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We all understand the role big rigs play in our lives. None of us would have the goods we depend on daily—food, medications, clothing, fuel, and more—without them. Entire businesses depend on the trucking industry to bring them raw materials, our retail stores depend on them to transport the goods we purchase; we cannot understate the importance of trucks.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), more than 14 million trucks are registered and operating legally on roadways across the United States. It should come as no surprise to most of us that trucks account for more than 100,000 accidents annually across the United States.

When an accident involving an 18-wheeler injures you or a loved one, you will have many questions. In addition, the facts could complicate filing an insurance claim: Many accidents occur because of equipment failure, and this could result in liability issues for the parts manufacturer, maintenance personnel, or the driver’s employer.

Contact a 18-wheeler accident attorney at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for a free consultation. and let us guide you through the process of filing a truck accident claim.

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We Get Results When Pursuing Truck Accident Claims

We have secured numerous settlement agreements and awards for our truck accident clients.

Some settlements we have resolved include:

  • $3.2 million semi-truck accident resulting in brain injury
  • $1.75 million truck accident – shoulder surgery with mild TBI

Keep in mind, we cannot guarantee any particular outcome when there are victims who have suffered injuries.

18-Wheeler Attorneys

Our experienced 18-wheeler accident lawyers will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of your crash and build a strong case for maximum compensation.

Truck Accident Victims Can Suffer Catastrophic Injuries

Any roadway accident can be fatal. Depending on the speed of the vehicles involved, the size of the vehicles, and even the age and overall health of the victims, the injuries one can suffer vary greatly.

Some of the serious injuries a truck accident victim may suffer include:

  • Back and neck injuries – Even a minor fender bender can leave a victim with injuries to their back and neck. One seemingly mild form of a neck injury is whiplash. While whiplash may sound like it would go away in a short time, the pain and other issues associated with whiplash can last for months or even years.
  • Head trauma – Victims of truck accidents may strike their heads on steering wheels, dashboards, and even windshields. Some victims suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBI), which can have a devastating impact on the victim for the rest of their lives. Some victims never recover from TBI.
  • Broken bones – It will come as no surprise victims of a truck accident may suffer broken bones. The weight and size of a truck put passengers and drivers in cars at a greater risk of broken bones. Pelvis, arms, legs, and backs are not unheard of in accidents.
  • Internal injuries – Internal bleeding is one potential issue that every truck accident victim must be concerned about. However, the impact of a tractor-trailer accident could also cause internal organs such as the liver, bladder, or spleen to rupture, and would require immediate emergency surgery to prevent death.
  • Spinal cord injuries – These types of injuries can lead to permanent paralysis for victims. This is one reason why victims of a truck accident and those who are at the scene to help seldom move victims without the aid of backboards and neck braces. Spinal cord injuries are common in roadway accidents.

Unfortunately, in some cases, victims lose their lives in truck accidents. If your family recently suffered the loss of a loved one, Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit.

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Determining Fault for an 18-Wheeler Accident

Determining fault following any roadway accident can be complicated. However, when a trucker is involved, it becomes even more difficult.

Other possible responsible parties include:

  • Trucker’s employer – If the trucking company failed to professionally train a driver, or they hired a driver without running a thorough background check, you may hold them liable for any injuries you sustained.
  • Parts manufacturer – Failing brakes and blown-out tires can cause accidents. If these parts failed and resulted in an accident, the manufacturer of the parts may be partially liable for injuries.
  • Other drivers – Another car, truck, or motorcycle may have started the problem on a roadway which led to the accident. In these cases, you may deal with multiple insurance companies, an uninsured driver, or even a rideshare company.

There is never a simple answer to establishing fault in any accident and this is especially true when one of the vehicles is an 18-wheeler.

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Collecting Damages Following a Truck Accident

Distracted driving, drowsy driving, driving under the influence, faulty mechanics, and speeding can all cause horrific injuries as well as damage to your car. Truck accident damages range widely depending on several factors including the extent of the victim’s injuries, the type of impact, and the long-term health outcomes for the victim.

