The size difference between trucks and cars is just one of multiple reasons that accidents involving trucks can be fatal.
Many factors contribute to the fact that truck accidents are dangerous and inherently more dangerous than car accidents. There are many rules and regulations in place to make trucking safer. However, there are still many accidents every day in the United States.
In 2018, there were 4,862 large trucks involved in fatal crashes, a 51% increase from 2009. The way that trucks are built and the way that they function cause more severe accidents that result in serious injury. Some factors that contribute to truck accidents include:
- driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- distracted driving
Common injuries from truck accidents include, but are not limited to, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, crushing injuries, amputation, burns, back injuries, and broken bones. Not only will these injuries affect one’s quality of life, but they’ll leave the victim with an overwhelming amount of medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Filing an accident claim with an experienced truck accident attorney is the best way to ensure that the most compensation is received for one’s damages.
Truck Weight, Height, and Length
The average semi-truck weighs about 20,000 pounds when unloaded and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. In comparison, the average passenger vehicle only weighs 5% of a semi-trucks maximum weight at 4,000 pounds. Their considerable weight causes a much more significant impact with more force than a regular car accident.
In a truck accident case, the trucking company may be liable if they have breached any of the size requirements laid out in federal trucking regulation. For example, a truck loaded over the maximum allowed weight could cause an accident. That accident may also be more severe because of the vehicle’s increased weight.
Avoiding obstacles is much more challenging in a large commercial truck. While a passenger vehicle can easily maneuver around debris in the road or a vehicle in the breakdown lane, it’s much harder for a commercial vehicle to make last-minute maneuvers. Keep this in mind when driving around commercial trucks. If they have to make a sudden movement, a crash is likely.
While a driver might not have the ability to react to certain obstacles out of their control, they may be liable if they weren’t paying attention. This would require an abrupt maneuver to avoid the obstacle in their way. If the driver is distracted, intoxicated, or drowsy, they will be less likely to properly maneuver.
Similarly, commercial trucks also require more time to come to a complete stop than passenger vehicles. For this reason, truck drivers must allow themselves enough space to properly stop in the case of backed up traffic or an abruptly stopped vehicle. Failure to keep the proper distance to allow for a commercial truck’s long stopping distance means that the driver may be liable for injuries individuals experience due to a truck accident.
Commercial trucks have large blind spots that drivers may stay in for extended periods of time. This means that drivers have to put a conscious effort into checking their blindspots consistently. And it’s especially important to do so before changing lanes or merging.
A commercial truck accident that occurs because of lane changes are almost always the driver’s fault for not paying close enough attention to their blind spots. This may be because they’re intoxicated, distracted, or fatigued.
Hazardous materials are especially dangerous and require further driver certification. If they’re loaded improperly, mishandled, or the driver doesn’t follow specific guidelines, an accident caused with these materials on board could be catastrophic. Hazardous materials may even cause a fire or an explosion depending on the material.
Many parties could be liable for any accident that involves hazardous materials. Dangerous material truck accidents occur for the same reasons as regular truck accidents. As such, the driver, trucking company, loaders, manufacturers, and truck owners could be liable depending on the cause of the accident.
If cargo isn’t properly secured, it may shift while the driver is on the road. Shifting cargo can make the truck harder to control. It may also cause the truck to turn over at the axis. This is something often seen in large pile-up accidents caused by a commercial truck.
If the loose cargo has caused an accident, the loading team could be liable for the accident for not ensuring that the shipment was secured before departure.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney
If you’ve been involved in a commercial truck accident, please contact our team of experienced Minnesota truck accident attorneys at Sand Law LLC. We have years of experience working with truck accident law. We’re ready to help you with your truck accident claim.
We know that filing a lawsuit can be a stressful process. But we’re here to make it easier every step of the way. We’ll deal with insurance companies and negotiations on your behalf while you focus on relaxing and recovering from your injuries. For more information or a free case evaluation, please contact us online using our chat box option or by calling us at 651-291-7263.