Did you know that almost 70 percent of the United State’s resources are transported by truck at some point during distribution? Over 5 percent of the nation’s full-time jobs are related to the trucking industry. Thousands of large, commercial vehicles pass through Virginia each year. While the majority of commercial trucks manage to safely deliver the cargo, the others are not so lucky.
Accidents that involve semi-trucks and other large vehicles pose a unique threat to pedestrians, bicyclists, and other motor vehicle operators. The sheer size of commercial cargo trucks can cause serious damage to people and property alike. Commercial semi-trucks can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds, even the slightest mistake can produce massive consequences.
Unfortunately, a growing number of Virginians fall victim to accidents with commercial trucks every year. A semi-truck accident can significantly impact one’s physical abilities. In addition, victims often experience a profound impact on their mental wellbeing. Many accident victims even explicitly pursue damages to compensate mental pain and suffering resulting from the accident.
Statistics provide one of the most effective ways to illustrate semi-truck accidents’ impact on victims. Fortunately, federal and state entities generate data tracking the frequency of semi-truck accidents and their contributing factors.
In one recent year, over 4,000 individuals died as a result of large trucking accidents. Close to 70 percent of the fatalities were occupants of passenger vehicles, while trick drivers only represented 17 percent of the fatalities. The figures illustrate the increase in commercial truck accident fatalities. In fact, the number of truck accidents causing death increased by 30 percent during an eight-year period.
Other noteworthy statistics include:
- Large trucks cause nearly 90,000 injuries annually.
- Around 400,000 crashes per year involve large trucks of some kind.
- Fatalities linked to crashes involving large trucks are the highest they have been in the last 29 years.
- Recently the nation saw a 9 percent rise in motor vehicle accident fatalities involving large trucks.
The Dangers of Large Commercial Trucks
Remember that the average large truck tends to weigh twenty or thirty times as much as the average passenger car. Due to their size, these vehicles can cause extensive damage. A vehicle’s weight and speed and speed at the time of the collision directly corresponds with the severity of damage. By design, commercial trucks are raised much higher from the road than consumer vehicles. The gap between the trailer and roadway creates multiple dangers, including the risk of smaller vehicles getting trapped underneath them.
Due to the weight of a semi-truck and its cargo, commercial trucks commonly experience issues with their braking systems. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the distance required to safely stop a loaded semi-truck is 20 to 40 percent longer than an average vehicle. The discrepancy only increases when other weather and driving conditions are present.
Injuries in Semi-Truck Accidents
Semi-truck accidents have the potential to cause a wide range of injuries. Fortunate victims manage to escape crashes with relatively minor injuries. Minor injuries may include cuts, bruises, and scrapes. Other victims are not so lucky. As mentioned previously, semi-trucks are notably large and heavy. Due to their size, semi-trucks can easily wreck other cars and cause lasting physical damage to victims.
Other injuries may include:
- Broken bones
- Head and brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Loss of a limb
- Loss of a sense or senses
- Internal bleeding
- Loss of life
For some victims, the path to recovery takes years. This strenuous process deeply impacts an individual’s livelihood and ability to enjoy day-to-day activities. Most semi-truck accident victims pursue additional compensation to account for some of the mental anguish they endure.
The specific damages you may be entitled to will greatly depend on the facts of your case. Every case is unique, so your attorney can help determine the damages that are recoverable in your individual case. Damages, however, are ommonly associated with semi-truck accidents.
Victims commonly recover for:
- Medical expenses | Past, present, and future medical expenses all qualify for compensation. Emergency transport from the scene of the accident and the fees associated with that transport are also included.
- Loss of income and future loss of income | If your accident has caused you to lose wages that you would otherwise be earning, you can pursue compensation. Victims can also seek compensation for reduced future earning potential if their accident renders them unable to work.
- Mental anguish and pain and suffering | The legal system is not blind to accident victims’ emotional and mental suffering. You may recover for mental anguish or pain and suffering that you’ve endured as a result of the semi-truck accident.
Should I Accept a Settlement Offer?
Whether you should accept a settlement offer will depend on many factors, but the simple answer is no. You should never accept a settlement offer before speaking with a trustworthy personal injury attorney to inform your decision. Avoid speaking with any party attempting to settle your case until you’ve consulted with an attorney.
Truck companies’ insurance agents will likely begin calling semi-truck accident victims soon after a crash. It may be tempting to accept their offer of an early settlement. This is especially true if you feel any apprehension about the legal process. Insurance company agents are trained to look for signs of uncertainty and urgency regarding compensation. Do not allow them to manipulate you.
Regardless of how tempting the insurance company’s offer seems, it’s important not to accept early settlement offers. Once you accept an offer, you will be barred from claiming any additional compensation. It’s always best to consult a lawyer for advice before agreeing to any settlement.
Ask a Truck Accident Lawyer Any Questions You Still Have
If you or a loved one fell victim to a semi-truck accident, a truck accident lawyer can examine your case and provide any answers you need to make an informed decision about how to proceed. Most truck accident lawyers even offer initial consultations on a no-fee basis.