Most drivers take extra precautions to avoid accidents. Whether a passenger vehicle collides with a stationary object, another passenger vehicle, or a bicyclist or pedestrian, the results may range from minimal property damage to serious injuries or even death.
While collisions that involve passenger vehicles and relatively smaller objects are a serious enough concern, commercial truck accidents can cause even more devastating results. There are several reasons commercial truck accidents tend to be more dangerous than car accidents.
The dramatic size difference between a passenger vehicle and a commercial truck is one of the most apparent reasons truck accidents more frequently result in severe injury and property damage.
The Department of Transportation regulates the size and weight of commercial trucks. While passenger vehicles range from 1,500 lbs to 4,000 lbs, commercial trucks generally weigh 8 to 20 times more than passenger vehicles, depending on make and model. Therefore, in collisions that involve a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle, the smaller vehicle receives the majority of the impact and resulting damage due to the tremendous size difference.
The force of impact often damages the passenger vehicle’s exterior and may even cause the vehicle to collide with another vehicle or object, roll over, or veer off the roadway. The vehicle’s occupants may sustain severe injury from the primary impact from the truck or from the secondary impact if the collision caused the occupants to strike the airbag, steering wheel, dashboard, window, or another object inside the vehicle. The impact from a truck collision may also cause neck, shoulder, and back injuries, including whiplash.
Commercial Truck Cargo May Pose Additional Hazards
In addition to outweighing passenger vehicles several times over, commercial trucks also carry cargo that may create additional hazards in the event of a truck accident. From heavy equipment to large boxes of supplies, the force of a collision may cause a commercial truck to spill its cargo onto the roadway and possibly create the potential for additional collisions.
Trucks that carry toxic materials may also create health risks for other people in close proximity as well as for emergency workers and cleanup crews. Trucks that transport flammable materials may create a fire hazard in the event of a collision.
Federal regulations also govern the way trucking companies and third parties may load and transport cargo in the interest of minimizing risk to drivers and members of the surrounding communities through which commercial truckers pass while transporting their materials.
Compensation for Truck Accident Victims
Commercial truck accidents also differ from passenger car accidents in the potential defendants from whom a victim may receive compensation. Injured parties may seek compensation from the trucking company, the company that employs the workers who load the cargo, the truck manufacturer, and potentially other parties.
Accident victims are generally required to face corporate attorneys who are experienced in helping commercial trucking companies save money when settling lawsuits. Therefore, the first settlement amount the trucking company offers is typically not determined with the victim’s best interests in mind.
Therefore, people who are injured in trucking accidents require the help of a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer to help them navigate through settlement negotiations and, if necessary, proceed to court.
If a truck accident causes the death of a victim, the victim’s family members may contact an attorney and file a claim on the victim’s behalf. A truck accident attorney can help everyday people put their best foot forward and present their case in the most compelling light when filing a claim for truck accident compensation.
Contacting a Truck Accident Attorney
It is always best to contact an attorney immediately following a commercial truck accident. A skilled attorney will ensure the victim receives all the necessary medical examinations to properly document his or her injuries. An attorney will carefully listen to the facts of your case and advise you of all your legal options to empower you to make the most informed decisions that are most likely to work in your favor.