If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering. These cases can be complicated due to various trucking regulations, so you should hire an experienced trucking accident attorney. Our firm charges no legal fees until you receive a settlement or award. Call us toll free 24/7 or contact us online for a free consultation.

Rhode Island Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer

Tractor trailers, also known as 18-wheelers, are involved in approximately 500,000 accidents each year. Accidents involving automobiles and tractor trailers can be particularly dangerous because of the size variation between the two vehicles. These trucks tend to be the heaviest and largest vehicles on the road.

An Experienced Law Firm

The Law Offices of d’Oliveira & Associates have experience in pursuing tractor-trailer accident cases. In fact, one of our clients was injured in a rear-end collision with a tractor-trailer truck and the vehicle burst into flames. She suffered severe injuries including a fractured vertebra, lacerations, and burns. Our firm remained jointly responsible with another trial attorney, who settled the case for $1 million.

Causes of Tractor-Trailer Injuries

Large truck accidents occur for a number of reasons including: tire problems, negligence, use of alcohol and/or drugs, abrupt breaking, and issues with improper vehicle maintenance. Typically, large trucks travel at high speeds averaging around 70 miles per hour, which makes accidents on the road both more likely and more serious. Driver fatigue on the part of the large truck’s driver also increases the possibility of a crash on the road. Sometimes tractor trailer drivers are pressured into driving for extended periods in order to meet cargo shipping deadlines. Studies have shown that, after 8 consecutive hours of driving, a truck driver’s alertness and performance begin to decline significantly. When surveyed, many long-haul truck drivers have even reported falling asleep at the wheel at some point during a 30-day period. The long hours worked by tractor-trailer drivers can greatly impair other motorists’ safety.

Additionally, large truck accidents may occur if cargo falls off of the vehicle. Examples of cargo that might be likely to loosen and become detached from the vehicle include: gravel, logs, bricks, lumber, or other building products. This may cause the driver to lose control of his rig. Nearby motorists are likely to become severely injured if such loss of control occurs. Furthermore, truckers may not be complying with federal safety regulations in the securing of their products and cargo. The failure to properly distribute and adequately secure cargo may serve as grounds for a case against the trucking company and/or the truck driver.

As with all vehicles on the road, an accident can occur if large trucks are not inspected, repaired, or maintained properly. A tractor-trailer may not be able to stop suddenly to avoid hitting another car in front of it if the truck’s breaking system is not maintained properly. It is also important to make sure that all of the lighting devices on the commercial truck are working properly to enable the tractor-trailer to have full visibility and to be on notice if something unexpected appears during the drive.

The legal blood alcohol limit for tractor-trailer drivers is less than that for drivers of passenger cars. The legal limit for ordinary vehicle drivers is a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08. However, under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations the legal limit for commercial motor vehicle drivers is a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04. Commercial motor vehicle drivers are also prohibited from using certain controlled substances. These strict limits are imposed on large truck drivers because of the increased dangers presented by such vehicles. If a large truck hits a small vehicle on the road, the chance for severe injury is great. When alcohol or drugs enter the equation, this chance increases significantly. If the driver of a tractor-trailer has been drinking or engaging in drug use, such information is extremely important for any later legal case, as this conduct may have contributed to an accident on the road.

    Other common causes of truck accidents include:

  • Speeding
  • Tire blow outs
  • Overloaded commercial vehicles
  • Truck rollover
  • Failure to follow safety procedures
  • Unlicensed drivers
  • Equipment transportation
  • Cargo that shifts weight
  • Truck back-up/moving in reverse

Injuries from Tractor-Trailer Accidents

Tractor-trailer accidents can result in serious injuries including: neck and back injuries, loss of limb, brain injuries, and paralysis. Other serious injuries may also occur as a result of these types of accidents.

One out of every eight traffic related deaths involve tractor-trailer trucks. Over the past ten years, the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks increased by 10%. These vehicles are also referred to as large commercial trucks, semi-trucks, big rigs, or 18-wheelers. Such large trucks can weigh an astounding 80,000 pounds or more, whereas an average automobile weighs about 6,000 pounds. Additionally, the probability that a truck accident will be fatal or cause serious injury increases with each extra ton of weight over 80,000 pounds (i). Simply stated, the larger the truck, the greater the potential for harm in an accident.

In February 2005, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that an estimated 5,200 people were killed in accidents involving large trucks nationwide. Additionally, approximately 115,000 people nationwide were injured as a result of large truck accidents. The damage that can be done to small automobiles and their passengers can be devastating. Oftentimes the occupants of the automobile will die or suffer debilitating, life threatening injuries, while the truck driver escapes with relatively little injury, or none at all.

Contact the Law Offices of d’Oliveira & Associates

If you or a loved one has been involved in a tractor-trailer accident, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced trucking accident lawyer or a tractor-trailer accident lawyer. The personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of d’Oliveira & Associates would like to meet with you to discuss and investigate your accident. Our firm is working with some experienced trucking accident lawyers in the area, who can file a trucking accident lawsuit on your behalf and there are no fees unless we are successful.

Please contact the law offices of d’Oliveira & Associates at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out a contact form for a free legal consultation.

    Sources:

  • (i) RoadSafe America.
    http://www.roadsafeamerica.org/resources/truckingsafetystatistics.shtml