Size matters, especially when your 5,800-pound Toyota Highlander is sharing the roadway with a 70,000-pound tractor-trailer. Passenger vehicles generally come out on the losing end of collisions involving a large truck. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 3,757 people were killed in nationwide crashes involving large trucks during calendar year 2011.
Large trucks are classified as having 10,000+ pounds gross weight vehicle rating (GVWR). Motor carriers ranging from tractor-trailers to UPS delivery trucks qualify as large trucks. Of the 188,132 total crashes reported for Indiana in 2011, 2,074 involved large trucks. Indiana Traffic Safety Facts indicates the state followed the 2011 national data trend with respect to large truck crashes:
- Total fatal crashes involving large trucks – 143 fatal crashes
- Single-vehicle – 19 fatal crashes
- Multi-vehicle – 124 fatal crashes
- Total injury crashes involving large trucks – 1,931 injury crashes
- Single-vehicle – 292 injury crashes
- Multi-vehicle – 1,639 injury crashes
Crashes caused by truckers vary in point-of-origin from failure to perform safety checks and driver fatigue, to factors like cell phone usage and speeding. The trucking industry has vast resources when it comes to defending their drivers. Their insurance adjustors often behave like vultures, swooping down on injured victims or grieving families attempting to get them to quickly settle any current or future claim against the trucker or trucking company before they’ve had an opportunity to consult with an attorney.
Trucking company insurance adjustors are not you’re friend, and they’re hoping you’ll be intimidated by their talk of lost income, medical bills or funeral expenses. They’re simply protecting the trucking company knowing a lawsuit for personal injury, wrongful death, or other damages can bring you a much larger award than the settlement they’re offering. An experienced litigator possesses deep knowledge of the complex intermingling of state and federal laws and regulations associated with trucking industry lawsuits. Your lawyer is on your side.
Don’t fall for insurance adjustor tactics. If you, or a loved one, have been injured as a result of a trucking accident, please contact a licensed attorney before you sign-off on an insurance settlement.