Understanding Truck Accidents and the Resulting Injuries

It is no challenge to understand how ravaging a collision with a truck can be. A small car, an SUV, a motorcycle and a pedestrian all share this in common: if they get into a collision with a large truck the drivers, riders and passengers are sure suffer severe bodily harm if not death as a result.

Thousands of people every year are unexpectedly and fatally struck by all different kinds of trucks. Semi-tractor trailers, oversized trucks and commercial truck accidents cause more than 50,000 deaths each year and countless numbers of serious injuries. Most of these accidents occur on weekends.

Percentage-wise, the number of trucks in accidents annually is higher than that of motor vehicles, even though there are far greater numbers of passenger cars and other automobiles traversing America’s thoroughfares and victims of truck accidents leave behind shattered families or survive only to require permanent, long-term physical therapy and personal caretakers to aid them in carrying out the most banal, everyday activities.

Recently, a New York sanitation truck crashed into the side of a slow-moving freight train in an industrial neighborhood along the Brooklyn waterfront, and local authorities are puzzled as to how this railroad crossing truck accident could have occurred. It appears as though the truck drove into the train when the drivers should have had ample warning of its presence.

This accident may be more evidence of the most common causes of truck accidents that truck accident attorneys have known about for years: trucking driver error as caused by unsafe operation, lack of sleep or lack of training.

Information about Common Truck Accidents

The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute researched truck accident fatalities over a 10 year time frame and found that deaths caused by truck collisions had unwaveringly risen 5.8 percent.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established, through rigorous scientific research, a profusion of truck accident scenarios that occur with the most frequency. Fatalities and injuries caused by truck accidents are most often a result of physical factors affecting the truck driver, such as sudden health crises like heart attacks or strokes, driver exhaustion, and the loss of truck control caused by a variety of factors like dangerous weather conditions, mechanical failures or tire blowouts.

The impact of the collision between massive trucks and much smaller passenger vehicles and the impact of trucks hitting pedestrians are evidently more force than the former can successfully withstand and death or injuries are guaranteed to result.

The FMCSA, in another study, discovered that the severity and type of truck accident changes based on three factors: the weight of the truck in question, the cargo body type of the truck and the sort of roadway the accidents occurred upon. Roadways, as categorized by the FMCSA may be classified as rural, urban or unknown. 63% of all large-truck accidents that occur annually take place on highways, interstates, freeways and expressways which are considered to be urban roadways.

In this same study, the weight of the truck in question also played a part in the severity of injuries and fatalities related to collisions. Separated as single-unit trucks with two, three or more axles combination trucks including tractor trailers the research outlines the wide variety of tracks involved in some way in accidents including: bobtail units without a cargo body, livestock carriers, automobile carriers, garbage trucks, dump trucks, van trucks click refrigerator bands or open top vans, tanker trucks carrying liquid, dry bulk or compressed gas, cement mixers, logging trucks, tow trucks or unknown for un-inspected vehicles. The study found that combination trucks, and most specifically tractor trailers were involved in 62% of the collisions reviewed. Vans made up 46% of crashes, dump trucks 16% and flatbed trucks 15%.

Truck Accidents and Their Resulting Injuries

The force of impact created by even a minor truck accident can cause serious injuries. Crushed bones, limbs and torsos may lead to organ damages and amputations. Victim’s necks may be severed or their heads struck or crushed causing death or permanent brain damage. Sharp metal can slice through skin and bone, cutting off limbs or creating deep wounds.

Expenses Related to Truck Accidents

The USDOT funded the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation to conduct a study on the average costs resulting from heavy and medium truck accidents. PIRE found that the average truck crash costs more than $90,000 and collisions involving tractor trailers with two or more trailers cost more than $290,000 each. Trucks without trailers and straight trucks cost approximately $56,000 per collision. Truck accidents involving a fatality cost more than $3.5 million per collision.

How Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help

Overwhelmed and in physical and emotional anguish, victims of truck accidents need the assistance that a truck accident attorney can provide. The measure of damages is usually very complicated and conflicting legal theories allowing for monetary recovery are beyond the scope of truck accident victims, but a truck accident lawyer is experienced and capable of taking these hurdles on.