According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 72 percent of truck accidents were fatal in 2014. Tractor-trailers are said to be one of the most dangerous vehicles on the road. Here are seven common questions about semi truck accidents to help you gain a greater understanding of these accidents and how to avoid them.
Why does a semi truck accident cause serious damages and injuries?
There are many different causes of semi truck accidents and the damages and injuries they cause. The two biggest reasons are due to the weight and stopping distance.
Big trucks such as 18-wheelers, coal trucks, log trucks, cement trucks, tracker trailers, and buses all weight a significantly larger amount than a 3,000-pound passenger vehicle. On average, a motor vehicle weighs 2.5 tons, while a tractor-trailer can weigh 40 tons.
Another reason for serious damages after a semi truck accident is the amount of time it takes for these large trucks to stop. For example, if a semi truck or tractor-trailer was traveling at 40 mph and started to break the exact same moment as a standard vehicle, it would take the semi truck 45 feet longer to come to a complete stop. A passenger vehicle needs about 306 feet to stop after braking while a tractor-trailer needs about 525 feet.
What are some common reasons for semi truck accidents?
Statistics found by a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported the following:
- 27 percent of semi trucks had brake problems.
- 5 percent of semi truck drivers were driving aggressively.
- 19 percent of drivers were unfamiliar with the route.
- 7 percent were driving tired.
- 10 percent of truck drivers felt under pressure to meet a deadline.
- 3 percent of semi trucks experienced a tire problem.
- 1 percent of semi truck drivers were ill.
- 4 percent of drivers were under the influence of illegal substances.
- 3 percent had been drinking alcohol.
Other common reasons for semi truck accidents including the following:
- Malfunctioning equipment, including poorly maintained, design defects, lack of adherence to guidelines and manufacturing errors.
- Bad weather conditions in which the driver did not slow down for wet or icy roads.
- Mistakes made by the truck driver including driving distracted, drunk, speeding or other similar reasons.
- Insecure loading such as distributing weight evenly on the semi causing it to slip off or tip over and crash.
- Trucking company fails to follow industry requirements.
How can I avoid being involved in a semi truck accident?
Truck drivers are trained to be excellent drivers. However, they do work long hours and can be tired at the wheel. Here are some tips to stay safe while driving near a semi truck and avoid a semi truck accident.
- Avoid driving in the semi truck’s blind spot. Blind spots on a semi truck include the left and right sides about two-thirds of the way back and sometimes even directly in front of the truck. Be extra careful when passing a semi truck on either side. Always pass a semi truck on the left as quickly as possible to avoid a semi truck accident.
- When a semi truck is turning, stay out of the way. Never go into any open spaces to the right of a semi truck with their turn signal on. When the truck turns, the trailer of the semi truck with instantly fill that gap crushing anything in its way. This is one of the most come causes of semi truck accidents.
- Watch for warning signs that the truck driver is tired or distracted. A good indication that a truck driver is tired at the wheel is when the trailer is swaying from side to side. This swaying action can easily lead to a rollover accident or jackknife truck accident. If you see the trailer of a semi swaying, get out of the way. You can pull over, accelerate or slow down, whatever it takes to avoid a semi truck accident.
How does a semi truck accident case defer from a car accident case?
Often times clients involved in a semi truck accident will mistakenly believe their case will be handled much like any other car accident. However, this is not true. In fact, common passenger vehicle accidents are very different from 18-wheeler accidents. Here are some ways in which semi truck accidents differ from car accident cases.
Due to the amount of time semi trucks are on the road as well as the size, nature, and movement of an 18-wheeler, semi truck companies will typically carry 50 times more coverage than an average passenger vehicle. This amount of coverage is necessary to cover the extensive damages and injuries incurred from a semi truck accident.
The worth of an insurance policy for a semi truck can be worth millions. This is exactly why the insurance carrier will often times do almost anything to find a way out of being liable for the accident. This is also why you need an experienced, trusted and aggressive attorney from Parke Gordon Law Firm fighting for your rights.
Because of the nature of a semi truck driver, they are typically governed by hundreds of more regulations than a typical passenger vehicle. These regulations include the maintenance of the semi, the driver’s license and qualifications of the driver, annual inspections, and logbooks.
Truck accidents are often more involved cases because of these regulations. For example, hiring a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following a semi-truck accident is critical for your case. Semi truck companies are required by federal law to keep documents about their trucks and their drivers but after a period of time, they may destroy those documents.
Greater Property Damage
When an 80,000-pound semi-truck hits a 3,000-pound car, obviously the damages are going to be extensive. Injuries from a semi truck accident are often much more severe than injuries incurred from a car vs. car accident. Although many trucking companies will carry large insurance policies to cover such damages, the effects of such serious injuries are often still life-changing if not deadly.
Along with the damage to your vehicle, you may also be facing expensive medical bills. Parke Gordon Law Firm can help. Our experienced attorneys will help you deal with the insurance companies, medical bills, lost wages, and property damages resulting from a semi truck accident. We will fight for every penny you are owed. Call (509) 482-7274 now for a free consultation.
Fatal Semi Truck Accidents
Due to the large size and weight of semi trucks, being hit is often times deadly. In fact, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), about 3,000 to 5,000 fatal semi truck accidents happen each year. These wrongful deaths are all too common. If your loved one has been killed due to the negligence of a semi truck driver, contact Parke Gordon Law Firm immediately.
What is the estimated total cost of a semi truck accident?
Commercial vehicle accidents including property damage, injuries and deaths, and other expenses to cost the nation the following estimated total amounts according to the FMCSA:
- In 2009, $79 billion.
- In 2010, $84 billion.
- In 2001, $87 billion.
What is the value of a semi truck accident case?
A person injured in a truck accident is entitled to recover a number of different types of damages, categorized as either economic or non-economical or special or general. Many people settle for much less than they could recover from the trucking company or it’s insurance company because they did not hire an attorney and do not know what types of damages are available to a truck accident victim. Our experienced semi truck lawyers can build your case by employing experts to investigate liability, produce life care plans, economic analysis, and make a vocational rehabilitation assessment to maximize the value of the damages you are entitled to recover.
When should I contact a semi truck accident lawyer after an accident?
Never hesitate and never wait to hire an experienced personal injury attorney when you have been involved in an accident with a semi-truck. Semi truck companies are required by federal law to keep documents about their trucks and their drivers but after a period of time, they may destroy those documents. You need to hire a semi truck lawyer immediately after a truck accident who can preserve evidence that can be used to demonstrate that the trucking company and its driver were negligent. An attorney can protect your rights by sending a special letter called a spoliation letter to the trucking company. After receipt of the letter, the trucking company will be forced to preserve the documents. If the documents show a pattern of willful and reckless behavior, you may be entitled to recover punitive damages.
Do not hurt your chances of obtaining a full recovery by waiting to hire a semi truck accident lawyer. Waiting too long might result in the trucking company destroying valuable evidence that you could have used to prove your case. Call our Spokane law office now for a free consultation. Our law firm can help take the stress out of the claim and make sure you get every penny you are owed. You pay nothing until your case is settled.
You Pay Nothing Until We Win Your Case