Trucking accidents are one of the most severe and dangerous types of auto accidents a person can be involved in. These accidents can easily leave the victims with major injuries, physical pain, and emotional trauma; in some cases they may even be fatal.
That is why it is important to understand the issues that contribute to the severity of a trucking accident.
Some of the major issues in some truck accident lawsuits are:
- The qualifications of the driver;
- The safety training provided by the company;
- The condition of the tractor or trailer;
- Hours worked by the driver; and
- Actions of the driver.
Whenever there is a motor vehicle accident the question becomes who is at fault for causing the crash. That is always the main issue in every case involving a car accident or an 18-wheeler.
Truck drivers and trucking companies are subject to additional rules and regulations that do not apply to everyday drivers. Truck drivers are professional drivers much like a pilot in that they have the safety of many under their hands.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations provide a baseline safety standard for compliance by both truck driver and trucking company. The regulations also cover duties and obligations of others such as maintenance providers who may provide services to the trucking company.
Additional factors in a trucking accident include:
THE SPEED AT IMPACT
The speed at which the impact occurs is another case of not being able to fight physics. If the big rig truck slams into you at high speeds it’s going to exert a great deal more force than if the accident occurred at slow speeds. If your own vehicle is traveling at high speed as well this could make you more likely to spin out of control and crash into someone or something else.
High speeds are also a contributing factor for the accident to occur in the first place. It is much easier to stop in time to prevent an accident at slower speeds, and similarly it is also easier to take evasive action. High speeds may also make it more difficult to stop in bad weather or dangerous road conditions.
THE CARGO BEING CARRIED
In some tragic cases the cargo that the 18-wheeler is carrying may ultimately end up being what does the most harm in an accident. Heavy pipes and large equipment that are being hauled on a flatbed truck for instance may break loose as the result of an accident and crush the other car. Chemicals such as flammable liquids and gases, or other hazmat and toxic substances can also easily make a bad situation much worse. In some cases these dangerous substances could even prevent emergency responders from successfully rescuing victims.
THE PRESENCE OF SAFETY DEVICES
There is a reason why seat belt laws have been gaining ground and why airbags now come standard in most cars. These safety devices go a very long way toward minimizing the harm and injury that happens during an accident. Many cars are also specially engineered to crumple in strategic places while remaining firm in other places, thereby distributing the force of the accident and minimizing injury to the driver and passengers.
THE LOCAL ENVIRONMENT
Getting hit by a big rig truck is bad enough, but if the impact pushes your car down a steep embankment, or over a bridge or overpass, that will obviously result in an even higher likelihood of serious injury or even death. Dangerous weather conditions, or simply bad traffic, may also delay ambulances and rescue workers. Along the same lines if your accident happens very far from a hospital or trauma center capable of treating your wounds your chances of surviving with minimal long-term damage will likely be much bleaker than if you were mere minutes away from a top facility when the accident happened.
Human factors can also go a long way toward minimizing, or exacerbating, an accident. For example, if the trucker is able to begin applying brakes prior to collision then this will at least result in the accident happening at a slightly slower speed. The driver of the struck vehicle may also in some cases be able to avoid hitting another car or object by steering away from it or applying the brakes. Calling 911 immediately or evacuating from a burning vehicle may also be imperative to prevent more serious injury.
Trucking Accident Attorney
Remaining vigilant while on the road and knowing what steps you can take to minimize your injury in an accident are essential. However, sometimes despite best efforts serious injuries and accidents do occur.
When this happens it is important to protect your legal rights and seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries, pain, and suffering.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with an 18 wheeler contact Robert Armstrong today.