Attorney Eric Hageman wrote this post. He is a member of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Interstate Trucking Litigation Group. He represents accident victims and their families nationwide. His offices are in Minneapolis, MN.
In the recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that alcohol-impaired driving accounts for nearly 11,000 fatalities per year, or about one third of all crash fatalities in the United States.
The CDC estimates that in 2010, there were approximately 112 million alcohol-impaired driving incidents and “binge drinking” played a big role in those incidents:
- 85% of alcohol-impaired driving episodes were reported by persons who also reported binge drinking; and
- The 4.5% of the adult population who reported binge drinking at least four times per month accounted for 55% of all alcohol-impaired driving episodes.
One strategy states have used to prevent DWI and the resulting fatal accidents is dram shop liability laws, which hold alcohol retailers (both on premises and off premises) legally responsible for harms caused by serving alcohol to visibly intoxicated patrons. The dram shop laws are an important part of accident prevention, and we have used them to hold bars and other alcohol retailers accountable for their actions. But the CDC statistics are alarming, and more needs to be done to prevent fatal accidents.
The CDC recommends that all states take measures (e.g., sobriety checkpoints) to enforce DWI/DUI laws and that they consider requiring ignition interlocks (in essence, a breathalyzer installed on the dashboard) on the vehicles of all persons convicted of alcohol-impaired driving. I strongly support these efforts. Representing people injured by drunk drivers, I have seen over and over again how repeat DWI/DUI offenders can cause serious injury and death. Requiring ignition interlock devices for DWI/DUI offenders would go a long way to keeping drunk drivers off the roads.
Minnesota semi truck accident lawyers at Pritzker Olsen have recently won several truck accident cases for over $2 million dollars each. In one of these cases, a semitrailer rear ended a car and critically injured the passenger of the car. Read about our top truck accident verdicts and settlements.
Our attorneys are available for a free consultation to the families of those critically injured and killed in the semi car accident on I94 near St. Cloud, MN. There is no obligation, and if you hire them, you will have no up front fees. Our law firm is only paid if we win your case.
Semi Car Accident Video: Attorney Brendan Flaherty on Investigating a Semi Accident
Wrongful death and critical injury semi v. car accident cases generally involve both state and federal laws and a number of defendants (people being sued). When our law firm takes one of these cases, we immediately begin our own investigation into the accident, which usually involves the following:
- Hiring experts in accident reconstruction
- Doing a physical inspection of the semi truck, including sitting in the semi driver’s seat to get a sense of what was happening right before the crash
- Doing a physical inspection of the car and any other vehicles involved in the semi accident
- Obtaining a copy of the driver’s log (federally required log of all hours driven)
- Obtaining copies of trucking company documents regarding the maintenance on the semi truck, the specific load being transported, the semi driver (past driving record, drug testing, training record, etc.), corporate ownership
- Getting the testimony of witnesses, the driver, trucking company executives and others
We also take the time to get to know the accident victim and his or her family. We have found that our clients get a better result if we do this.
If your loved one has been injured or killed in a semi accident in Minnesota, you have a lot of questions. We can answer them. Contact Fred or Eric at 1-888-377-8900 (toll free) or submit our online form for a free consultation. We have experience with both wrongful death and critical injury cases.
Types of Semi Accident Cases We Handle:
- Semi vs Car Accident
- Semi vs Motorcycle Accident
- Semi vs Bicycle Accident
- Semi vs Snowmobile Accident
- Semi vs Pedestrian Accident
- Semi vs Train Accident
PritzkerOlsen, P.A. is a leading semi accident litigation law firm. Our attorneys have been interviewed by CNN, CBS News, FOX News and other stations regarding issues pertaining personal injury law. Fred Pritzker has once again been included in The Best Lawyers in America. Call 1-888-377-8900 to put our investigative and litigation skills to work for you.
Head On Collision with Semi:
Truck Driver Negligence
Very often a head on collision with a semi truck involves some form of negligence, including:
- distracted driving (cell phone usage, texting, eating, drinking, etc.)
- driver fatigue
- disregarding traffic, road or weather conditions
If a driver violates a traffic law, in most states, it is considered prima facie (at first sight) evidence of negligence. That means that without evidence of justification for the violation, by law, it is considered a negligent act. If evidence of justification is provided, the facts must be taken into consideration to determine whether there was negligence.
