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Truck Accidents Your Injury, Our Fight

Albuquerque Truck Accident Lawyer

While the trucking industry distributes goods and services all across the country, negligent truckers are the cause of thousands of accidents just in New Mexico every year. 

According to the New Mexico Department of Transportation, heavy trucks were involved in 5.5% of all crashes in 2017; however, those accidents accounted for 18.7% of all traffic-related fatalities. In total, there were 45,906 truck accidents. The majority resulted in serious and catastrophic injuries.

If you’ve been injured in a crash and are looking to recover from what you were wrongfully put through, an Albuquerque truck accident lawyer from our firm can help you take legal action.

It’s not always easy to stand up for yourself, especially when it involves litigation. Fortunately, our attorneys have years of experience representing all types of accident victims. We’ll provide the same representation and guidance for you. In order to file a successful claim, you first need to understand how truck accidents are unique from other common types of auto crashes.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you should reach out immediately to one of our dedicated attorneys. Our consultations are always free and confidential!

Have You Been Injured?

We Are Ready to Passionately Advocate For Your Rights
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Our Results Make a Difference

Explore How We Have Helped Our Clients
  • $73.21 Million Verdict Birth Injury

    The Buckingham & Vega legal team secured a $73.21 million verdict on behalf of a baby who was catastrophically injured due to the negligence of their doctor and medical team.

  • Record-Setting $72 Million Verdict Birth Injury

    The Buckingham & Vega team obtained a $72 Million verdict in a birth injury case when an OB/ GYN failed to properly monitor the mom during pregnancy.

  • $16 Million Truck Accident

    Buckingham & Vega obtained a $16 million settlement in a truck accident case. The truck driver was speeding and inattentive (texting) and crashed into the rear of a pickup truck stopped at a stoplight.

  • $14 Million Dram Shop Liability

    Our team obtained a $14 million dram shop verdict on behalf of a client who was injured due to negligence.

  • 13 Million Work Injury

    Buckingham & Vega represented an oilfield worker who was killed when their company failed to properly train its employees on how to safely move waste bins. Our client was killed when he became trapped between two bins.

  • 13 Million Truck Accident

    Our team secured a 13 million settlement in a truck accident case. An eighteen-wheeler made an unsafe turn in front of a car driven by a grandmother and her family. The grandmother was killed and the family suffered severe injuries.

Understanding How Tractor-Trailer Crashes Are Different

When two passenger vehicles are involved in a crash, there’s always the chance for injuries or fatalities; however, it’s more likely that property damage will have the most severe consequences. This is typically because accidents between two cars are more likely to happen at slower speeds and the vehicles are similar in size. But, when a large commercial vehicle is involved in a crash with a passenger car, the end result is generally more serious.

18 Wheeler Truck Accident

18-wheelers surpass most motor vehicles in size and weight. While the average car is approximately seven feet long, semi-trucks can be 45 to 65 feet long. Because of the added area, there is an increased risk of getting into an accident. Even smaller commercial trucks, like delivery vehicles, are more at risk to cause an accident due to their larger size and frequent stops.

In regard to weight, the average car weighs between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds. Tractor-trailers are separated according to gross vehicle weight ratings, the highest of which exceeds 33,000 pounds. When a truck weighs ten times more than the other vehicle involved in the accident, it’s likely the occupants in the smaller car will sustain significant injuries.

There are also types of accidents that are unique to trucks. For example, a tractor-trailer can cause an underride or override accident—both of which are likely to be deadly. An underride crash happens when a smaller vehicle gets trapped underneath the back of the truck. While there are usually safety bars in place to prevent these kinds of wrecks, they don’t always work. An override wreck occurs when a semi drives over top of the leading vehicle. Trucks are also at risk of jackknifing, which is when the trailer swings forward and extends past the cab, usually forming an L or V shape.

Jackknife Accidents

Since the trailer is hitched to the tractor, the truck driver has to keep safe driving techniques in mind so the trailer remains behind them. Unfortunately, when they neglect to do this, the trailer can swing out from behind the trailer and form an L or V shape. Once the trailer is no longer following the tractor, there is little the truck driver can do to remain in control.

If there are motorists in the lanes next to the truck, the trailer could collide with them and cause devastating injuries. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, jackknife truck accidents were involved in 4,213 fatal crashes and 110,000 injury crashes in 2016. They define a truck as a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating that’s over 10,000 pounds.

Because these accidents can cause devastating injuries and fatalities, your jackknife truck accident lawyers will investigate to find out what led to the accident happening in the first place. Often, negligence is the reason why you were hurt, and the wreck should not have happened in the first place.

Overloaded Truck Accident

The Federal Highway Administration sets the maximum gross vehicle weight (GVW) for tractor-trailers in New Mexico at 86,400 pounds, with axle weights ranging from 21,600 pounds for a single truck to 34,200 pounds for a tandem truck, applicable to all interstate highways. Additionally, OSHA oversees loading and unloading regulations for off-highway locations like warehouses and retail sites, ensuring proper loading practices to enhance road safety. These regulations are particularly crucial in industries such as logging and meatpacking, where specific hazards are addressed.

