Fatalities from motor vehicle accidents involving semi-trucks are on the rise. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that these tragic accidents increased by at least 1% in 2019. The data comes from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and looks into accidents on public highways involving trucks that weigh in at over 10,000 pounds.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is taking steps to help reduce these accidents. These steps include implementing and enforcing safety incentives, like limiting the number of hours truck drivers can drive before they need to take a break. Highway patrol officers have called on the agency to increase drug recognition training to further cut down on the risk of trucking accidents.
Even if all of these safety measures are fully implemented, accidents can happen. Those who are involved in an accident with a big-rig truck are wise to take the following steps according to U.S. News:
- Medical care: It is always the first priority to seek medical care if anyone seriously injured in the crash.
- Check surroundings: If it is safe to do so, move vehicles so they are not blocking traffic.
- Call for help: If the accident resulted in injuries or serious damage to a vehicle, it is wise to contact authorities. Police will likely write up a report. Get a copy for future reference.
- Get information: Get the truck driver’s name, the name of the company the truck driver work’s for and insurance information. Also gather contact information from any witnesses. If you are able, get some pictures of the scene.
Legal remedies are likely available through a civil lawsuit. These lawsuits can lead to compensation to help cover the expenses that result from the crash like the cost of an ambulance, medical care, missed wages due to injury and the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. When the accident involves a big rig, the question of who is responsible can be more complicated. In addition to the driver, the company the trucker works for as well as those who maintain the truck could also bear some responsibility. As a result, it is wise to seek legal counsel for guidance.