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When Life Takes an Unexpected Turn: Navigate Your Path to Recovery with Our Expert 18 Wheeler Accident Attorneys.

Between a 3000-pound car and an 80,000-pound 18-wheeler, there is no contest - it's David and Goliath. For those who've survived an 18-wheeler accident, their memories of the event are often blurred and distorted by trauma. A few recall the details of the terrifying moments leading up to the impact. An enormous shape barreling down the highway, blocking out the sun, growing larger in your rearview with each passing second. A chilling moment of realization, then an eruption of sound as the shriek of brakes splits the air - too late. The collision is violent, catastrophic, and life-changing.

We understand that the aftermath of an 18-wheeler accident can be devastating, both physically and emotionally. Financial hardships only compound this distress. Mounting medical bills and lost wages can lead quickly to financial crisis. In the meantime, you’re forced to navigate negotiations with insurance companies seeking to minimize their financial responsibility and avoid a fair settlement. Facing these battles alone can seem insurmountable. The good news is, you don't have to.

At Wettermark Keith, our dedicated 18-wheeler accident attorneys are prepared to guide you through the complexities of your personal injury lawsuit. Our attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure you receive adequate compensation to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress. We’ll advocate fiercely on your behalf to obtain the resources you need to heal and rebuild your life.

Understanding 18-Wheeler Accidents

Essentially, an 18 wheeler accident involves a collision between a large truck and another vehicle, pedestrian, or structure. Given the massive size and weight of an 18-wheeler - up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded - these accidents often lead to severe injuries or fatalities.

Every day, we share the road with these mechanical forces of nature – 18-wheelers, big rigs, tractor-trailers, commercial trucks, and semi-trucks. Most of the time, we view them as simply part of our daily commute. However, it’s important to recognize that accidents involving these vehicles are often fatal. The National Safety Council (NSC) indicates more than 5,000 people die each year in 18-wheeler accidents and more than 140,000 experience devastating, life-altering injuries.

How Does an 18-Wheeler Accident Occur?

18-wheeler accidents can occur due to a large number of reasons, most of which are rooted in negligence, either on the part of the truck drivers or the trucking companies.

Speeding is one of the most common causes of 18 wheeler accidents. Given the massive size and weight of these vehicles, controlling them at high speeds becomes increasingly difficult, leading to a higher risk of accidents.

Fatigued driving is another significant cause of 18-wheeler accidents. Truck drivers often work long hours and cover vast distances, leading to exhaustion. This fatigue can impair their reaction times and decision-making abilities, increasing the likelihood of an accident. While federal regulations are in place to mitigate this risk, they are often violated.

Distracted driving, such as using a mobile phone, eating, or adjusting the radio, is another common cause of these accidents. Even a momentary lapse in attention can lead to catastrophic consequences when operating an 18-wheeler.

Improper cargo loading can also lead to accidents. If the cargo is not correctly secured or is unevenly distributed, it can cause the truck to become unstable, leading to rollovers or other types of accidents. Overloading the truck beyond its maximum weight limit can also make it more difficult to control.

Poor truck maintenance, such as failing to regularly check and maintain essential components like brakes, tires, lights, and other safety systems, can lead to a devastating accident.

What Injuries Are Sustained in an 18-Wheeler Accident?

The sheer size disparity between an 18 wheeler and a standard passenger car can lead to catastrophic injuries. Victims of these accidents typically face a range of physical traumas, from broken bones and burns to traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord damage. The recovery process can take months or even years, with victims often requiring numerous surgeries, lengthy hospital stays, and extensive rehabilitation.

While the toll an 18-wheeler accident takes on the body is immense, the psychological costs can be equally devastating. Survivors might battle post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and insomnia, haunted by flashbacks of the accident. Below are some of the most common injuries sustained in 18 wheeler accidents:

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) - these injuries occur when a sudden trauma, such as a collision, causes damage to the brain. TBIs can range from mild concussions to severe brain damage. Symptoms can include headaches, confusion, dizziness, memory loss, and in severe cases, prolonged unconsciousness or coma. Long-term effects can include cognitive impairment, emotional and behavioral changes, and physical disabilities.

Spinal Cord Injuries - these injuries result from damage to the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal. They often cause permanent changes in strength, sensation, and other body functions below the site of the injury. This can result in partial or complete paralysis, including paraplegia and quadriplegia.

Broken Bones - the force of an 18-wheeler collision can easily break bones. These fractures can range from simple breaks that heal relatively quickly to complex fractures that require surgery and extensive rehabilitation. In severe cases, victims may suffer from multiple broken bones.
Burns - if a truck accident leads to a fire or explosion, victims can suffer from severe burns. These injuries can cause significant pain, scarring, and disfigurement, and often require extensive medical treatment, including skin grafts.

