There's a good reason why tractor-trailers are nicknamed "40 tons of death on wheels." Even a relatively low impact collision can lead to serious, life-altering injuries or death.
A four-door sedan typically weighs around 3,000 pounds. Compare that to a fully loaded truck that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds.
Every 16 minutes in the U.S. a person is injured or killed in a tractor-trailer accident. About 400,000 of these collisions happen every year.
In Georgia, there are more than 5,000 truck wrecks each year with 200 of these classified as fatal.
Half of the tractor-trailer wrecks in Georgia involve out-of-state vehicles.
Step 1: Call Emergency Services Immediately
As with any collision, make sure the scene of the wreck is safe and then call 911. The aftermath of tractor-trailer collision, you may be in shock and not realize how hurt you are.
Step 2: Get Contact Information
Get the truck driver's name and contact information as well as the name and contact information of the trucking company they work for. If other drivers were involved in the wreck, get their information too.
Step 3: Collect Evidence
If possible, gather as much evidence as you can while you are at the scene of the wreck. Use your phone to take pictures and video of the damage to your vehicle and any visible injuries on yourself and your passengers. If there are witnesses, gather their names and contact information.
Step 4: Do Not Admit Fault
Don't apologize. Stick to the facts of what happened when speaking with the truck driver, investigating police officer, and anyone else at the scene.
Take note if the trucker or other driver admits fault or says something like "I only took my eyes off the road for a second" or "I didn't see you next to me."
Trucking companies sometimes send their own investigators to the scene. Again, stick to the facts of what happened and don't let them pressure you into admitting something you didn't do in the heat of the moment.
Step 5: See a Doctor
If you aren't taken immediately to the emergency room, go see a doctor ASAP. Even if you feel fine, your injuries could be internal. The pain may not hit you until a day or two after the accident. Going to the doctor could detect any issues early.
Step 6: Call a Truck Accident Lawyer
Seriously. There's nothing better and more comforting than having a lawyer in your corner that's handled truck crashes before. A good lawyer will offer a free consultation to review the accident and go over your case.
An attorney who's experienced in semi-truck accidents will demand a copy of the truck driver's log. This log is federally required to be kept by all truckers. It details when they start and end their day, where they stopped, and certifies if they've inspected the tractor and the trailer.
It can tell us whether they were speeding between locations or spending too many hours behind the wheel, leading to exhaustion and drowsy driving or falling asleep.
Big rig crashes can be complicated. Injured victims have to deal with the trucking company, the trucking company's insurance, and the insurance company's lawyers.
Hire a truck accident lawyer to ensure your rights are fully protected.