Most Americans are familiar with seeing 18-wheeler trucks driving down roads or highways on a daily basis. These massive trucks are used to carry freight from one place to another, and are necessary to keep the flow of goods going from manufacturers to consumers, especially where trains or other methods of delivery are unavailable. Most Americans are also familiar with the fact that driving near an 18-wheeler can pose several hazards to driving safely. 18-wheelers require a specialty license to drive, and most operators should be familiar with how to drive their truck safely. However, weather conditions, lack of visibility and, sometimes operator negligence, can all pose as deadly hazards when 18-wheelers drive on the road with other vehicles.
Recently, in San Antonio, Texas, two major 18-wheeler accidents highlight the dangers of driving alongside or approaching 18-wheeler trucks. Just this week, according to KSAT.com, a man driving a pickup truck on Interstate 35 slammed into an 18-wheeler and was injured. The driver was attended to by emergency paramedics on the scene, and the 18-wheeler operator was unharmed. It was unclear what caused the accident, but the driver of the pickup truck had rear-ended the 18-wheeler. No charges had been filed in connection with the accident.
Earlier this summer, an even more tragic accident occurred in San Antonio. KHOU.com reports that in late July, a father and daughter in a pickup truck collided with an 18-wheeler and were killed. The other passengers in the pickup truck were taken to a nearby hospital. Again, it is unclear who was at fault in the accident.
Both of the San Antonio cases demonstrate that 18-wheeler accidents can be seriously dangerous, and even deadly. Often at the time of the accident, it is difficult to determine exactly what happened. Georgia drivers should be aware of their rights, and how they should proceed, when an 18-wheeler accident occurs.
At the outset, it is important for Georgia drivers to remember that 18-wheeler operators, and the companies who have hired those operators to move the freight, are covered by insurance, and represented by insurance companies. If the 18-wheeler was the party responsible for the accident, it will begin an investigation into the accident. Afterwards, the insurance company may try to get the injured driver to agree to a settlement quickly, to keep costs low. There are several stepsthat a driver can take in order to protect him or herself, and anyone else injured, from an insurance settlement that is far too low.
First, anyone who is injured in the accident should immediately seek medical attention. Secondly, if the police are not at the scene of the accident, the driver should call the police department to make a report of the accident. The report is critical because it serves as an official record of the accident. It will also aid the investigation. Next, drivers should try to obtain as much information about the site of the accident as possible. Exchanging insurance information with the 18-wheeler driver is important, as well as taking pictures, and getting the names and contact information of any persons who witnessed the accident.
Fourth, it is important that the driver, or anyone injured in the vehicle, does not make any representations or statements to the insurance company representatives. Any statement made by a driver or injured person may be used against him or her to drive the settlement lower. If an insurance representative contacts you, it may be best to consult an attorney.
Finally, it is important to note that in Georgia, the statute of limitations (this means the amount of time that a person has to file a claim) is two years. Drivers and injured passengers should not feel pressure to immediately settle with an insurance company. The best thing to do is to contact an experienced automobile accident attorney who can review the case.
If you have been injured in an automobile or 18-wheeler accident, you should seek out the assistance of an experienced attorney. The attorneys at Goldstein and Hayes have years of experiences successfully representing injured drivers and their passengers to get the compensation they deserve. Contact an attorney at our office today for a confidential and complimentary consultation.