Head On Collision with Semi:
Investigation Critical to Building Winning Case
Once our lawyers are hired in a head on collision case, we immediately start our own investigation into the accident. Here is a list of some of the steps we take to build a winning case:
- We hire specialized experts in engineering, accident reconstruction and medicine, as needed.
- We interview the victim, if he or she survived, and the victim’s family to better understand how the head on collision with a semi has affected the family.
- We interview witnesses to the head-on collision.
- We go and examine the scene of the head-on crash.
- We do our own inspection of the semi truck and any other vehicles involved in the head on accident.
- We request pertinent trucking company documents regarding the truck driver’s hours, the maintenance of the semi tractor and trailer, the company relationship to the semi driver, the truck driver’s driving history and substance abuse tests and all documents relevant to the accident.
- We obtain freight company documents pertaining to the head-on collision.
- We interview the trucking and freight company employees who may have knowledge related to the case.
The attorneys at Pritzker Olsen have successfully handled semi accident cases involving wrongful death, amputation, traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury (SCI) and other serious injuries. Call 1-888-377-8900 for more information or submit our free consultation form. We are waiting to help.
PritzkerOlsen, P.A. is a national personal injury law firm with a “home town” feel. Our attorneys have been interviewed by CBS News, Fox News, KARE-11, KSTP-5, WCCO-4, and other news programs. We recently won $2,560,000 for a husband and wife whose vehicle was hit by a semi-tractor-trailer rig. Call 1-888-377-8900 (toll-free) or 612-338-0202 for a free consultation with a Minnesota semi accident lawyer or submit our online contact form to the right.
Driving a semi is a big responsibility. There are products to deliver, schedules to keep and money to be made. There are also laws to obey. Too many semi truck drivers become complacent and start cutting corners to beat the clock or make a buck.
That means other drivers need to drive defensively around semi trucks. Here are some things to remember when driving near a semi tractor trailer truck: truck drivers are on the road for long hours and the trucks they drive are usually pulling a significant amount of weight. The heavier the truck – the more difficult to control, stop and turn.
Danger Zones for Semi Truck Drivers
Some accidents cannot be avoided, but being aware of the following factors may help you drive more intelligently around trucks and reduce the risk of a semi truck accident:
- Blind spots (also called no-zones): Trucks have much larger blind spots than regular motor vehicles. The area directly behind the semi truck and diagonally to each side of the truck are not seen by the truck driver. These areas should be considered “no-zones” to other drivers. Meaning: Do not drive in those areas. Move through them quickly. Remember, if you cannot see the truck driver in his mirror, he cannot see you. Common blind spot accidents include trucks changing lanes into a vehicle located in a blind spot or a truck driver braking suddenly when there is a car directly behind them.
- Wide turns: Because of the size of big rigs, trucks have to swing wide to the left when making right turns and wide to the right when making left turns. Accidents may occur in these situations when trucks fail to see smaller vehicles on either side or when cars or motorcycles pull up to the side of the truck when the truck is turning. Be alert to trucks making turns.
- Weight distribution: Trucks are frequently top-heavy with cargo making them more susceptible to rollovers if turned too fast or on entrance and exit ramps. Adverse weather conditions can also lead to rollovers.
- Jackknifing: The heavier the load, the easier to lose control. If a truck driver loses control of their truck, the cab of the truck can do one thing and the trailer of the truck do the opposite. This may lead to the trailer swinging around 360 degrees, hitting any vehicle in its path. This can happen if a truck driver brakes too fast or makes a sudden changes in direction.
Distracted Driving and Other Factors Leading to Semi Truck Accidents
Here are some common causes of truck accidents in which the truck driver is at fault:
- Distracted Drivers: Truck drivers can get drowsy, lonely and bored on the road. Some truckers have come up with some less-than-safe ways to keep busy. Little TVs, CB radios, cell phones (including texting while driving), and other mobile devices can take their attention off the road and easily lead to truck accidents. Incidents of distracted driving accidents are on the rise. It has been attributed mostly to texting and cell phone usage.
- Speeding: This is a no-brainer – high-speed, big rigs is not a safe combination. Speeding is probably the most common cause of truck accidents. Speeding in a truck that weights up to 40 tons can have devastating results. Trucks take a longer time to brake.
- Driver fatigue: Studies are now showing that driving tired is just as dangerous as driving drunk. Despite federal regulations for time on the road, fatigue still happens. Since driving is their job, and they make more money the more they drive; drivers may falsify their driving log and stay on the road for far too long to drive safety.
