If you have been seriously injured in a big truck accident, our experienced team of 18-wheeler accident lawyers can help you get maximum compensation in your case. On this page we will look at the unique aspects of 18-wheeler accident cases. We will also look at settlement values in 18-wheeler accident cases.
About Our 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyers
Miller & Zois is one Maryland’s leading personal injury law firms. Over the last decade, we have recovered over $100 million in compensation for our clients. We have particular expertise and experience representing victims of truck accidents. Truck accident cases can be much more complex and difficult to litigate that an average car accident case. You can’t just hire any personal injury firm to handle an 18-wheeler case. If you want to get fair compensation in your big truck accident case, you need an experienced, effective, 18-wheeler accident attorney.
The truck accident lawyers at Miller & Zois have a long track record of major success brining 18-wheeler accident cases. We are one of the most successful big truck accident firms in the region. Unlike other firms we are ready and willing to take every 18-wheeler case to trial if necessary. This give us the leverage necessary to make sure you get the most possible compensation in your case.
What Makes 18-Wheeler Accident Cases Different?
18-wheeler accident lawsuits are significantly different than normal auto accident cases. Big trucks get into different types of accidents than cars and the types of negligence involved are often varied and more complex. Understanding the unique aspects of 18-wheeler accident cases can be invaluable the success of your claim. Here is a brief overview of some of the most significant aspects of big truck accident cases:
|More Damages in 18-Wheeler Accident Cases||Accident cases involving 18-wheelers usually involve 2 or 3 times the amount of monetary damages as an ordinary car accident case. 18-wheelers are literally massive. They are by far the biggest vehicles on the roadway, with an average weight around 40,000 pounds (12 times the size of typical passenger car). This immense size and weight makes them handle much differently than a car. It also makes them more dangerous in an accident. 18-wheeler accidents usually involve much more serious injuries than a passenger car accident.|
|18-Wheelers Have Commercial Truck Insurance||Another major difference with an 18-wheeler accident case is the type of auto liability insurance they carry. Commercial trucks are legally required to carry large insurance policies with minimum limits of at least $750,000. Most trucks have commercial liability policies with a limit of $1,000,000. When you make a truck accident claim the process is significantly different than the claim process for a regular car accident.|
|Trucking Laws & Regulations||18-wheelers are subject to an additional layer of laws and regulations at both the state and federal level. These trucking regulations can often complicate truck accident cases. To be an effective 18 wheeler accident lawyer you need to have a working understanding of the applicable regulations and how they come into play in accident cases.|
Statistics on 18-Wheeler Accidents
On average, somewhere between 130,000 to 160,000 people get injured each year in accidents with 18-wheelers and other large trucks. Around 4,000 people are killed each year in big truck accidents. The fatal rate for 18-wheeler accidents has been steadily increasing since 2009. In 2018 there were a total of 4,951 fatalities in big truck accidents, a 51% increase since 2009.
Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of fatalities in big truck accidents were among drivers and occupants of the other vehicle (usually smaller passenger cars). Out of the 4,951 people who died in big truck accidents in 2018, only 11% were drivers or occupants in the 18-wheeler. The remaining 89% of fatalities were among passenger car occupants and/or pedestrians.
Common 18-Wheeler Truck Accidents
Accidents involving 18-wheel trucks, also known as semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, or big rigs, are often more complex and catastrophic than accidents involving smaller vehicles. Here are some common types of accidents that can occur with 18-wheelers:
- Jackknife Accidents: This happens too often when the trailer skids and ends up at a 90-degree angle from the truck, often due to sudden braking or slippery road conditions. It can lead to the truck sliding uncontrollably and colliding with other vehicles. Most of these crashes involve personal injuries or wrongful death.
- Rollovers: If the truck driver loses control, the truck can tip over, especially if it is improperly loaded or the driver is navigating a curve too quickly. Rollover accidents can be deadly for nearby vehicles.
- Rear-end Collisions: Given their significant weight, 18-wheelers require more distance to come to a complete stop. If a truck driver is following too closely or not paying attention, they may crash into the back of another vehicle.
- Underride Accidents: These occur when a smaller vehicle slides underneath the trailer of the truck during a collision. These can be absolutely awful accidents and can lead to severe injuries when the car’s roof is crushed or sheared off.
- Blind Spot Accidents: Trucks have larger blind spots than other vehicles, known as “No-Zones.” When a car is in these blind spots, the truck driver may not see it while changing lanes or merging, leading to a collision.
- Lost Load Accidents: If cargo is not secured properly, and you see this in one of the example 18-wheel accident verdicts below, it can fall off the truck and onto the roadway, creating obstacles that can cause accidents for other drivers.