Internal Injuries - these injuries, caused by the force of the collision, can affect any organ in the body. They can lead to internal bleeding, organ damage, or organ failure. Internal injuries can be life-threatening and always require immediate medical attention.
Lacerations and Abrasions - cuts and scrapes may seem minor compared to other injuries, but severe lacerations can lead to significant blood loss, nerve damage, or infection. They can also leave disfiguring scars.

Whiplash and Other Neck Injuries - whiplash, a common injury in car accidents, occurs when the head is suddenly jerked back and forth. This can strain or tear the muscles and tendons in the neck, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. In severe cases (such as an 18-wheeler accident) it can also cause nerve or spinal cord damage.

Psychological Injuries - the trauma of being involved in an 18-wheeler accident typically leads to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. These conditions can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life and often require long-term treatment.
Wrongful Death - in the most tragic cases, 18-wheeler accidents can result in fatalities. However, surviving family members have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek compensation for their loss.

How Personal Injury Laws Apply to an 18-Wheeler Accident

Personal injury law, also known as tort law, allows an injured person to seek compensation, or damage, when someone else's negligent or intentional act caused the harm. In the context of 18-wheeler accidents, these laws are crucial as they provide a legal framework for your ability to establish fault and seek necessary compensation for injuries and damages.
The cornerstone of most personal injury cases, including 18-wheeler accidents, is negligence. To establish negligence, the injured party (plaintiff) must prove the four elements below:

Duty of Care: The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant (the truck driver or the trucking company) owed them a duty of care. In the context of driving, this duty is generally understood as the responsibility to operate a vehicle safely and obey traffic laws.

Breach of Duty: The plaintiff must show that the defendant breached this duty of care. This could involve actions such as speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence, or violations of federal regulations like the Hours of Service rules.

Causation: The plaintiff must prove that the defendant's breach of duty directly caused the accident and their injuries. This often requires detailed evidence and expert testimony.

Damages: Finally, the plaintiff must demonstrate that they suffered damages as a result of the accident. This can include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

Complexities in 18-Wheeler Accident Cases

18-wheeler accident cases can be more complex than other vehicle accident cases for several reasons:

Multiple Parties

18-wheeler accident cases often involve multiple potentially liable parties, which can make these cases more complex than other vehicle accident cases. For instance, the truck driver may be held responsible if their negligence, such as speeding or distracted driving, caused the accident. However, the trucking company could also be liable if they failed to properly maintain the truck or if they hired an unqualified driver.

In some cases, the truck's manufacturer could be held responsible if a defect in the truck contributed to the accident. Similarly, a cargo loader could be liable if improperly loaded or secured cargo led to the accident. Lastly, a maintenance provider could be held responsible if negligent maintenance practices contributed to the accident. Determining all the liable parties requires a thorough investigation and understanding of the trucking industry.

Federal and State Regulations

The trucking industry is heavily regulated by both federal and state laws, adding another layer of complexity to these cases. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes Hours of Service regulations that limit how long a truck driver can operate without rest. If a driver violates these regulations and causes an accident, both the driver and the trucking company could be held liable.

State laws can also play a significant role. For instance, some states have specific regulations regarding truck maintenance, cargo loading, and driver qualifications. Violations of these regulations can be used as evidence of negligence in a personal injury lawsuit.

Severe Injuries

18-wheeler accidents often result in severe or catastrophic injuries, which can lead to substantial medical expenses and long-term care needs. These injuries can include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, severe burns, and multiple fractures. The severity of these injuries can increase the stakes of the lawsuit and make the calculation of damages more complex. It often requires expert testimony to accurately estimate future medical costs, lost earning capacity, and other long-term effects of these injuries.

Given these complexities, it's essential to have one of our experienced personal injury attorneys on your side.


Why Hire an 18-Wheeler Accident Attorney?

The aftermath of an 18-wheeler accident is challenging enough without being forced to navigate the complexities of the legal system alone. Contacting one of our attorneys immediately after the accident will ensure your rights are protected, vital evidence from the scene is preserved, and you receive appropriate compensation. Our experienced attorneys will ensure that 18-wheeler trucking companies and their insurers don't take advantage of your vulnerable situation by offering a lowball settlement or attempting to shift blame. They can also help identify all potentially liable parties, gather and analyze evidence, navigate the intricacies of federal and state regulations, and represent you in negotiations - or in court.

