When it comes to the level of risk they face and pose on the highway, all vehicles are not equal. While typical passenger vehicles are involved in more accidents than large trucks annually, the latter are typically involved in more serious, damaging accidents because they’re so big. What are some of the big differences between car and truck accidents and how does it affect you? Let’s take a look.
Facts and Figures
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, while big trucks are involved in a smaller proportion of accidents, their impact can be devastating. In the average year, the group estimates commercial trucks are involved with:
- 287,000 property damage claims
- 77,000 injuries
- more than 4,000 deaths
Because 18-wheelers typically weigh around 30,000 lbs. – compared to the average sedan’s 3,500 lbs. – truck accidents tend to be involved in accidents that are more catastrophic.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
In general, trucks are vulnerable to some of the same accident causes as any other vehicle. Distracted drivers, weather or human error are some of the most common causes. But trucks also have special concerns, particularly when it comes to driver exhaustion. Because truckers are hauling goods as part of a job, they often feel pressured to reach their destination quickly.
When that pressure results in drivers overextending themselves, the result can be falling asleep on the road and causing a major incident. Additionally, big trucks themselves can be generally dangerous due to their large loads. Improperly loaded cargo can shift around, causing weight distribution issues that can impact the driver’s ability to navigate corners or slick roads. These are just a few of the most common causes of truck accidents.
With so many risks inherent to trucks, one might think it would be fairly easy to prove their liability in a court case. But that’s not quite true. Because trucking companies know the risks of having many drivers in these vehicles, they are typically aggressive about protecting themselves. That means trucks are equipped with devices tracking everything from speed and acceleration rate to braking time. They also employ aggressive lawyers. The result: Even with severe injuries, you can face an uphill battle winning a settlement.
Despite the inherent risks of big rigs, properly presenting a case and winning a settlement in a truck accident can be tricky. If you’ve been injured in a wreck with an 18-wheeler, look for a qualified personal injury attorney in Minneapolis, MN with experience holding these companies accountable.
Thanks to Johnston | Martineau PLLP, Attorneys at Law for their insight into car and truck accidents.