Some of the damages which you may include in your claim include:

  • Medical costs associated with injuries – Medical costs can spiral out of control following a truck accident. Victims not only require immediate emergency medical attention but may also require weeks or months of follow-up care. Medical costs include not just in-patient care, but also covers other types of medical care including follow-up care with your primary physician, rehabilitation costs, medication including antibiotics for infection and pain medications, travel to and from doctors’ appointments, and medical equipment like wheelchairs, braces, and crutches. Speak with your attorney about all areas where you might be entitled to costs associated with your medical care.
  • Wages today and in the future – If you are going to be out of work for an extended time, what will happen is your lost wages will have to be estimated. If your earning capacity declines because of your injuries, you will need to calculate your losses. This will require the work of outside experts to determine.
  • Additional areas for claims – There may be other expenses that you may include in your truck accident claim such as payment to outside parties for assistance while you recover. For example, if you cannot take care of housework, yard work, or you can’t care for a child while you are recovering, it may mean you have to hire someone to perform these tasks on your behalf. You may recover these costs.
  • Property damage claims – The vehicle you were traveling in at the time of the accident likely suffered serious damages when you collided with a truck. Other property, including your cell phone or other devices in your vehicle, was also damaged. You may include the value of this property in your claim.

Having a baseline amount that you will accept can help your 18-wheeler accident lawyer determine a reasonable final settlement.

Understanding Insurance Claims Following 18-Wheeler Accidents

You may think your best bet is to file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company and let the chips fall where they may. However, this is a bad approach since insurance companies are going to use several tactics to pay as little as possible on a claim. Insurance companies have lawyers who are working on their behalf. They will use numerous tactics to minimize your claim, and there is a good chance they will deny your claim outright.

Remember, the last thing they want to do is hurt their bottom line by paying out a claim. When you live in a state that has no-fault insurance, your claim goes through your own insurance company unless certain conditions exist. Speak with your truck accident attorney at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA to determine what process is applicable in your state.

Another possible issue you should be aware of when filing a truck accident injury claim is dealing with multiple insurance companies. This can happen when multiple parties are determined to be partially at fault for the accident. In these cases, there is a chance the insurance adjusters will be communicating among themselves and will band together to offer you a less than ideal settlement.

They can accomplish this by:

  • Telling you this is the last offer – Never assume when an insurance company adjuster tells you they will not make an additional offer that the negotiations are over. Instead, let your lawyer know. Remember, insurers want to make you feel you have no additional options, and they will offer you a low settlement in hopes you will accept the offer.
  • Telling you they need a recorded statement – Never offer to give a recorded statement. They do this to take your words out of context—and insurance adjusters are well-trained in how to get victims to give damaging responses.
  • Requesting full medical records – One of the most common tactics used by insurance companies is asking you to sign a release for medical records. Victims automatically assume the request for medical records is to see what injuries they sustained. However, there is a good chance they will be asking for all your medical records to see if they can claim your injuries existed before the truck accident.
  • Mailing you a check to settle a claim – Insurance companies will mail a check to a victim of a truck accident in the hopes they will cash the check. Once you cash that check, the insurance company has no responsibility to reimburse you for any additional costs. This how the insurance company keeps its costs down when settling claims.

Insurance companies are not interested in representing their clients unless it is to help them demonstrate someone else might be liable for the injuries you have sustained. Do not answer questions or give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster without speaking with your attorney beforehand. Never give an insurance adjuster or agent anything except the facts associated with an accident and do not sign any documents without first having them reviewed by an attorney.

Understanding the Cost of Truck Accident Lawyers

Victims who were in an 18-wheeler accident, and family members who have lost a loved one in a truck accident often feel they can represent themselves and not worry about hiring an attorney. However, you may fare better if you work with a skilled attorney who has experience handling these types of complicated claims.

A truck accident attorney offers a free consultation for victims who suffered an injury. This consultation can help you understand your options and the laws in your state. Once the consultation concludes, your attorney can help you understand the fees associated with hiring them to represent your interests during this challenging time.

We also work on a contingency basis. This means that if you decide to hire us to represent you, we will not collect attorney fees for legal services unless we can secure a settlement or award on your behalf.

If an 18-wheeler accident injured you, or a loved one died in a truck accident, contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA as soon as possible to find out your options.

18-wheeler truck accident case

Truck Accident FAQs

Truck accidents are terrifying and amid the chaos surrounding the accident scene, a thousand questions are probably swimming through your mind. While it is challenging to answer every question an 18-wheeler accident victim may have, Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has prepared some answers to some of those our clients ask most frequently.

What should I do immediately following an 18-wheeler accident?

Generally, if you can physically do so, at the accident scene gather as much information as possible. This includes the names and contact information of witnesses, photographs of the scene of the accident including damage to the vehicles and injuries involved. In addition, obtain information for the other drivers, including names, license numbers, registration information, and insurance information. Once you have all of this information, you must get medical attention.

Why get medical attention if I feel uninjured after a truck accident?

