There is no centralized database that keeps track of how many accidents are caused by semi-trucks. However, the National Safety Council (NSC) tracks how many collisions involve semi-trucks. It noted that in 2020, 4,824 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, a 33 percent increase since 2011.
In collisions involving semi-trucks, generally, the trucker and their employer can be liable for any resulting damages. If you personally suffered harm in a collision, you can partner with a truck accident lawyer who can manage the claims process on your behalf.
What Are the Common Causes of Semi-truck Accidents?
Semi-trucks play an essential role in our economy, but they can be dangerous when involved in accidents. There are many things that can go wrong on the road, and the results can be catastrophic when a semi-truck causes a collision.
When semi-trucks cause collisions, these factors are sometimes at play:
Many things could distract a trucker while behind the wheel, such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, and changing the radio station. Unfortunately, when a trucker takes their eyes off the wheel, they increase the likelihood of causing a deadly collision.
Getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol is illegal. What’s more, it can slow down a trucker’s reaction time and impair their judgment. This not only puts other road users at risk of harm, but increases the severity of any collisions that could happen.
There’s a reason why semi-trucks and 18-wheelers generally travel slower than passenger vehicles. That’s because truckers have less braking time when confronted with a hazard. So, a truck traveling even a few miles above the speed limit could have mere seconds to react when something goes wrong.
While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) limits how long a trucker can drive in one period, this does not stop many truckers from driving while fatigued. When a trucker is exhausted, they may exhibit signs similar to drunk driving, such as:
- A slow reaction time
- Being unable to stay in their lane
- Affecting one’s ability to make clear decisions
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How Can You Determine the Responsible Parties in Semi-truck Accidents?
More than one party could hold liability for a trucking accident. For instance, if a trucker causes an accident due to fatigue, they could be liable for any accident-related damages. However, so could their employer under the doctrine of vicarious liability.
An investigation may reveal that one or more of the following parties has liability for any resulting damages:
- The truck driver
- The owner of the trucking company
- The manufacturer or supplier of any faulty vehicular parts
- Another motorist involved in a multi-car accident
- The cargo loading company
When determining who to hold responsible, you must first determine what caused the initial accident. For example, if another driver ran into your car and caused you to crash into a semi-truck, that person could be held responsible for the accident.
However, if the truck’s rusted brakes failed, causing it to crash into your car, the trucking company could be liable because it didn’t maintain the truck.
You Could Recover These Damages if You Suffered Harm in a Semi-Truck Crash
If you suffered harm in a collision caused by a semi-truck, compensable losses in your case could comprise:
- Medical bills, ranging from surgeries to medications
- Lost income and other employment-related losses
- Pain and suffering
- The cost of replacing or repairing your vehicle
- Funeral expenses (if you lost a loved one)
- Temporary transportation arrangements
- Childcare costs
Often, trucking accident cases settle out of court. However, if a lawsuit is necessary to recover compensation, you don’t have an unlimited time to file your case. You must file in accordance with the statute of limitations as imposed by your state.
When you partner with a truck accident lawyer, they can evaluate your case and explain how long you have to file a lawsuit. They can also gather evidence, negotiate an offer, and prove your right to damages.
You Can Pursue Damages Even if You Contributed to the Accident
After your lawyer finishes their investigation, they may find that you partially caused the collision. In that instance, you can still recover damages. While this could affect how much you can recover via a claim or lawsuit, this would not bar you from seeking damages altogether.
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Begin Your Free Case Review with Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers
Did you or a loved one suffer harm in a collision involving a semi-truck? If so, you have legal options with our truck accident team. Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers has over 400 years of combined legal experience.
Since we began serving injured people, we’ve recovered more than $1 billion in damages. To begin your free case review with our team, connect with us today. We can talk in more detail about the percentage of accidents caused by semi-trucks.