How Are Truck Accidents Different From Other Auto Accidents?

Traffic accidents happen every day in America, and the numbers have increased during the last year. The statistics hold for all vehicles, including large trucks. Accidents involving large trucks tend to cause more severe injuries than other types of accidents, but why exactly is that? How are truck accidents any different from car or motorcycle accidents? Read on to learn more.

Differences Between Truck Accidents and Car Accidents

There are many reasons truck accidents tend to cause more damage and injuries than other types of accidents.

First, trucks are large vehicles. The average tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, be over 70 feet long, and reach over 13 feet high. Compared to a passenger vehicle weighing around 4,000 pounds, a large truck is almost a rolling building.

Trucks require longer distances to accelerate, brake, and maneuver in traffic. Their outward visibility is also significantly less than a passenger car. They are surrounded by no-zones, areas where the driver cannot see, and if your vehicle is inside a no-zone when a truck needs to change lanes or maneuver, the chances of an accident increase substantially.

All these factors mean truck accidents can happen quickly. Not only that, but injuries in truck accidents are almost always more severe for the occupants of other vehicles. Between 1975 and 2019, up to 75% of deaths in large truck crashes were occupants of passenger cars.

Injuries in Truck Crashes

The large size and weight of trucks also mean more frequent and severe injuries in truck crashes. Even at low speeds, the inertia of an 80,000-pound vehicle striking a passenger car can cause severe damage to the vehicle’s structure and safety equipment. The truck driver may only experience a jostling or may not feel anything at all when hitting a passenger vehicle or motorcycle.

Some injuries common to truck accidents include the following:

  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations
  • Abrasions
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Paralysis
  • Concussion
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Crushing injuries
  • Dismemberment
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Coma

Truck Drivers Aren’t the Only Responsible Parties

Determining who is responsible for a truck accident is more complex than in car accidents because truck drivers aren’t the only ones responsible for the truck and its contents. Liability can often be spread across several different parties depending on the circumstances. The following entities may be held liable in a truck accident:

  • Truck driver
  • Trucking company
  • Truck owner
  • Freight company
  • Freight loading company
  • Truck maintenance company
  • Truck manufacturer
  • Road construction contractors

Liability could shift depending on the circumstances of the accident. For example, if you’re injured in a truck accident due to faulty brakes on the truck, the maintenance company may be responsible. If you’re hit in a low-speed accident by a truck trying to maneuver in tight spaces, the trucking company may be held accountable for not training their drivers properly. Suppose you’re injured by a truck due to a defect in the design. In that case, the manufacturer may be liable, or if the truck driver causes an accident due to fatigue from driving more hours than allowed by federal law, they may be responsible.

Freight Accidents

Tractor-trailers are made to haul thousands of pounds of cargo. This cargo can be anything from plumbing fixtures to petroleum, from toys to live cattle. This freight must be properly loaded and secured before the truck begins its journey. If it isn’t, lost load or other freight accidents can occur.

A lost-load accident occurs when a truck’s cargo is not loaded or balanced properly and spills out on the roadway, leaving a trail of debris or fluid that can cause accidents and injuries as other motorists collide with it or swerve to avoid it. Even properly secured loads can work loose over the course of a long road journey if not checked frequently.

Some of these loads can be hazardous, such as industrial chemicals or gasoline, increasing the danger even more. Truck drivers and trucking companies are required to have specific licensing and certifications to handle hazardous cargo, and not keeping these licenses current may be considered negligence.

Speak to a Truck Accident Lawyer Today

If a truck accident ended in severe injury for you or a loved one, you should consider speaking to the attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC. We may be able to help you get compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, or property. Call us today at (312) 346-8620 for a free consultation, and let us help you get the compensation you deserve after a truck accident.