An overloaded tractor-trailer poses various dangers on the road, affecting vehicle performance and increasing the risk of accidents. Excess weight can compromise maneuverability, especially during uphill climbs and downhill descents, making it difficult to control the vehicle. Moreover, improperly loaded cargo may lead to loose items falling off the truck, posing hazards to other motorists and potentially causing catastrophic accidents, including rollovers.

Determining liability in an overloaded truck accident can be complex, often involving multiple parties such as the driver and the trucking company. Evidence gathering is critical post-accident, utilizing resources like logbooks and black box data to identify violations and support the victim's case. Logbooks at the location the truck was loaded can give an indication as to how much the vehicle weighed upon departure. After an accident, the black box can also be useful. A black box is a device that calculates what the vehicle is doing and when. It will have a record of events like slamming on the brakes or jackknifing. 

Working with our experienced truck accident attorneys and accident reconstructionist enables trucking accident victims to compile compelling evidence, strengthening their claim for rightful compensation.

Rollover Truck Accidents

According to the Safercar, a resource powered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 95% of all rollovers are tripped. This happens when an external object causes a truck to roll over. Curbs, guardrails, and steep slopes can result in a tripped rollover accident. For example, if a semi is traveling up a steep hill and misjudges a turn, the vehicle could roll over and down the other side of the hill. Un-tripped rollovers happen in mostly top-heavy vehicles. Instead of an object causing the flip, these types of rollovers happen during high-speed collision avoidance measures.

Rollover truck accidents also happen as a result of driver fatigue, distractions, and overweight cargo. If a trucker disregards the hours of service regulations and drives for too long without resting, they’ll be less in control of the vehicle. Distractions, like using a cellphone or eating, also decrease control. An overloaded trailer can result in a rollover if it isn’t secured properly and starts to shift to one side.

Your lawyer will have access to a number of resources to build a case that proves the crash you were in never should have happened. We may call on an accident reconstructionist to determine what happened in the moments leading up to the collision and through the rest of the incident.

To learn more about the litigation process and your legal rights and options, or to get a personal injury claim started, contact our law firm today.

Semi Collisions and Catastrophic Injuries

Auto accident injuries vary depending on a number of factors including the types of vehicles involved, the speed at which the crash happened, the type of wreck, and the age and health status of those involved. Common injuries include broken bones, contusions, lacerations, and whiplash.

When injuries affect a person’s ability to be gainfully employed, they’re considered catastrophic. They generally have permanent, disability effects. The most common catastrophic injuries we see include the following:

  • Spinal cord injury. The spinal cord is a delicate structure. Even minor damage can result in lifelong consequences. Severe nerve damage and paralysis are possible. Depending on the severity, victims could be left with partial or no use of their limbs. Breathing assistance and 24-hour care may also be necessary.
  • Traumatic brain injury. Anytime the skull sustains major trauma a TBI is possible. Injuries to the brain can impair speech and motor skills. Emotional functions and memory may also be impacted. While some functions can be recovered through rehabilitation, others may never return.
  • Amputations. It’s not uncommon for a truck accident victim to end up with a crushed limb. When this happens, amputation may be necessary. The recovery process from surgery like that is challenging and the patient will need to learn to use prosthetic limbs in order to recover as much mobility as possible.
  • Burns. Fires and explosions are possible when trucks carry hazardous or flammable materials. When a truck accident victim sustains burns, they’re likely to be in the hospital for an extended period of time. Multiple surgeries and skin grafts can aid in the healing process, but severe scarring and pain are common.

Recovering from any degree of injury takes time. When you’ve sustained injuries defined as catastrophic, you may feel like you’ll never get your life back in order. Fortunately, our truck accident attorneys will fight for the compensation you need, so you can ensure the care you’re receiving maximizes your chances of recovering.

Investigating a Truck Accident in Albuquerque

There are a number of elements involved in a truck accident investigation. To start, your lawyer will want to collect as much information possible from the scene. This is likely to include police reports, eyewitness statements, and photographs. After that’s been collected, they may bring in an accident reconstructionist to recreate the crash from beginning to end. That will give you a better idea of what happened and why.

In many semi crashes, fatigue, distracted driving, substance abuse, and distracted driving are involved. In others, the trucking company may be at fault for pushing their drivers to work long hours or overload a trailer’s cargo so it becomes too heavy or unstable. Overloaded trucks can easily roll over during a crash, which can cause a rollover accident as well as devastation to all nearby vehicles. The truck’s black box, which contains information like the truck’s speed when the brakes were applied, velocity changes, gear shifts, and more, can produce information that shows the vehicle’s precise location and speed.

In order to prove liability, you’ll need to show how the trucker was negligent. The four legal elements of negligence include duty, breach, causation, and damages. Duty refers to the trucker’s legal obligation to drive responsibly and within the law. If they fail to do so, they’ve breached their duty. Causation refers to the truck driver’s actions that caused your injuries. When those injuries are totaled, they’re considered damages.

Maximizing Recovery After a Crash

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