- Driving under the influence: In order to stay more alert while driving, some truck drivers take uppers or sometimes prescription medications interfere with driving safely. Other drivers may drink due to loneliness and addiction problems. Truckers are not allowed to have a blood alcohol level about 0.02.
- Poorly loaded or secured cargo: Truck cargo must be properly loaded and secured for maximum safety. If the cargo is off balance or shifts during transportation, it can cause the truck to jackknife or rollover. If the cargo is not properly secured, it could fall off the trailer, causing serious or even fatal accidents.
- Adverse weather conditions: Rain, high winds, snow or ice can spell trouble for semi trucks. Weather conditions can make it difficult for the trucker to stay in his lane and maintain control. In poor weather conditions, a semi needs more distance to stop.
- Inexperienced truck drivers: There is a disproportionate number of truck accidents involving truckers in training or truckers with little experience.
- Mechanical failure: Trucks require extensive maintenance. Federal law requires pre-trip inspections to prevent a poorly working truck from being on the road and a hazard to others. Mechanical failure (brakes and tires) is a leading cause of truck accidents.
“Hit by a Semi” Accident Attorney
If you have been hit by a semi, call PritzkerOlsen, P.A. at 612-338-0202 for a free consultation. We will immediately launch our own investigation into the accident to determine fault and obtain critical evidence to prove your case.
Pritzker Olsen, P.A. is a Minnesota personal injury law firm with a national reputation. Our attorneys have been interviewed and quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and other publications. We recently won $2,850,000 on behalf of the family of a man who was killed when his vehicle was struck by debris from a truck. Call 1-888-377-8900 (toll-free) for a free consultation with a Minnesota semi accident lawyer or submit our online contact form.
Car Hit by a Semi Case Development
There are many complexities in semi accident cases that need to be examined or investigated, including:
- Multi-layers of liability: truck driver, trucking company, owner of the truck and trailer, owner of the freight, maintenance company and the truck manufacturer
- Size and weight of the semi: an important factor because the size may reduce the visibility, weight alters stopping distance needed, both need to be in compliance with federal regulations
- Truck driver’s license and driving record: must have a current commercial driver’s license (CDL), need to check for violations and restrictions
- Compliance with trucking regulations: not only obey laws but comply with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, including driving times, log books and truck maintenance
- Electronic systems: sophisticated electronic systems provide additional, invaluable information pertaining to tire pressure, speed control, engine control modules and other recorded statistics
- Scene of the accident and vehicles: accident reconstruction specialists and other experts may be hired to examine case and then used as expert witnesses
The money is secondary for many of our clients. They want to know the truth and to hold all responsible parties accountable for the injuries. Our law firm has the experience, skill and money to accomplish that.
Fred Pritzker has successfully litigated many complex truck accident cases over a 30 year span. The Pritzker Olsen team knows how to gather evidence and use it effectively. Call toll-free 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.
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Pritzker Olsen, P.A. is a Minnesota personal injury law firm with the expertise and resources available to conduct our own investigation into your accident. Our lawyers represent people who have been rear ended by a semi or other commercial truck. Fred Pritzker has been named for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, 2010 edition. Fred has appeared on the CBS News, KARE-TV, KSTP-TV and WCCO-TV. To contact a Minnesota semi accident lawyer, please call 1-888-377-8900 or submit our free consultation form.
Semi truck drivers have a duty of care to drive safely. When we investigate a rear end semi accident case, we look for evidence of speeding, tailgating or distracted driving. We also look at the road and weather conditions at the time of the accident to help determine whether the driver was driving responsibly.
Rear Ended by a Semi Truck Compensation
Commercial truck accident victims can sustain serious life-changing injuries, including burns, kidney damage, kidney failure, amputation, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) or spinal injuries. The amount of compensation awarded depends on many factors, including:
- Severity of the injuries
- Financial, physical and emotional impact of the injuries
- Number of parties liable
- The available insurance benefits
- Other specific facts about the case
If the victim of a rear end accident sustained critical injuries, we take time to get to know the family dynamics and the overall affect of these injuries. This is a critically important step in order to obtain the needed and deserved compensation.
Our attorneys have successfully litigated hundreds of complex truck accident cases. To contact a semi accident lawyer at Pritzker Olsen, P.A. for a free consultation about your rear ended by a semi accident case, please call 1-888-377-8900 (toll-free) or submit our online form for review by one of our attorneys.
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