Las Vegas Semi-Truck Accident Attorneys
If you were hit by a semi-truck while driving in Las Vegas, it is important that you speak with a semi-truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Unfortunately, even a low-speed crash with a big rig can result in serious injuries. Having an experienced semi-truck injury attorney on your side in these moments can be critical to protecting your rights. If you need to speak with someone about a crash or accident involving a semi-truck or other large vehicle, feel free to call SJW Injury Attorneys in Northwest Las Vegas and one of the partners at our firm will personally speak with you to answer any questions you may have.
What To Do After A Trucking Accident
If you or someone you know was hit by a semi-truck in Las Vegas and is still at the scene of the crash, you may need some quick guidance on what to do. First, make the health and safety of everyone involved your priority. After that, there are several steps you should take to protect everyone involved and ensure the responsible party is held accountable. Below is a list of things to consider if you are still at the scene of the crash. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at SJW.
- Check on everyone involved
- Contact the police
- Request medical assistance
- Do not speak with the other driver about the accident
- Inspect your vehicle
- Take pictures of the semi-truck, your vehicle, and the accident scene
- Talk to any potential witnesses and request their contact information
- Exchange license and insurance information with the truck driver
- Write down or take a picture of any information on the semi-truck or its trailer, including any company
names and identification numbers
- Request the name of the trucking company and owner of the truck
- Take pictures of your injuries
- Do not post anything on social media
- Do not speak with the truck driver or transport company’s insurance company
- Take a moment to carefully write out everything you can remember about the crash
For more detailed information on each of these crash tips, please visit our “What to do after a car accident in Las Vegas” page.
If you were hit by a semi-truck and are concerned about what to do next, call or come by and speak with one of SJW’s injury attorneys
Being hit by a large commercial truck can be a devastating experience and we understand you may be looking for more information before you are ready to contact a lawyer to help with your semi-truck-involved accident. It is common to have questions about what caused the truck to hit you, who can be held responsible for your injuries, and how to get the medical treatment you need. Our office has included some information below that we hope is helpful. Of course, if you continue to have questions, please feel free to contact us.
Large commercial trucks, such as semi-trucks, present certain inherent dangers when they are on the road. For example, a big rig’s size and weight can cause significant damage and severe injuries, even when the crash was at a relatively low speed. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), trucking accidents resulted in approximately 4,136 fatalities in 2018. Of those fatal accidents involving large trucks and passenger cars, 96% of the people who died in the wreck were the people in the cars. Sadly, this is unsurprising considering the inherent danger semi-trucks present when sharing the road with passenger cars. When trucking accidents do not lead to death, they can result in severe injuries including serious neck and back injuries, internal organ damage, and traumatic brain injuries.
Like all motor vehicle accidents, many factors may lead up to, or cause, a trucking-related crash. While identifying all the factors responsible for a particular semi-truck crash may require a significant investigation. Some of the more common causes include: following too closely; speeding; distracted driving; driver fatigue; driver inexperience; excessive or improperly loaded cargo; improperly maintained trucks; driving in conditions unsafe for commercial vehicles; driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; and unsafe lane changes by the truck driver. Trucking accidents can also be caused by a poor or defective design of the truck or trailer. Below is a more detailed discussion on some of these causes.
Exhaustion is a common reason for crashes involving semi-trucks. For this reason, there are federal Hours of Service (HOS) regulations in place that dictate truck drivers have an eleven (11) hour maximum driving limit per work shift and must take a break of at least 30 minutes after 8 hours of driving. Additionally, other HOS rules place greater restrictions such as the number of hours a truck driver can work in a seven or eight-day period and how many hours must pass between each shift. These hours must also be documented on either paper or electronic logs.
Nevada, like all states, requires drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV), such as semi-trucks, to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License or CDL. This type of license has special requirements and must be obtained in addition to a driver’s personal driver’s license, usually a Class C license. However, just because a driver has obtained their CDL does not mean that they have the training and experience to operate a large commercial vehicle, such as a semi-truck or tractor-trailer, in all circumstances. It only means that they were able to demonstrate the minimum requirements necessary to obtain a license. Indeed, lack of driver training and experience is a common cause of trucking-related crashes, even though the truck driver had a valid CDL. Moreover, Nevada has multiple classes of CDLs and several specific endorsements which may be required, depending on the weight of the vehicle, its cargo, and other factors. So, while the truck driver who caused the crash may have a valid CDL, they may not have the necessary classifications and/or endorsements needed to drive that specific semi-truck with the type or size of the load it was carrying.
