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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, statistics released in January 2019 noted a nine percent increase in the number of deadly accidents from 4,369 in 2016 to 4,761 in 2017.
The rat race is inevitable, and a large portion of our society relies on highways to get to work, run errands, or stay in contact with their families. On those same roads are over eleven million trucks that are actively operating, with many of their drivers being overworked.
A Harvard study found that about a quarter of drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel. Fifty percent of professional truck drivers have reported the same issue, and it’s becoming more common that human error accounts for about ninety percent of overall large truck accidents.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
Equipment Failure – Defective parts on a truck may not be the fault of the driver, but they can turn deadly. Your attorney will be able to tell if a trucking company or manufacturer may be liable for your accident in addition to the truck driver.
Driver Error – Overworked and given specific goals to meet to increase their income or job offerings, truck drivers often drive recklessly, in a tired state, and even under the influence. The National Transportation and Safety Board estimates that fatigue plays a role in a little over 30% of trucking accidents.
Poorly Maintained Trucks – Thousands of miles are accrued on large trucks per week, and when they are not properly cared for, these large vehicles can become dangerous quickly.
Improperly Loaded Cargo – Loading the beds of commercial trucks must be handled carefully and by following the law. If they are loaded incorrectly, the contents on the truck may spill out onto the road and cause accidents and injuries.
The number of parties who can be held accountable for a truck accident is significant. There’s also a difference in insurance and regulations. Here are a few reasons why you need a reliable auto accident attorney to help you navigate the compensation you deserve.
What Makes Truck Cases Different?
Passenger Car vs. 18-Wheeler
The most apparent difference between a car and an 18-wheeler is their weight. However, there are a few not so noticeable distinctions. Truck drivers need more time to come to a complete stop, and they take longer to speed up. Different angles have to be used by drivers when backing up, and they also have to be aware of different blind spots. During an accident, the collision itself in damages and injuries is quite significant.
An 18-wheeler whose cargo is fully loaded can weigh over 80,000 pounds, while a passenger car may only weigh 3,000 pounds. Accidents involving cars, regular-sized trucks, and SUV’s that collide with large commercial vehicles tend to produce severe injuries. A small fender bender between passenger cars can leave the affected more in shock than seriously injured. That same situation with an 18-wheeler can lead to severe injuries such as whiplash, spinal damage, brain injuries, or broken bones.
Commercial trucks frequently find themselves handling interstate deliveries and therefore required to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as well as the Department of Transportation. Since trucking companies have to travel across state lines, they are held to a standard in which they must abide by more regulations than a typical passenger vehicle.
Since passenger vehicles don’t have the same regulations, truck accidents are much more complicated when it comes to determining the cause and liability of the accident.
More Property Damage
Anything that weighs 80,000 pounds is bound to cause pretty significant damage or cause unfortunate injuries on a grander scale during an accident. When a truck of this magnitude goes up against a 3,000-pound car due to improper lane changes, the results can be devastating. Due to this, property damage from a truck accident tends to be more severe than those from a non-truck involved accident.
Injuries to car passengers and their possessions can lead to irreversible damage and inability to recuperate the emotional and physical value of what was lost. Although trucking companies often carry much larger policies to compensate for this risk, the effects of such damage are still painful for many victims of a collision with these beasts of the road.
If you or someone you love were harmed in a truck accident in Louisiana or Texas, contact attorney Elizabeth Hancock. She’ll work tirelessly on your case to reach the best possible conclusion.