Largo Truck Accident Attorney
Truck Accident Statistics
While the average car only weighs about 1.4 tons or 2,871 pounds, the average commercial truck weighs about 35,000 pounds unloaded with a maximum weight of 80,000 pounds when loaded. That means that a commercial truck weighs nearly thirty times as much as the average passenger car. Because the weights are so different, the force that a truck causes when crashing into a passenger car can cause catastrophic injuries.
In fact, in 2018, 4,136 people died in large truck crashes across the United States. 67% of these fatalities were passenger car occupants, 15% were pedestrians, motorcyclists, or bicyclists, and 16% were commercial truck occupants. In most cases, when a truck collides with a passenger vehicle, the occupants of the passenger vehicle are going to be the ones who end up more injured.
Causes of Truck Accidents
There are a variety of different circumstances that can cause truck accidents, and unlike car accidents, truck accidents can be caused by many different third parties, such as the employer of the truck driver, or because of improper loading of the vehicle. Truck accident causes include:
Distracted Driving: Any form of driving while distracted, especially as a truck driver operating a large commercial vehicle can be extremely dangerous. Texting, eating, talking on the phone, or even using mandated technology can cause an accident to occur.
DUI/DWI: Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is unfortunately very common amongst truck drivers, as they may use drugs to keep themselves awake on long trips, leading to poor reaction times, hallucinations, and poor decision making.
Inexperiece/Poor Training: A driver who has not been trained properly may also cause an accident, but in situations like these, this could be the fault of both the driver and the company that trained them. Drivers who are inexperienced or poorly trained may not know how to act in certain scenarios and may not be as good at avoiding an accident as other more experienced truck drivers.
Fatigue or Exhaustion: Truck drivers are limited in the amount of hours they’re allowed to work per day and per week. There are specific regulations that require them to take breaks. However, even with these restrictions, drivers may still be exhausted or fatigued.
Speeding: It’s much harder to slow down a massive truck than it is a passenger car, so speeding while driving a commercial vehicle is incredibly unsafe and can lead to accidents.
Mechanical Defects: If the truck malfunctions, for example, the brakes give out, or something about the mechanics of the vehicle fail, it could cause an accident.
Improper Loading: Trucks must be loaded a certain way to ensure safe driving. If the weight isn’t properly distributed, or if objects aren’t secured before driving, an accident could occur.
Common Injuries from Truck Accidents
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries are caused by a blunt force trauma or penetration to the head. These injuries can be minor, like a concussion, or more severe, causing permanent brain damage and death. For example, coup/contrecoup injuries are a much more severe brain injury that occurs when the brain shifts back and forth in the skull, causing damage to both the site of the injury, and the opposing side of the brain.
Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries are also very common in truck accidents, because of the force that a truck may collide with a passenger car. Spinal cord injuries can cause paralysis, either incomplete or complete. Incomplete paralysis means that there isn’t a total loss of ability below the site of the injury, whereas complete paralysis means that there is a total loss of ability below the site of the injury.
Broken Bones and Fractures
Broken bones and fractures are often easy to take care of, if the bone hasn’t been too badly broken or shifted out of place. If the bone requires setting or reconstructing before placing into a cast, you may have to have surgery. The area will then be placed in a cast to make sure that the bone heals properly in the right locations. Sometimes bones will break cleanly, and surgery won’t be required.
Internal injuries can be tricky, as you may not be aware that you have one right away. Adrenaline may mask the pain of your injury, and if you don’t get an internal injury checked out right away, it could get worse. Internal injuries include damage to the organs, and internal bleeding. Both often require surgery to correct the issue.
Unfortunately, sometimes truck accidents do cause death. Death may occur at the scene of the accident or later on because of complications associated with the injuries sustained from the accident. If someone you love has passed away because of a truck accident, our attorneys can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Can Be Liable for a Truck Accident?
Truck drivers are often liable for truck accidents, especially when things like distracted driving, impaired driving, aggressive driving, and spending are concerned. However, the trucking company may be involved in the accident because of improper training, overscheduling of employees leading to fatigue or exhaustion, or poor vehicle maintenance. In some cases, the truck loaders may also be responsible for an accident if the truck was loaded improperly. The manufacturer of the truck could also be liable if a part was defective or malfunctioned, causing the accident.
With truck accidents, liability can be trickier than car accidents, as there are many parties that can be involved. However, an experienced attorney will be able to properly determine who exactly was liable for the accident.
Compensation for Damages
You can claim both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages include wages you may have lost while you were out of work, or wages you may continue to lose in the future, as well as any medical bills you’ve accumulated.
Non-economic damages cover things like pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of earning capacity, and compensation for permanent disability or disfigurement. Basically, this number is determined by looking at how much the accident has changed your quality of life. If your life is much different than it was before the accident, you’ll receive more compensation.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love has been injured in a commercial truck accident, please contact one of our talented attorneys here at Jones Law Group. Our staff has years of experience working on truck accident cases, and we’re ready to take on yours. For more information, or a free case evaluation, please contact us online by using our chat box option or by calling us at 727-571-1333.