Advantages of a Wettermark Keith Personal Injury Attorney:

Our accident attorneys have a deep understanding of personal injury law and the specific state and federal regulations that apply to 18-wheeler accidents. They are fully prepared to navigate the complexities of these laws and build an airtight case in your defense.

Insurance companies frequently try to minimize the amount they pay out in settlements to accident victims. Our experienced accident attorneys understand how to negotiate effectively with these companies to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

Your accident lawyer has access to a vast network of resources, including expert witnesses, accident reconstruction experts, and medical professionals - all who can help strengthen your case.

If your case goes to trial, your lawyer can represent you in court, presenting your case to the judge and jury in a compelling, expertly-crafted manner.

Legal proceedings involve a great deal of paperwork and strict deadlines. Our attorneys can handle all of this on your behalf, ensuring that all documents are correctly filled out and filed on time to avoid denial or delays.

Our accident attorneys have the skills and resources to thoroughly investigate your accident, gather evidence, and identify all potentially liable parties.

Determining the full extent of your damages can be complex, especially when future medical costs and lost earning capacity are considered. Our attorneys are trained to accurately calculate these damages.

Having a compassionate accident attorney on your side to handle your case can give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on your recovery.

Your accident attorney will fight to maximize your compensation, ensuring all potential areas of recovery are explored, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.


Our 3-Step Process

Connect With Us:

Call our office at (877) 715-9300 or use our online form to arrange a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with our legal team.

We Assess Your Case

In our initial review, our experienced team will analyze the details of your case and map out potential strategies. If you've experienced an injury due to negligence, we’ll assign one of our expert personal injury attorneys to handle your case.

We Defend Your Rights

As one of the Southeast’s top personal injury firms, Wettermark Keith is fully committed to advocating for your rightful compensation and recovery. If an injury has disrupted your life, let our dedicated attorneys seek justice on your behalf.

Frequently Asked Questions

The statute of limitations, or the timeframe for filing a personal injury claim, varies from state to state. Some states provide up to one or two years from the accident date. To prevent missing any critical deadlines, it is recommended to consult with an accident attorney as soon as possible.

Liability can fall on various parties including the truck driver, the trucking company, the truck's manufacturer, or the party responsible for the truck's maintenance. Your attorney will help identify the liable parties in your case.

It's crucial to avoid discussing the accident or your injuries with the insurance company before consulting with your attorney. Insurance adjusters may attempt to minimize your claim, but your attorney can negotiate with them to ensure you receive fair compensation.

The most common injuries after an 18-wheeler accident can vary significantly depending on the circumstances of the collision. However, some injuries frequently reported include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, internal injuries, lacerations, whiplash, and psychological trauma.

Several factors can contribute to an 18-wheeler accident, including environmental conditions and mechanical issues. However, human factors are often the most significant contributors. These can include driver error, negligence, or recklessness, such as speeding, distracted driving, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Additionally, systemic issues within the trucking industry can also contribute to accidents. These include unrealistic schedules and expectations that encourage speeding and overworking, inadequate training for drivers, and poor maintenance practices.

Our attorneys can provide invaluable assistance after an 18-wheeler accident. They can help you understand your rights, guide you through the legal process, and advocate for fair compensation. They will use their expertise to gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court. Having a knowledgeable attorney on your side can significantly impact the outcome of your case.

Immediately after an 18-wheeler accident, prioritize your safety. If possible, move out of the roadway immediately. As soon as possible, call 911 for medical assistance. Gather all the information you can, including the other driver's details, witness information, pictures of the scene. Do not admit fault to anyone at the scene. As soon as possible, contact your insurance company to report the accident and one of our attorneys to deal with its aftermath.

What Types of Accident Claims Am I Entitled To?

When an 18-wheeler accident occurs, the legal aftermath can be complex due to the nature of the trucking industry, the severity of the injuries typically involved, and the number of potential parties who may be held liable. There are several different types of claims that can be filed following an 18-wheeler accident, including:

Personal Injury Claim

This is the most common type of claim, declared when a person has been injured due to another's negligence. In an 18-wheeler accident, the truck driver, the trucking company, or another party may be held liable for any injuries caused by the accident.

Wrongful Death Claim

If an 18-wheeler accident leads to a fatality, the deceased person's family may file a wrongful death claim. This type of claim is meant to provide compensation for lost income, funeral expenses, and emotional suffering.

Negligent Hiring or Supervision Claim

If the trucking company failed to properly vet a driver's qualifications or didn't provide appropriate training, they could be held liable for negligent hiring or supervision.

Product Liability Claim

If an accident was caused by a defect in the truck itself (for instance, faulty brakes or defective tires), a product liability claim may be filed against the manufacturer of the defective part or the vehicle.