Not getting proper medical attention following a truck accident is a mistake. Often, victims report feeling fine only to discover they have life-threatening injuries such as internal bleeding. No matter how you feel following an 18-wheeler accident, always go to the emergency room or see your own doctor immediately after the accident. This step will also assist you with your insurance claim and could save your life as well.

What should I tell my insurance company?

Naturally, you want to report any accident to your insurance company. However, before you do, there are some basics you should know:

  • Do not give a recorded statement – These may be used out of context to minimize or deny your claim. Remember, if you agree to provide a recorded statement, the insurance company will scrutinize every answer and use the information you provide to hold you partially liable for the accident.
  • Stick to the facts of the accident – Do not elaborate about the accident or the possible causes. Simply provide the date, time, and location of the accident and advise them which law enforcement agency took the formal report.
  • Avoid answering irrelevant questions – You want to discuss only the accident, not your injuries, or damage to your vehicle. Advise the insurer of your intention to seek guidance from a truck accident attorney.

You are under no obligation to speak with any other driver’s insurance company. Refer those calls to your attorney to address rather than attempt to talk to them. Chances are the point of their call is to gain additional information from you to minimize their exposure.

How are truck accidents different from car accidents?

It is easy to think a roadway accident is a roadway accident, but that is not always the case. First, if you have a collision with another car where a speeding driver struck you from behind, chances are it was simply your car and the other driver.

When it comes to a truck accident, other considerations include:

  • Trucks are much bigger than cars – According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a full truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. That weight in comparison to approximately 6,000 pounds for a car is a staggering difference. Victims of truck accidents will likely suffer far more injuries.
  • Truck drivers have state and federal rules to follow – Unlike cars that follow state laws, truckers have to follow both state and federal regulations. This includes regulations restricting hours driven and more. A violation of a federal rule could mean the trucker’s employer could be partially liable for injuries a truck accident victim sustains.
  • Higher incidents of manufacturing issues – In general, truck accidents have higher incidences of failing tires and brakes. This could complicate a truck accident victim’s injury claim.

These are only some of the ways a truck and car accident differ. Victims of a trucking accident generally suffer more serious injury than those who are injured in an accident involving two cars.

How is liability determined following a truck accident?

So many rules and regulations apply to truck drivers and trucking companies, you will need someone who knows all of them. Generally, a truck accident attorney will know what questions to ask and know what documents to request. Items like trucking logs, inspection records, and onboard monitoring systems can help determine the cause of an accident and may also help shed light on how the 18-wheeler driver contributed to the accident.

What are the typical damages awarded in trucking accidents?

Like any accident, we cannot promise any results. You may, however, include certain items in trucking accident claims (as in car accident claims).

Some broad areas of potential compensation include:

  • Medical care for victims – Your care immediately following an 18-wheeler accident, follow-up care, and when needed, estimated future medical needs.
  • Past and future earnings – Usually, your lost wages are easy to calculate. However, if you have suffered a catastrophic injury, you may need to include estimated future earnings in your claim.
  • Pain and suffering – Depending on the state you live in, you may seek compensation for your pain and suffering following an 18-wheeler accident.
  • Property damage – You may include damage to your vehicle and other personal property in your truck accident claim.

Families who lose a loved one in a trucking accident may pursue a wrongful death claim. The notable difference between a standard truck accident claim and a wrongful death claim is that the family may seek reimbursement for funeral and burial expenses. Speak with your truck accident lawyer about these claims.

What causes 18-wheeler accidents?

Truck accidents have no single cause. Like cars, human beings drive these highway behemoths. People are not always careful. Road rage, driving under the influence, or distracted driving can cause accidents.

In addition, you may not have control over:

  • Poor weather conditions – When a storm comes out of nowhere, drivers may fail to take proper precautions.
  • Poor roadway conditions – Just like the weather, road conditions including potholes, wet or icy surfaces, construction equipment, or animals jumping out in front of a truck can cause accidents.
  • Other drivers on the road – Sometimes an erratic driver makes a move that jeopardizes a truck driver’s safety and in the interest of keeping themselves safe, they inadvertently cause an accident.

Keep in mind, other negligent behaviors and regulatory violations can result in truck accidents, including:

  • Poorly maintained trucks or trucking equipment
  • Poorly distributed loads or over-loading
  • Negligent hiring practices
  • Hours of service violations
  • Defective brakes, tires, or electronic truck components

As you can see, several factors can contribute to an 18-wheeler accident. This is another reason why it makes sense to work with an experienced truck accident lawyer.

