Every year, hundreds of thousands of tractor-trailers are involved in accidents. Why? These trucks are extremely dangerous and difficult to maneuver. What’s more, because commercial trucks are significantly larger than passenger vehicles, the accidents involving these trucks are often major. Let’s look at some important statistics about common tractor-trailer accidents.
- Tractor-trailer accidents themselves are common. 500,000 truck-related accidents occur annually in the U.S. and since 2009, the number of truck accidents in the country has increased by 52 percent. Truck-related accidents made up about 11 percent of roadside fatalities in the United States in 2017, and it’s estimated that by 2030, accidents with large trucks will be this country’s fifth largest cause of death. Despite an overall drop in motor vehicle accidents, tractor-trailer accidents continue to climb.
- Truck accidents have many different causes. About 30 percent are caused by tire defects, but many other factors come into play as well. Another type of vehicle defect or mechanical issue, poor weather conditions, poor visibility because of some obstruction to the view, issues with road signs or traffic lights, and roadwork or unpredictable factors can all cause major accidents with tractor-trailers.
- The injuries sustained in a tractor-trailer accident can be severe. When a passenger vehicle collides with a big truck, the occupants of the smaller vehicle are most likely to be injured. Common injuries from this type of accident include broken bones, back and neck injuries, head trauma, internal bleeding, spinal cord injury, and whiplash.
- Sometimes, driver negligence is behind a tractor-trailer accident. Fatigue is one of the most common causes of tractor-trailer accidents because truck drivers on strict schedules often drive through the night to make their deliveries. Drug and alcohol abuse, however, are not high on the list. Illegal substance abuse and alcohol consumption together impact less than one percent of accidents. Aggressive driving has an effect in less than 4 percent of the accidents.
- In many cases the trucking company is considered responsible. If the accident was intentional or the driver is an independent contractor, liability typically falls on the driver. When the driver is an employee of a trucking company, the company can be held responsible if it encourages unsafe or illegal driving practices, hires drivers without proper background checks, or fails to inspect and maintain vehicles.
- If you’ve been injured, you have legal recourse. If a driver or trucking company is found liable for your accident, you may be entitled to compensation not just for damage to your vehicle but also for losses associated with your injuries. These can include hospital expenses, medical bills, therapy costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
No matter what kind of accident you’ve been in, you need an attorney you can depend on to be on your side. At Taps and Associates, we provide personal attention to every case we handle, giving professional advice based on extensive experience. To schedule a free consultation, contact us through our website or call 404-492-8746.