Violation of Federal Regulations Claim

The trucking industry is heavily regulated by federal law. If an accident occurs as a result of a violation of these laws, such as ignoring the mandated rest periods for drivers, a claim can be made on this basis.

Each of these types of claims has specific requirements and processes that must be followed. The complexity of these cases requires the expertise of an accident attorney who specializes in 18-wheeler accidents to ensure that victims receive the compensation they are entitled to.

Compensation and Damages After an 18-Wheeler Accident

Victims of 18-wheeler accidents are often eligible for several forms of compensation, depending on the severity of injuries and losses incurred. These can include:

Medical Expenses - this includes the cost of emergency care, hospital stays, surgeries, medication, physical therapy, and any future medical costs related to the accident.

Lost Wages - if your injuries prevent you from working, you can seek compensation for the wages you've lost during your recovery.

Loss of Earning Capacity - if your injuries result in long-term or permanent disability that affects your ability to earn a living, you can seek compensation for the loss of future earnings.

Pain and Suffering - this refers to the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the accident and your injuries. It can also include compensation for the impact of the accident on your quality of life.

Property Damage - this includes the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle and any other personal property damaged in the accident.

In 2022, the average settlement for a truck accident case was approximately $500,000. However, the amount of compensation can vary widely depending on the specifics of each case. Rest assured, our attorneys will use their expertise to maximize the compensation you deserve.

Contact Wettermark Keith 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyers Today

At Wettermark Keith, our top priority is serving accident survivors with compassion and dedication. Our seasoned 18 wheeler accident attorneys have successfully handled thousands of truck accident cases, and they are ready to apply their wealth of knowledge and experience to your case. We understand that each accident is unique, and we tailor our strategies to each client’s specific needs.

At Wettermark Keith, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay no fees unless we win your case. Let us carry the legal burden so you can focus on healing. You aren’t just another case - you are a person deserving of justice, and we will fight to ensure you receive it. We also offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case in detail. If you or a loved one has been injured in an 18-wheeler accident, don’t delay – contact our dedicated legal team today through our website or by calling (877) 715-9300.

Wettermark Keith, with offices located throughout Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida, has an excellent reputation as one of the most accomplished personal injury firms in the country. Our reach is not only regional but includes a diverse range of practice areas, including personal injury cases, auto wrecks, trucking wrecks, medical malpractice, on-the-job injuries, social security disability, and veterans’ disability claims. At Wettermark Keith, we believe in taking cases personally. Our purpose is to practice with care and compassion - to tell our client’s stories and make their voices heard.

Wettermark Keith was extremely professional and helpful. This personal injury law firm helped my husband over 10 years ago when he fell and broke his foot on vacation. I called them first because I liked their TV commercials. They are very nice people and I would call them again if I needed a lawyer.

- Juanita

Law firm Wettermark Keith has exceeded my expectations! I recommend these lawyers to anyone and everyone I come across. Their commitment to their clients is outstanding. Communication is easy. And I got my settlement very fast. I definitely recommend working with Lee Hawker. He is very gracious and kind. He looked out for me and my family and went above and beyond for us. I’m very grateful!

- Alexa

My personal embattlement with the Social Security Administration went downhill. From a personal recommendation, I reached out to Wettermark Keith law firm. Brian Smith and his team took my case and throughout the whole process, I felt more than just another number. Frequent updates were provided, and emphasis was placed on ensuring all needed documentation was in place. In the end, the accident case resulted in a favorable victory. A big thank you to my lawyer Brian Smith and the team at Wettermark Keith for the hard work throughout the entire personal injury process.

- Dallas

I had the pleasure of working with Mr. Mark English at Wettermark Keith law firm after my car accident in December 2021. He was very thorough in everything, did a wonderful job of explaining everything that was happening, and was super easy to get in touch with when I needed him. I never had a question that was left unanswered by this lawyer. He's very kind and patient, and he made the personal injury claims process so easy for me. I absolutely recommend him, it was a pleasure working with him!

- Rose

I am so elated that I utilized Mr. Muhammad Abdullah’s services. In the beginning, he told me the compensation that I would receive for my personal injury claim and I actually received more than that! After my car wreck (in my brand-new vehicle), I was actually surprised that I was in the pain that I was in. Mr. Abdullah made sure I saw the necessary people for therapy and worked hard to get me back into my car after the accident. I felt that he was diligent, listened to my concerns, and quickly got me back in my car and compensated! I will be utilizing Mr. Abdullah again and again, anytime I ever have to hire a lawyer.

- Madinah