Tractor Trailer accidents involving big rigs and 18-wheelers are special claims. Drivers of these vehicles must have a CDL or commercial driver’s license. In addition, these types of carriers must carry logbooks logging each of their trips down to the hour. Driver fatigue is to blame in large percentage of cases involving commercial drivers. Attorneys handling such claims must also investigate the load and capacity of the cargo area to see what, if any, issues may be present that relate to the accident.
Tractor-trailer accidents cause major damage as they often involve more than just two vehicles. With gross vehicle weights often approaching 40,000 lbs. (without a load) the destruction is often enormous. Cummins Diesel engines are the powerhouses in these rigs that often provide the mass in the wrecks.
Special ratios can be examined to see exactly how much force went into the accident. Formulas using weight, distance and speed can be used to calculate kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is useful when applying analogies to objects and the impact of the force of a tractor trailer. High kinetic energy = high probability of injury.
When speeding on ice, these vehicles jack knife and twist causing lane problems with other vehicles. Car wrecks can be multiple when a rig hits ice and swerves into oncoming and ongoing traffic.
The positive side from an insurance coverage perspective is the fact that most tractor-trailer accidents involve commercial carriers. United Parcel Service (U.P.S.), Federal Express (FEDEX), and DHL are examples of commercial carriers. Trucks that ship freight, cargo, or heavy packages are governed by the DOT. The D.O.T. (department of transportation) outlines specific rules for tractor-trailers. Commercial carriers are required to carry insurance coverage; normally that coverage is one million dollars per accident. This coverage, however, is sometimes not enough when major personal injury occurs. Prudent attorneys will look into excess policies that will govern and cover exposure over the primary policy.
Of the thousands of drivers that keep the US shipment business on track, many are self-employed. It is imperative in any case to check the relationship of the driver, especially the subcontractor, and his/her relationship to the shipping company.
Because of tractor-trailer accidents, Benson & Bingham is consistently filing wrongful death actions, which involve setting-up estates in Probate Court, as well as handling probate matters. Call Benson and Bingham today for questions or concerns regarding a tractor-trailer incident: 702-382-9797