If you’re moving out, you might be tempted to rent a truck and drive it yourself hoping you’d save some money. Or maybe you’ve always been fascinated by trucks that you decide on a whim to take your friend’s semi-truck for a quick drive. While it’s always good to try something new, the same can’t be said about driving trucks. There’s a reason that driving trucks requires a special license since the associated risks are pretty high. Not to mention the catastrophic consequences of a truck accident that make it an even more serious venture. However, if driving a truck is part of your job, you have no choice but to make sure you understand the responsibility you’re assuming.
According to statistics, it turns out that truck drivers are 3 times more prone to accidents and fatal injuries than any other occupation. This staggering rate is proof enough to categorize truck driving as one of the dangerous vocations that people need to beware of before applying. Continue reading to learn more about the dangers of driving a truck and how to handle an accident.
Dangers of Truck-Driving
Driving a truck is more dangerous than driving a lightweight vehicle, especially in the below cases:
Poor Weather Conditions
In bad weather, it’s very hard to control an 18-wheeler that skids on the slippery road. Accidents that happen due to low visibility or rainy conditions usually end up causing destructive chain collisions, jeopardizing the lives of people.
Fatigue and Sleep Deprivation
For many truck drivers, being alone on the road for days on end is what their job is all about. They rarely take any breaks to rest or sleep as they usually prefer to take advantage of the open roads. This means that cases of falling asleep behind the wheel and losing control over the vehicle are more common than they need to be. Although state rules mandate a 30-minute break every 8 hours of driving, many negligent drivers ignore the rules putting theirs and fellow drivers’ lives at risk.
Driving Under the Influence
The harsh conditions that truck drivers usually drive in call for a stress release mechanism to help them cope. Many, unfortunately, resort to consuming drugs and alcohol hoping to be able to withstand the loneliness of the road ahead. This of course increases the chances of accidents and puts the lives of everyone involved at risk.
How to Handle an Accident
Now that you know the potential risks of truck driving, it’s your responsibility to understand how you can handle an accident should you ever get into one. Here’s what you need to do:
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney
You probably didn’t know this, but there are attorneys who are specifically focused on handling truck accident cases. These professionals know everything there is to know about the ins and outs of similar cases and will be able to win you the compensation that you deserve. If you live in Virginia and get into an accident involving an out-of-state vehicle, you’ll need to call a truck accident lawyer in Richmond, Virginia to take over your case. Violations in similar accidents vary between federal and state ones so you can’t possibly know the real implications unless you have a law degree yourself. Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation and analyze the evidence to build a strong case that will hold in court in case it ends there.
Stay on the Accident Scene
Your lawyer will advise you to stay on the accident scene, to contact 911, and start collecting some evidence that would be of help. Take photos of your injuries and the damage done to your truck as well as the other vehicles involved in the crash. If your injuries get in the way, you can ask anyone around to do it for you. You shouldn’t leave until you make sure that you get a copy of the police report and the police officer’s details as you might need them later on in court.
Get Medical Help
As explained above, truck accidents can be very dangerous. One of the first things you should do after getting into one is to tend to your injuries to make sure you’re in the clear. Even if you think you’re ok and can’t see any external injuries, you should still get checked in order to rule out internal bleeding and concussion. Make sure you hold on to the medical bills and doctor’s notes to validate the settlement that you’re seeking from the driver at fault.
Take the Insurance Details of the Other Driver
Regardless of who’s at fault, you should make sure to collect the insurance details of the other driver. Your lawyer will need this information to work out the settlement with them as they will try to downplay your injuries and offer to pay you much less than what you deserve. If you get into an accident with your work truck, you should immediately contact your employer and ask them to provide you with the relevant insurance details in order to share them with the other driver in return.
Refrain From Giving Statements
Anything that you say on the accident scene will be recorded in the police report, so you need to make sure you don’t implicate yourself in any way. Getting into debates with the other driver about whose fault it was won’t add much to either of you. Your lawyer will urge you to not give out any statements until they arrive on the scene and give you a brief about what to say and how to say it. Try to stick to the scenario they give you as much as you can to maximize your chances of winning the compensation that you deserve.
Give it Time
Getting into a serious truck accident can be a traumatizing experience that you’ll want to get done with the consequences as soon as possible to move on with your life. However, pushing your lawyer to rush the case and take the first settlement offer won’t be in your best interest. It’s better to have faith in your lawyer and give them the time they need to handle the case as best as they see fit.
Driving a truck is a huge responsibility that nobody should underestimate. Before deciding whether you’re ready to drive one, make sure you read about the potential dangers listed above. Furthermore, you should also educate yourself about the steps that you should follow in case of an accident to make sure you’re on the safe side.
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