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How Are Truck Accidents Different from Other Auto Accidents? 

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Posted on September 8, 2021

When two small cars collide, significant damage and injuries can occur. However, an accident involving a commercial truck can be destructive and deadly. Even if the crash occurs at low speeds, the smaller vehicle occupants will likely suffer more serious injuries than the truck driver.

In 2019, 4,119 people died in accidents involving large trucks. Only 16 percent of the fatalities were truck occupants, while 67 percent were passenger car drivers and passengers. This shows the dangers of encountering a commercial truck on the road.

Although you can take safety precautions to avoid an accident, there isn’t much you can do to prevent bodily harm if you find yourself on a collision course with a tractor-trailer.

Trucks Are Bigger and Heavier than Cars

One of the reasons truck accidents differ from other auto accidents is that commercial trucks are some of the heaviest and biggest vehicles on the road. A standard compact car weighs around 3,000 pounds. However, large trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds with a fully loaded cargo container. They’re also much longer than passenger cars.

Maneuvering this type of vehicle through traffic presents challenges for the truck driver. A large truck requires a greater stopping distance than a passenger vehicle. Stopping distance is the distance it takes for a driver to perceive a dangerous situation ahead and brake in time to avoid a crash. A truck traveling at 65 miles per hour needs at least 200 yards to come to a complete stop.

Trucks Contain Hazardous Cargo

Some people store items in their cars. However, that doesn’t compare to the cargo carried on commercial trucks. Unsecured items can fall onto the road from the trailer of a truck, creating obstacles for drivers. Some are sharp and can become projectiles, piercing a vehicle’s windshield or impaling a pedestrian on the street.

Sometimes, truck drivers transport hazardous freight. Dangerous substances, such as gasoline, can spark a fire during a crash. Other hazardous materials can burn the skin upon direct contact or damage a person’s lungs if they inhale the fumes.

Truck Drivers Can’t See You

A commercial truck, such as a tractor-trailer, has a blind spot on all four sides. They’re much larger than the blind spots on passenger vehicles, which only have two. The blind spot to the right of a truck extends out two lanes from the side of the cab. If you’re traveling directly next to them, they won’t be able to see you.

Truck drivers are supposed to check all blind spots before maneuvering. Changing lanes, merging onto a highway, and turning right or left is a challenge. If they don’t thoroughly look around them before proceeding, they could sideswipe a car and run it off the road.

Truck Accidents Cause Life-Threatening Injuries

Even if an accident happens at low speed, the occupants of a passenger vehicle can suffer debilitating injuries. The weight and size of the truck put more force behind the impact of a collision.

Common injuries resulting from truck accidents include:

  • Broken bones
  • Loss of limb
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Paralysis
  • Disability

Emotional injuries are also common following truck accidents. It’s a traumatic experience that could affect someone for the rest of their life.

Determining Liability Can Be a Problem

Since multiple parties are involved in the operation of a commercial truck, it’s more challenging to determine who should be held liable. The truck driver isn’t the only party responsible for avoiding causing harm to others.

Trucking companies must perform routine maintenance and inspections on all of their vehicles. They should repair any damage promptly and replace recalled parts, so the truck functions correctly.

Employees or companies loading the cargo must follow federal regulations regarding securement systems and maximum weight and size limits. Overloading items onto the trailer could throw the entire truck off balance and prevent the driver from having total control.

Victims Suffer More Expensive Losses

The expenses incurred after an accident with a commercial truck are often much higher than collisions between two passenger vehicles. The violent impact can crush a small car and the people inside.

Many victims need to take time off from work to heal, resulting in lost wages. If you’re not earning your regular income, you likely can’t afford your medical care and daily living expenses.

Severe injuries come with expensive medical bills. You might need hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments, and other treatment while recovering. You may also need to pay for vehicle repairs. These costs can cause financial strain and even lead to debt.

Contact Us

If you were injured in a truck accident due to another person’s negligence, contact Caffee Law right now. We could represent you in your case and help to hold the at-fault party liable. You should not be forced to pay out of pocket for your medical treatment and other costs if your actions didn’t contribute to the collision.

Call us at (206) 312-0954 today for your free consultation and learn more about the available legal options for pursuing compensation.