In a collision between a heavy, large commercial vehicle and a standard passenger vehicle, the larger vehicle will almost always win. The results can be catastrophic, and crashes that involve large trucks or other big commercial vehicles colliding with passenger vehicles very often result in serious injuries or even deaths.
For people who have been injured in these crashes or are the survivors of people who were killed, it’s important to understand all the rights you have to seek compensation for your injuries or the loss of your loved ones.
Truck Crash Facts & Statistics
Of the nearly 52,000 vehicles involved in fatal accidents in 2018, light trucks and large trucks accounted for almost half, and large trucks alone were involved in nearly 10% of all fatalities, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
More than 4,100 people were killed in large-truck accidents in 2018, according to an analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and about 2 in 3 of those victims were occupants of other vehicles, while 15% were pedestrians or other unrelated individuals.
Large-truck accidents are also more likely to involve rollover, which poses a much higher risk of serious injury or death. In fact, about 45% of deaths involving large trucks in 2018 included a rollover incident, compared with just 20% of similar deaths involving only passenger cars.
Trucking Accident Causes
Drivers of large trucks must submit to the requirements of licensure and other regulations that most drivers don’t experience, but they still can make bad decisions that impact their safety and the safety of others.
As with other accidents, trucking crashes can be caused by many factors, including:
- Aggressive driving tactics, including speeding, tailgating and unsafe passing.
- Driver fatigue: sleepiness behind the wheel is a huge factor in many crashes, and one analysis found that 13% of truckers in fatal crashes reported being too tired to drive.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Disregard for government or company safety measures.
- Equipment failures and lack of proper maintenance.
- Driver distraction, including phones and radios.
Truck Accident Cases & Settlements
The first step to understanding if a trucking company or other commercial institution can be held liable for the injuries or death of another person is determining who is most at fault for the accident. If it’s determined that the company’s employee or contractor, which could include the driver, managers or maintenance staff, were the ones most responsible for causing the crash, it’s likely the company will look to settle the claim rather than proceeding to a trial.
One reason for that is a widespread public perception that truck drivers may be more focused on other factors, such as getting their loads delivered on time, than on being good drivers. In fact, according to a 2019 Verizon Connect survey of 1,000 U.S. adults, 2 in 3 people said truckers were more focused on their schedules, and 81% of people claimed to have witnessed a commercial vehicle being driven in a dangerous way.
So it’s clear that trucking companies may be highly motivated to settle any strong claims, but before you decide to accept a settlement from the company or its insurance representative, it’s a good idea to consult with a qualified local attorney who can help you understand the implications of the decisions you’re facing.
We Can Help
In a typical vehicle crash, there are a handful of private individuals involved, but large truck accidents are different, and the added complication is usually best handled with the involvement of a qualified lawyer. To speak with an experienced San Diego truck accident attorney, contact The Law Office of Melinda J. Helbock, A.P.C., for a free assessment of your case.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, FARS Data Tables, Vehicles. (2019.) Retrieved from https://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Vehicles/VehiclesAllVehicles.aspx
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Fatality Statistics, Large Trucks. (2019.) Retrieved from https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/large-trucks
U.S. Department of Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. (Undated). Retrieved from https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/driver-safety/cmv-driving-tips-driver-fatigue.
Verizon Connect, Collision Course: Commercial Vehicle Driving Safety. (2019.) Retrieved from https://static.verizonconnect.com/verizonconnect/digital/resources/Report_Commercial_driving_patterns_VZC_Wakefield.pdf
A collision between a commercial vehicle and an ordinary automobile is likely to involve serious injuries. The size and weight of big rigs can crush smaller cars on the road if they collide. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a truck accident, you should contact a personal injury attorney about your right to compensation.
Contact a San Diego Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents are different from regular car accidents and should be handled by a qualified attorney. To speak with an experienced San Diego truck accident attorney about a potential claim, please contact The Law Office of Melinda J. Helbock, A.P.C. We will assess your case for free and explain all your legal rights and options.