Are 18-wheeler accidents more common than car accidents?

No, they are not. However, since the Federal Highway Administration estimates more than 150,000,000 trucks are on U.S. roadways, it probably comes as no surprise that nearly 90,000 people annually suffer an injury in truck accidents. While these accidents only account for about 3 percent of annual roadway accidents, more than 80 percent of these accidents involve more than one other vehicle. The injuries are also generally worse.

What should I do if an insurance adjuster contacts me?

Refer them to your attorney. All insurance companies are different. You may hear from multiple adjusters—one from your insurance company, one from the truck driver’s insurance company, and perhaps one from the driver’s employer’s insurance company. Do not discuss the accident or your claim with any of them before speaking with an experienced attorney.

Truck accident victims need to understand the insurance adjuster’s job is to minimize the amount of money an insurance company is ultimately going to pay to a victim for their losses.

The adjuster may:

  • Ask leading questions – An open-ended question requires more than a yes or no answer. Adjusters are specifically trained to extract certain information from accident victims. They could ask you the same question in various ways to attempt to get different answers. Keep in mind, adjusters are not on your side.
  • Ignore your claim – In some cases, you may hear nothing from an adjuster. Instead, you will get a check in the mail with a form attached to it saying this is your settlement for your recent accident. Do not cash the check. Once you do, you forfeit any rights to additional compensation. They do this to make sure the insurer does not pay any more than necessary. Call your lawyer immediately.
  • Suggest you do not need a lawyer – You should view this as a red flag. This often means the insurance company suspects they could have greater liability. They know most victims do not understand what laws protect them and they simply take advantage of this lack of knowledge.

Once you file a claim with an insurance company and speak with an attorney, the lawyer representing you should handle all communications with the insurance adjuster. Remember, someone who has experience dealing with insurers will have a full understanding of the types of documents they will request, what to watch out for in the fine print, and what questions to ask.

Insurers have attorneys who are working to protect their interests. When you work with Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, you will be working with a team that will be serving as your advocate—their commitment is to you, the victim, not to the insurance company.

How long does it take to settle an 18-wheeler claim?

That depends on a lot of factors. Some claims settle relatively quickly because insurance companies know the sooner they settle, the better. When an insurer is negotiating in good faith, you and your attorney may resolve your claim faster. If the insurance company denies your claim, the process could get more complicated, which can mean additional time.

In some cases, insurance companies keep their offers so low it is impossible to get them to agree to a final, sensible settlement. In these cases, your truck accident attorney may recommend taking your claim to court. In these cases, a settlement takes longer—this is largely dependent on how busy the civil court is in your area.

You remain in full control over the settlement process. Your attorney will offer their best advice regarding the settlement, but you are the one who decides whether to accept the offer. While your attorney serves as your advocate, the process protects you and your interests.

How much does it cost to hire a lawyer in an 18-wheeler accident claim?

Personal Injury Attorney, Matt Dolman

18-Wheeler Attorney, Matt Dolman

Victims who have suffered an injury in a truck accident, or those who have lost a loved one, should contact an accident injury attorney for a free consultation. Once they have asked the attorney about the claims process and their options, they can then decide to hire them to represent them through the entire process.

Should you decide to hire a truck accident attorney at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we will provide you with a detailed retainer agreement. This agreement will include our fees, which we don’t collect unless we obtain a settlement or award on your behalf. There may be other fees, including document prep fees and court filing fees, which you may be responsible for regardless of the outcome of your truck accident claim.

With offices across the country, we can serve clients in many states. If you or a loved one were injured in an 18-wheeler accident, contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) to find out your and your family’s rights and options.

How can an 18-wheeler accident attorney help me?

In addition to our accomplished truck accident lawyers, Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA works with several 
automobile accident investigators who will breakdown and reconstruct the accident 
scene. Whether your crash involved driver error, faulty mechanical equipment, or improper loading techniques, our truck accident investigators will get to the bottom of what 
caused the collision that injured you.

If you are the victim of an accident involving a commercial truck, or are a driver of an eighteen-wheel semi tractor-trailer, a garbage truck, a postal/parcel delivery
 truck, or an operator of another large vehicle and have been in a collision caused 
by someone else’s negligence, the truck accident lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA are committed to maximizing your recovery. We service clients all over the state of Florida.

For everything you could ever need to know about a truck accident case, visit Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA's Truck Accident Blog.

Call our office today at (727) 451-6900 or contact us online to set up your free appointment.

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