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Truck Accidents

Commercial truck accidents have some key distinctions from regular car accidents. Semi-truck drivers and manufacturers are held to higher standards than most other drivers. If something goes wrong, the driver or the truck company may reimburse you for your personal injuries.

This article provides helpful information about truck accidents, including special considerations. It discusses common causes of truck accidents and the resulting personal injury claims. The article also provides links to numerous other resources to help you learn more.

Special Considerations in Truck Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents involving big rig trucks present some unique challenges. A fully loaded commercial truck can weigh 80,000 pounds or more. In contrast, the average passenger automobile weighs about 3,000 pounds. 

Due to the significant disparity in size and the fundamental laws of physics, accidents with big rigs can be devastating and result in property damage and the need for medical treatment. The large size of these vehicles also means that the acceleration, braking, visibility, and turning of big rigs are limited. This means accident scenes that involve trucks are often more destructive and deadly.

Large vehicles, such as eighteen-wheelers, are prone to "jackknifing" under certain conditions. The chance of this occurring is increased by sudden braking and turning. Jackknifing involves the horizontal twisting of the truck. This often results in the truck blocking multiple lanes of traffic. This action may not result in liability for the truck driver if it was due to unforeseeable road conditions or an abrupt turn to avoid a motorist or other obstacle.

Commercial trucks also have difficulty on certain turns. Right turns often require the use of two lanes. Court decisions about whether drifting between lanes in such situations constitutes negligence have been divided.

Trucks are often operated by drivers acting on behalf of a trucking or shipping company. As a result, identifying defendants in a semi-truck accident may differ from an accident with another private motorist. Employers, contractors, trucking companies, and insurance companies may be liable parties in a personal injury case. Questions about liability can be complicated when the truck driver is an independent contractor or if the truck is hauling hazardous materials.

Common Causes of Personal Injury in Truck Accidents

Apart from the dangers posed by the size and lack of maneuverability of commercial trucks, several situations may contribute to accidents with other motorists. Some are the fault of the truck driver. Others are the result of common mistakes or driver errors made by other motorists.

Truck drivers may pose an increased risk to other motorists under certain circumstances. These include:

  • Inadequate training
  • Systems of compensation that encourage more and faster driving
  • Unrealistic schedules that result in drivers who are tired or rushed
  • Inadequate maintenance of the commercial vehicle

Passenger cars and other motorists may increase the risk of an accident with a big rig by:

  • Abrupt lane changes or improper merges
  • Making a left turn in front of a truck with insufficient space
  • Moving to the right of a truck making a right-hand turn
  • Driving in the areas behind and beside the truck when the driver has limited visibility

Wind turbulence may push a passing car into a tractor-trailer. In addition, a slow entry into traffic can force a trucker into an abrupt stop. Vehicles left on the roadside that provide insufficient space, driving between large trucks, and unsafe passing are additional hazards passenger vehicles create for truck drivers.

Learn More About Truck Accidents

Below you'll find additional resources about truck accidents. Click on any of the links to learn more.

  • Truck Accident Overview: Provides a comprehensive overview of potential defendants, damages, and special considerations in truck accident cases
  • Truck Accident FAQ: Frequently asked questions about commercial truck accidents and your rights as a truck accident victim. Find answers to your questions about fault, liability, damages, legal help, and other elements of truck accident cases
  • Truck Accident Resources: Provides a list of links to truck and highway safety organizations. Organizations include the American Trucking Association, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
  • Truck Accident Causes: Covers the most common causes of commercial truck accidents and provides safety tips to help you avoid a run-in with a commercial truck
  • Truck Accident Settlements: What to Expect: General information about settling a truck accident injury claim after a truck collision with a commercial driver. This includes what to expect during the truck accident claim process, including the different kinds of settlements, advantages, potential downsides, and more
  • Should I Get a Truck Accident Lawyer?: Offers help in deciding whether you need to work with a truck accident attorney when pursuing a claim. The article discusses identifying the responsible parties, choosing a legal strategy, finding an experienced attorney in personal injury law, and more

Get Help From a Truck Accident Lawyer

If you have additional questions about truck accident laws or truck accident lawsuits, contacting a truck accident attorney for legal advice or a free case review is always a good idea. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help ensure you or your loved one receive fair compensation for medical bills related to serious injuries like broken bones or a traumatic brain injury you sustained in a truck crash. 

A personal injury attorney can help you with claims for wrongful death and related medical expenses, too. They'll give you a case evaluation and ensure you receive full compensation for your medical care, severe injuries, and property damage.

Learn About Truck Accidents

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