The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that approximately 5,000 people are seriously injured or killed each year in accidents involving tractor-trailers or big rig trucks. One of the most common types of accidents involving large trucks is known as an underride. This happens when a smaller vehicle slips underneath the back of the tractor-trailer during a rear-end collision. Federal regulations require all semi-trailers to have an underride guard installed on the back of the trailer. However, many of these underride guards are not strong enough to stop a vehicle which leads to serious injuries and deaths every year.
Other Common Causes of Semi Truck Accidents
According to a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), they report that the most common cause of big rig accidents is due to drug use. In nearly 26 percent of all accidents involving tractor trailers, the driver was under the influence or illicit or prescription drugs at the time. Some other common causes of trucking accidents include the following:
• Truck Driver Error—While many truck drivers have years of experience, there are still some whose inexperience or poor training causes them to make a mistake. These often include misjudging the distance needed when bringing the truck to a complete stop and rear-ending another vehicle.
• Blind Spots—Truck drivers are trained to check their blind spots, but some forget to do this when making a turn.
• Speeding—Excessive speed is a common cause of crashes involving big rigs. Drivers are often under a tight deadline in which to make tight delivery schedules.
• Overloading the Vehicle—Large trucks that are overloaded create a hazard for others when debris comes loose and strikes another vehicle.
• Mechanical Defect—Poor or inadequate maintenance of the truck can lead to brake failure or tires bursting resulting in the vehicle jackknifing or rolling over.
In addition to the above, nearly 20 percent of big rig accidents occur because the driver is unfamiliar with the roadways or the area they travel in.
When to Pursue a Personal Injury Claim
When someone has been the victim of an accident involving a large semi-truck, they should consult trucking accident lawyers for advice. The injured victim has the right to seek compensation for their injuries. The statute of limitations in each state requires the injured plaintiff to file legal action within a specified period of time from the date the accident occurred. They may be entitled to compensation for the following:
• Cost of all medical treatment, including physical therapy if necessary
• Temporary or permanent scarring or disfigurement
• Loss of wages if unable to return to work
• Pain and suffering, including mental and emotional anguish
• Loss of consortium if the injured victim can no longer engage in normal marital relations
Victims of a semi-truck accident can suffer from serious injuries, which could include the following:
• Spinal cord injury
• Damage to internal organs
• Broken or fractured bones
• Brain injury
• Back injury
• Facial injuries
Some injuries may take longer to heal than others and require long-term treatment.
How a Semi Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
When a serious or fatal truck accident is caused by truck driver error, the injured victim or the family of the victim has the legal right to pursue monetary compensation for damages. These cases can be complicated and involve intricacies of the law. Therefore, it is important to hire trucking accident lawyers who can assist you in putting together a case that will increase your chances of a successful resolution of your claim, whether by settlement or, if necessary, trial.