about their truck accident case worth at their initial meeting with an accident lawyer like the ones at our law firm in Jackson, MS. That’s hard to answer if a truck accident lawyer from our office hasn’t yet:
- Assessed any statements you’ve made to insurers
- Learned more about your injuries
- Reviewed your medical bills
- Investigated the cause of your accident
- Secured information about the insurance coverage of the parties involved
You can expect a Jackson truck accident lawyer that you develop an attorney-client relationship with to conduct an investigation all their own into liability issues. Doing so will allow your lawyer to more effectively negotiate with insurers. Additionally, you can count on our experienced truck accident lawyers to calculate the entirety of the damages you’ve incurred, medical expenses included, when requesting a settlement to ensure you get the maximum compensation possible, minus attorney fees.
Who Can You Hold Liable for a Mississippi Truck Accident?
As with many personal injury cases, when you meet with a truck accident lawyer from our Jackson office, we’ll share how more than one party may be responsible for a tractor-trailer crash.
Your personal injury attorney from Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC may advise you that the following persons or entities could be considered liable depending on the results of the crash investigation:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Truck owner
- Truck manufacturer
- Company leasing the truck or trailer
Indicators of Negligence in Truck Accident Cases
One of the reasons our attorneys will need to investigate your crash independently is to understand which party was negligent. Each of the parties can be held fully or partially liable for the accident.
Some of the most common indications of negligence include:
- Failing to obey traffic laws
- Improper hiring or training practices
- Lack of experience
- Driving for too long without taking a break
At Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC, we can investigate your Jackson, MS truck accident to determine what went wrong so the negligent party can be held responsible for their actions.
Compensation You Can Recover in Mississippi Truck Accident Cases
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, you may be able to recover economic damages, including past and future medical expenses and lost wages or future earnings. You may also be able to seek compensation for non-economic losses, including pain and suffering, mental anguish, and losses of companionship or consortium (among others). A wrongful death lawsuit may also allow you to recover compensation for funeral and burial costs.
Statutes of Limitations for Mississippi Truck Driver Negligence Cases
The statute of limitations, or filing deadline, in Mississippi truck collision cases is three years. You may lose your opportunity to file suit and thus recover damages if you don’t file within this time frame.
Keep in mind that there are a few exceptions to the statute of limitations rule. An attorney from our office can let you know what those are.
Reach Out to a Jackson Truck Accident Attorney
Immediately following a semi-truck crash, it’s important to move yourself to a safe location and call emergency services. Law enforcement officers will investigate the scene, talk with you, and make a police report.
While this happens, you may need to receive medical treatment for your serious injuries. The sooner you seek medical attention, the better. After you’ve dealt with the initial crash, you should consider retaining the assistance of our Jackson truck accident lawyers at Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC.
Tractor-trailer crashes often involve complex issues of law related to commercial vehicles, their maintenance, trucking company policies, and more. An experienced truck accident attorney will fight for full and fair compensation to cover your current medical bills and future medical expenses. Never feel pressured to accept an initial settlement offer that’s likely low financial compensation.
Find out what we can do for you first. For a free consultation, contact our office today. We’ll take down a few pieces of information and schedule your free case evaluation with one of our Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC truck accident attorneys to discuss your Jackson, MS case right away.