Semi-truck drivers often feel pressured to drive in excess of the speed limit in order to meet their delivery or pick-up deadlines. Of course, this can come at a great cost as the weight and size of a large commercial truck can make it extremely dangerous to others on the road when it is traveling in excess of the speed limit. Regrettably, speed is a common cause of trucking accidents. It is important to know that truckers who speed can be found guilty of reckless driving, and if you suspect that a trucker who hit you or someone you know was speeding, that you report it to the police.
Nevada has issued a state-wide ban on handheld devices and texting while driving. Furthermore, handheld cell phone use while driving a commercial vehicle is banned at a federal level. Yet truckers, like many other drivers, continue to use their cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. If you were hit by a semi or other commercial vehicle and suspect the truck driver was on his phone, be sure to inform our office when you contact us. There are steps our attorneys will take right away to help ensure any evidence of the driver’s phone use is preserved.
In some instances, wrecks are caused by truckers driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Commercial drivers are held to a stricter standard when it comes to DUI laws. In Nevada, the legal blood and alcohol, or BAC, limit for CMV drivers is (0.04%). That is half the amount of the legal limit for all other drivers over the age of 21. There can be significant ramifications for a commercial truck driver who causes an accident while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, for more information regarding your rights after being hit by a driver who is under the influence, please see the DUI Accident page on our site.
Call or come by and speak with one of SJW’s injury attorneys now for assistance with getting started on your trucking accident-related claim.
Who Is Responsible For A Crash Caused By A Semi-Truck?
It is common for victims of semi-truck crashes to also have questions about who is responsible for their injuries. It is important to know that if you have been hit and injured by a semi-truck or other commercial vehicle, there are several parties that may be liable for your injuries, including the driver of the truck; the driver’s employer; the company that owns the truck; the company that designed or manufactured the truck; and the company that loaded the truck.
The Truck Driver And The Trucking Companies
While the driver of the semi-truck or tractor-trailer may be the obvious person responsible for the crash, in many instances the trucking company that employs the truck driver is also responsible for the accident. As the employer of the driver, trucking companies have a duty to ensure their employees are qualified, receive the proper training, and follow all policies, procedures, and safety protocols. If the trucking company fails to do so, they may be liable for the crash as well.
The trucking company may also be responsible for a crash if they entrusted a large commercial vehicle, such as a semi-truck, to a driver without doing a background check of the driver. The FMCSA requires commercial vehicle companies to request background checks for every truck driver before they are hired. Of course, a semi-truck or tractor-trailer should not be entrusted to a driver with poor or dangerous driving history, even if they still maintain their license. Companies who fail to perform or review a background check, or who hire a driver despite negative results in the report, could be responsible for a crash that the driver causes.
Trucking companies, like most companies, also have a duty to supervise their employees. If a trucking company fails to adequately supervise their employees by, for example, failing to review driver logs or failing to ensure an employee’s CDL is active, the company could be liable when the unsupervised driver causes an accident while driving one of their vehicles. The same is true of inadequate training. If it can be established that the trucking company entrusted their vehicle to a driver without providing the necessary training first, the company can be held responsible for the wreck as well.
These are just some example situations where the truck driver and the trucking company could both be liable for a crash. However, there are many more.
Manufacturers And Loading Companies
Vehicle manufacturers and truck loading companies can also be found liable for a crash caused by a semi-truck. A mechanical defect in the truck or trailer is a common example of liability on the manufacturer of the truck or manufacturer of the trailer, whichever had the defect. Improperly loaded or improperly balanced cargo may be a cause of the crash. If so, the loading company could share responsibility with the driver.
Contact SJW Injury Attorneys to Discuss your Options
Our truck accident attorneys have years of experience representing families and individuals who have been impacted by a trucking accident. If after reading this you feel you may need legal guidance regarding a semi-truck accident you were recently in, please do not hesitate to call our team at SJW Injury Attorneys. Our injury lawyers are ready to discuss your case and provide the guidance needed to go forward. Of course, if you’re in the area or would feel more comfortable discussing your rights in person, you’re always welcome to visit our office. We enjoy sitting down with people from our community and seeing if we can help them. We know being involved in a trucking accident of any magnitude can be jarring at the very least and, unfortunately, a tragedy to some. We are here to help you recover and get your life back on track by fighting on your behalf.