Truck Accident Statistics
As motorists, we share the road with many different types of vehicles, including buses, farm vehicles in some areas, bicycles and sport cars. However, the most daunting vehicles are the tractor-trailers or other large trucks barreling down the freeway or other major road at 60 mph or higher and suddenly, if we are unlucky, coming into our lane of traffic.
Trucks Can Cause Catastrophic Accidents
Trucking accidents are not the same as those between passenger cars. Trucks can weigh 30 times that of an ordinary passenger car and have a substantial capacity for causing catastrophic injuries. If you were injured in a trucking accident or a loved one was killed, you should consult with Neil Burns, an experienced truck crush lawyer, to discuss your legal options.
There are nearly 400,000 accidents involving trucks each year in the US that result in injuring approximately 140,000 people. For example, in 2010, the Department of Transportation reported 3,413 truck-related fatalities. Though there are fewer accidents involving trucks because there are vastly more passenger vehicles, the risk of being killed in a truck accident is dramatically higher.
About 75% of trucking fatalities involve tractor-trailers. The majority of these unfortunate accidents surprisingly do not happen on interstates but on other major roads, likely due to fewer options for drivers to avoid accidents. This fact is true in Massachusetts where about 57% of truck accidents occur in rural areas. A truck traveling at a high speed can take up to the length of the New England Patriots’ Gillette Stadium before stopping.
Not surprising is that 72% of these fatalities occur to occupants other than those in trucks.
What are the Causes of Truck Accidents?
Trucks are vehicles capable of carrying huge loads, some of which are hazardous materials. Because trucking companies are commercial carriers, they are held to a higher standard of care than ordinary motorists. Consequently, they have a higher duty to ensure their vehicles and drivers adhere to strict state and federal laws. Some of the factors that are the causes of truck accidents include the following:
- Brake failure due to overheating
- Error in judging stopping distances
- Lockup of the steering axle brake resulting in a rollover
- Inadequately secured cargo
- Blind spots or No Zones
- Poor training of drivers
- Driver fatigue
- Impaired drivers from drugs or alcohol
- Failure to perform a complete pre-trip or during trip inspection of cargo and vehicle
- Excessive speed
Fatigue is a major factor with studies showing that driving for more than 8 hours at a time significantly increases the risk of a driver falling asleep or not reacting quickly enough to avoid or to deal with a hazard.
Why You Need to Retain an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
Trucking accidents can result in substantial damages to victims and their families. An inexperienced lawyer may not understand the multiple differences between truck collisions and car accidents. Their inexperience and poor handling of these claims lead to victims not receiving the compensation to which they are entitled.
The laws affecting truckers and trucking companies are numerous. The industry must follow certain regulations promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Some of these include:
- Maintaining detailed logs
- Having drug policies and drug testing procedures
- Restrictions on driving shift and working hours
- Reporting requirements
- Weight, size and route limits
Further, there are different dynamics at work in a trucking accident for which a truck lawyer must be familiar. Your attorney’s proper investigation and handling of an accident claim is essential if you expect to obtain the maximum compensation possible. We have represented victims of truck accidents since 1985.
Damages in a Truck Accident Claim
Many accidents do involve serious bodily injury, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries including degrees of paralysis, disfigurement and severed limbs. You can collect compensation for:
- Lost earnings
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Loss of consortium
- Lost earning capacity
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
If a loved one was lost, your damages are different and the claim must be brought by an administrator for the decedent’s estate in a wrongful death or survival claim. Damages include:
- Loss of love and affection and companionship
- Loss of present and future earnings
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Pre-death pain and suffering by the decedent
- Possible punitive damages
Retain a Trucking Accident Lawyer
Remember that trucking companies will fight your claim with a battery of high priced and very experienced defense attorneys, which is another sound reason why you need to retain an attorney with the resources available to meet any challenges to proving liability and damages. Consult with Neil Burns, a Massachusetts trucking accident lawyer who has successfully handled numerous trucking accident claims and who can explain to you the issues and other factors involved in your truck accident case.