We’ve all thought about it. You’re driving down the highway, and the lanes are swarming with 18-wheelers. Your pulse quickens, and you pay more attention to the road. Without having been in an accident with a truck or even knowing someone who has, instinctively, we all know that truck wrecks are severe. And unfortunately, the facts reflect this. Trucks weigh about 20 times more than regular vehicles. All this weight, rushing at the same speed as lighter autos, creates a deadly force. Seventy-one percent of fatalities that occur in truck accidents are the people in other vehicles.
But why exactly is this the case? And how do truck accidents differ when it comes to resolving liability post-accident?
What Are the Specific Risk Factors That Make Trucks More Prone to Accidents?
The weight, length, and height of trucks make them particularly susceptible to accidents. The following are the risks associated with 18-wheelers that create such devastating accidents with other motorists.
Velocity and Stopping Distance
Due to their size and weight, trucks need a lot more distance to come to a full stop than regular cars. Their high velocity means that, when forced to stop quickly, trucks could careen into the backs of cars in front of them, leading to injury.
Trucks are composed of two parts: the cab and the trailer. Jackknifing is particularly common in icy or rainy conditions. The cab of the truck could slip in one direction and the trailer in another, wrenching the truck into a 90-degree angle. Then, the truck moves unpredictably all over the road, taking up multiple lanes and mowing down cars in the process.
Not only are trucks long, but they are also tall. The floor that the cargo rests on is often higher than the tops of regular cars. The height of the truck means it has a high center of gravity. So, when a truck driver makes a quick maneuver, this high center of gravity will often cause the truck to roll over. When an 18-wheeler rolls over, it could crush oncoming cars and innocent passengers.
Trucks have massive blind spots. The length of an 18-wheeler can completely obscure even large SUVs. So, if a truck driver has not thoroughly checked their blind spots, they could easily change lanes right into another vehicle.
What Makes the Aftermath of Truck Accidents Different?
The design of trucks makes them particularly susceptible to serious accidents. But, other than that, how are truck accidents different? The answer lies in the commercial nature of trucking and the legal complexities that surround truck drivers and their companies.
Truck accidents lead to severe injury — much more severe than ‘regular’ car accidents. In 2019, 5,005 people died due to truck accidents, and year after year, this number increases. In cases in which the passengers of the smaller vehicle do not pass away, the injuries they are left with can be permanently life-altering.
Who Is Responsible?
When an accident occurs between two cars, it’s fairly easy to determine who is at fault. Unfortunately, this is not the case with truck accidents. When a truck accident happens, there are several parties who could be liable.
- Truck Drivers — Of course, the truck driver could be responsible. They could have made an error in judgment when driving, be in violation of their Hours of Service, driving over the speed limit, or making other reckless choices that cause an accident.
- The Parent Company — The trucking company itself could be responsible for the accident. Perhaps the company failed to load cargo properly or allowed unqualified drivers onto the road.
- The Maintenance Provider — If a truck was improperly maintained, or a mistake was made while repairing the vehicle, it could lead to a catastrophic accident.
After a truck accident, you aren’t just staring down a pile of medical bills and time away from work. You are also staring up at massive, multi-million dollar companies and their legal representatives. A personal injury attorney understands the ins and outs of truck accident law and will know how to get proof that a certain party was responsible for the accident.
Call The Bruner Law Firm Today
When a truck accident occurs, you are up against big companies with large legal budgets and multiple associated entities. For most individuals, that’s far too much to handle alone. The skilled attorneys of The Bruner Law Firm have years of experience helping victims just like you through the aftermath of large truck accidents. We are here to help you get organized, find out how much compensation you deserve, and most importantly, build a case against those responsible for the accident. Call us today at (850) 243-2222 or reach out to us online today.