When you search for “semi-truck accident lawyers near me,” you’ll find an overwhelming number of personal injury lawyers. Know you are not alone.
Poulos & Coates, LLP, has 70 years of trial experience and has recovered more than $300 million for our clients through verdict or settlement.
This page will explain the things you need to know about financial recovery after a semi-truck accident.
Common Causes in New Mexico Semi-Truck Accidents
New Mexico Department of Transportation (MDOT) tracked $144.5 billion worth of freight across New Mexico’s 12,321 state highway miles in 2017.
MDOT predicts that by 2035, nearly 46,000 trucks will travel on Interstates 10 and 40 each day. In 2017, 2,587 crashes involved semi-trucks.
That’s 5.5% of all vehicle accidents in the state, accounting for 19% of accident fatalities. As semi-truck traffic increases, so do New Mexico’s semi-truck accidents, especially in Albuquerque (where 42% of the state’s population lives), Las Cruces (the second-most populated city), Farmington, and Santa Fe.
In a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), semi drivers identified the following factors as the top causes of crashes:
- Brake problems,
- Interruption of the traffic flow by congestion or a previous crash,
- Prescription or over-the-counter drug use,
- Traveling too fast for conditions,
- Unfamiliarity with roadway,
- Roadway problems,
- Required to stop (traffic control device, crosswalk),
- Poor road surveillance, and
The enormous weight of semi-trucks can lead to severe accidents if any of the above factors are also present. In New Mexico, semi-trucks have a legal weight limit of 86,400 pounds, but a truck could weigh more if the state issues an overweight permit.
New Mexico’s maximum truck weight is higher than average among western states (only Wyoming’s limit is higher). New Mexico’s limit is higher even than the federal limit of 80,000 pounds because of grandfathered laws.
Because a semi-truck can weigh sixteen times more than an average car, trucks need 40% more time to stop. Unfortunately, semi-truck accidents are common, even outside the major interstates. Indeed, FMCSA estimated a cost of at least $36,788,159,418 for all semi-truck accidents nationwide in 2005.
How Much Is My Claim Worth?
When you’ve been injured in a semi-truck accident, the trucking company’s insurance adjuster will call you right away. They may be pleasant and friendly and offer you an apology.
They may offer you a settlement that seems “reasonable.” But what is the value of your pain and suffering? Once you accept an insurance settlement offer, you can’t change your mind.
The best thing to do is not to talk to the insurance adjuster. You want to tell them to talk to your attorney. Even if they call to “check” on you, don’t make small talk—even saying you’re “fine” or “good” can come back to bite you if an injury comes up later.
Limiting yourself to a settlement before you hire a semi-truck accident attorney is to undervalue your claim. Poulos & Coates can help ensure you aren’t selling yourself short of your rightfully owed recovery.
Truck Accident Attorneys Near Me
Once we’ve evaluated your claim, our attorneys at Poulos & Coates can help you recover the value of your medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, disfigurement, or disability, and any loss of companionship.
The FMCSA requires trucks to have public liability insurance (covering bodily injury, property damage, and environmental restoration) of $750,000 to $5 million, depending on the commodities transported.
Still, the market norm is $1 million. FMCSA estimates that 30 to 100 crashes per year exceed the trucking insurance’s limit on compensation. Poulos & Coates has experience dealing with insurance companies and can help you understand your options for recovery.
What Do I Need to Win a Semi-Truck Injury Claim?
New Mexico requires you to file a personal injury claim within three years of the injury. It is a good idea to contact an experienced semi lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. That way, the evidence about the accident is more available, and we can discuss any injuries as they arise.
When you hire Poulos & Coates, we will start by reaching out to the trucker’s insurance company. We will ask for their insurance declaration page, also known as the dec page.
The dec page will tell us the maximum amount their insurance will pay, although other factors will affect how much you might recover, like the availability of other assets. Poulos & Coates will work to help you to reach all potential areas of recovery.
We will also work to recover the truck’s black box—an event data recorder (EDR) or accident data recorder (ADR) that tracks data about a crash. EDR evidence can help to make your case.
Although the law does not require semi-trucks to have EDRs, many trucks on the road today do have them. If an EDR was present, it could tell facts about the accident, like the truck’s speed or whether the driver was braking or accelerating during the crash.
We may need to go to court to have a judge order the insurance company to hand over the truck’s EDR.
Poulos & Coates: The Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer Near Me
The attorneys at Poulos & Coates understand that a semi-truck accident can seriously affect your life and wellbeing. We truly care for our clients and dedicate ourselves to shifting the burden from you and your family to the trucking insurance company.
We have represented victims in more than 125 jury trials. We are one of the only law firms with a lawyer, doctor, and nurse working on every case.
You can rest easy knowing we have the experience to take your case through trial or work with you to get the settlement you deserve.
Contact Poulos & Coates today to see if we are the “semi truck accident lawyers near me” who will fight for the compensation you should receive after an accident.