Nebraska Semi-Truck Accident Lawyers
Get Help After a Large Truck Collision in Omaha
Due to their size and weight, commercial trucks, such as tractor-trailers (also known as big rigs) are an ever-present danger on America’s roadways. Studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that accidents involving commercial trucks cause more severe injuries than accidents involving passenger vehicles, and that tractor-trailers are involved in one out of nine highway fatalities. To understand what makes these vehicles so dangerous, let’s compare some statistics about tractor-trailers and passenger vehicles.
The average passenger vehicle weighs approximately 3,250 pounds. A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh 80,000 pounds. That is the federally mandated maximum, but many trucking companies overload their vehicles in order to make more money per trip. There is also a vast difference between the stopping ability of trucks and passenger vehicles. The average car, traveling 60 miles per hour, can come to a complete stop in approximately 140 feet. A tractor-trailer, traveling the same speed, will need 400 feet or more to make a complete stop. When you add in slippery road conditions, these numbers can more than double.
The Omaha personal injury attorneys at Cullan & Cullan LLC have been successfully representing injury victims in Arizona, California, and Nebraska for well over a decade. If you were injured in an accident with a tractor-trailer, we will take a personal interest in your case and help you get the compensation you deserve. Not only are we trial lawyers, we are also trained physicians. This medical knowledge helps us build stronger injury claims for our clients. For a free consultation, call (402) 397-7600.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Typical injuries resulting from semi-truck accidents can include:
- Broken bones: This can include simple fractures, compound fractures, and crushed bones.
- Burns: Whenever fuel is involved in an accident, burns - first, second, and third degree - are always a possibility.
- Cuts and lacerations: Broken glass and sheared metal can cause serious cuts and lacerations that may result in permanent scarring.
- Head and brain injuries: High-impact collisions can cause concussions and more serious and sometimes permanent brain damage.
- Internal injuries: Injuries such as internal bleeding and crushed or damaged organs can be life-threatening.
- Spinal cord injuries: Damage to the spinal cord can cause paralysis, numbness, and weakness of parts or all the body.
- Whiplash: Sudden violent jerking of the head can cause damage to the victim’s neck vertebrae, ligaments, and muscles.
- Amputation: In cases where a limb is severely damaged or crushed, it may require amputation. Amputation can permanently affect your lifestyle, mental health, and ability to earn a living.
If you are involved in an accident with a truck, you need to be examined by a physician, even if you don’t think you’re injured. Many injuries like concussions, spinal injuries, and whiplash are not immediately recognized by the patient.
Types of Devastating Accidents Unique to Semi-Trucks
Trucks can be involved in a variety of crashes, including the same ones as passenger vehicle: a rear-end collision, sideswipe, or head-on collision. However, due to their size and features, trucks also cause unique accidents which can be particularly devastating. These accidents include:
- Jackknifing: This occurs when a truck loses control of its trailer, which then swings around until it is facing the opposite direction of the cab and is pressed up against the side, much like a jackknife being folded. The swinging trailer can smash into anything and anyone in its way, and even crush vehicles between itself and the side of the cab.
- Hazardous spills: Many trucks carry hazardous liquids in large sealed containers. During an accident, these containers can burst open and spill the materials across the road and surrounding area. Spilled gasoline may catch on fire and chemicals can expose bystanders to toxic fumes.
- Runaway trailers: When a truck's trailer becomes detached from the cab, it can hurtle down a roadway at high speeds. These trailers have no way to be stopped until they crash.
- Underride accident: This occurs when a smaller vehicle drives under the elevated bottom of the trailer. This can shear off the top of the vehicle and cause catastrophic damage to the vehicle’s occupants.
Possible Responsible Parties for Nebraska Semi-Truck Accidents
Semi-trucks are complicated pieces of machinery that require both skilled operation and quality maintenance. As such, many problems can occur, with many different parties potentially responsible, including:
- Truck driver: Truckers are responsible for properly operating their vehicles and following safety regulations issued by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). When they do not, it may cause fatigued driving that leads to catastrophic accidents.
- Trucking company: Trucking companies are in the business of making money. They may encourage their drivers to overload trucks, drive in hazardous road conditions, drive longer hours than federal guidelines allow, drive when tired or exhausted, and use amphetamines to stay awake. They may also try to increase profits by skipping regular maintenance or not making needed repairs.
- Manufacturers: If the design or manufacture of a truck or a truck part is faulty and contributes to the accident, the negligent maker can be held liable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Should I Speak with the Trucking Company’s Attorneys or Claims Adjusters?
A. Commercial trucking companies carry large insurance policies. This is because the accidents they are involved in tend to cause more damage than accidents involving smaller vehicles. The insurance companies that represent trucking companies want to avoid paying injury victims, and engage in a number of questionable tactics to diminish their liability and the payouts they are forced to make. This can include trying to find contradictions in your testimony, telling you that you don’t have a valid claim, and offering a settlement that is much lower than you deserve. Don’t talk to representatives of the trucking company or its insurer. Let an experienced injury attorney deal with them on your behalf.
Q. Can I File a Claim, Even if I Was Partially Responsible For The Accident?
A. The state of Nebraska operates under a principle known as modified comparative negligence. Under this principle, your level of responsibility in the accident is assigned a percentage number. Provided that you are not more than 50% responsible for the accident, you will be able to collect damages. However, your percentage of responsibility will reduce the amount of compensation you can be awarded. For instance, if the total compensation for your injuries is deemed to be $100,000, and you were judged to be 30% at fault for the accident, the most you could be awarded would be $70,000 ($100,000 minus 30% equals $70,000).
Q. When Should I Contact An Attorney?
A. We recommend you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. A seasoned truck accident attorney will immediately begin investigating the accident and building your case. Trucking companies often have emergency "clean-up" teams ready to go to the scene of an accident. They will deploy these groups to collect evidence, take witness statements, and try to prove YOU caused the collision – not their driver. The sooner you contact the Omaha truck accident attorneys at Cullan & Cullan LLC, the greater your odds of filing a successful claim.
Recent Motor Vehicle Accident Case Results
$19.6 Million - Truck Accident - Trucking Company found liable for 2012 crash - LARGEST VERDICT for trucking collision in Nebraska history.
$3.3 Million - Truck Accident - Compensation for child injured by semi-tractor trailer.
Call Today for a Free Consultation
We are here to help you obtain compensation from those responsible so that you can focus on healing, rehabilitation, and getting your feet back on the ground. For more information about how the lawyers at Cullan & Cullan LLC can assist in protecting your rights, please call (402) 397-7600 today for a free case evaluation.
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