- Tire Blowouts: When a truck’s tire blows out, it can cause the driver to lose control, leading to swerving or veering off the road. The debris from the tire can also hit other vehicles.
- Head-on Collisions and Sideswipes: If a truck crosses into oncoming traffic, it can lead to head-on collisions. Sideswipe collisions may occur if a truck drifts into an adjacent lane and brushes the side of another vehicle.
- Wide Turn Accidents: Trucks often need to make wide turns, and sometimes the driver will swing left to make a right turn (or vice versa), which can catch other drivers off guard or trap them between the truck and the curb.
What is the Average Payout in 18-Wheeler Accident Cases?
The average settlement for an 18-wheeler accident case involving significant physical injuries is somewhere between $75,000 and $120,000. This can vary greatly depending on the type and severity of the injuries involved. The average jury verdict in 18-wheeler accident cases is $510,000 and the median jury award in these cases is $90,000.
18-Wheeler Accident Settlements & Verdicts
$5,200,000 Verdict (2023 Texas): A company truck turned into a family’s Tahoe, resulting in injuries to a 48-year-old woman and her 15-year-old daughter. The woman, a practicing dentist, sustained a broken right hand, which led to difficulties in continuing her professional practice. Her medical costs were reported to be approximately $12,000. The daughter received less severe injuries, requiring chiropractic treatment that amounted to $3,500 in expenses. A week-long 18-wheel truck accident trial resulted in a verdict awarding the mother and daughter $5.2 million in compensation.
$906,101 Verdict (2023 Florida): An 18-wheeler delivered truck for Publix struck a low hanging tree branch from a tree located in a median lane, causing it to break off and fall. The plaintiff, who was driving behind the truck, then collided with the branch and suffered very serious injuries. The verdict included $600,000 in medical expenses.
$1,825,000 (2023 Texas): The plaintiffs were traveling when a 4×4 piece of wood fell from an 18-wheeler, resulting in their vehicle rolling over it. This happens all the time. Truck drivers do not secure their loads. In this case, it caused a flat tire, leading the plaintiffs and their passenger to pull off the highway, coincidentally where the truck driver had stopped. Despite an attempt to change the tire, they were unable to do so and sought medical care the next day for back soreness. The problem in the case was the lack of significant property damage. At trial, one defense expert conducted a biomechanical reenactment and basically concluded the vehicle occupants could not have been injured. Another problem this case had – that our truck accident lawyers commonly see – is that one plaintiff had a pre-existing condition and sought back treatment prior to this crash, and also experienced back injuries in two subsequent car accidents. What carried the day with the jury was the treating physician’s testimony. The jury awarded the plaintiffs $1,825,00.
$954,141 Verdict (2022 Mississippi): The plaintiff was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler that was hauling 20,000 pounds of office furniture. The plaintiff allegedly suffered a traumatic brain injury with right side tentorial and temporal subdural hematomas, neurocognitive disorder and the loss of 20 IQ points, posttraumatic stress disorder, a right ankle talofibular anterior ligament sprain, forehead and upper lip lacerations and headaches. $900,000 of the verdict was for pain and suffering.
$458,650 Verdict (2020 California):18-wheeler sideswiped a vehicle stopped on the shoulder lane. Plaintiff herniated disc with nerve impingement. The man underwent a microdiscectomy requiring surgery and continued steroid injections to treat. Jury awarded $83,650 in past medical bills, $75,000 in future medical bills, $125,000 in past pain and suffering, and $175,000 in future pain and suffering.
$40,500,000 Verdict (2019 New Mexico): Werner 18-wheeler crossed a median and struck a 54-year-old woman’s vehicle head-on. She died at the scene. Her survivors alleged that Werner negligently hired and trained inexperienced truck drivers. They also alleged the truck driving school did not properly qualify the truck driver to drive under federal regulations.
$140,000 Settlement (2019 Texas): An 18-wheeler pulled in front of a vehicle, causing a collision that left the Plaintiff a quadriplegic. Plaintiff alleged that the truck driver should not have been operating the vehicle that day. He claimed that her operation of the vehicle violated state and federal regulations. The man also alleged that the truck driver’s employer knew of her violations and failed to reprimand her.
$1,560,000 Verdict (2019 Georgia): A woman slowed down her vehicle because the vehicle in front of her had its tires blown out. The 18-wheeler rear-ended Plaintiff at high speed, pinning her against a concrete barrier. Plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury, a dislocated coccyx, cervical radiculopathy, osteophyte with anterolisthesis, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Plaintiff suffered a rotator cuff tear, neck pain, back pain, and muscle spa after an 18-wheeler entered her lane and struck her vehicle. She alleged both driver negligence and negligent hiring claims.