A fully-loaded 18-wheeler can do a great deal of damage when it collides with a passenger vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic crashes involving large trucks killed 4,094 people and injured 116,000 in the most recent year for which statistics are available.
Large truck accidents can cause serious, catastrophic, or fatal injuries, particularly to occupants of other vehicles. Our experienced truck accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Willie D. Powells III and Associates, PLLC in Houston are tough advocates for truck accident victims.
Truck Accident Statistics
As reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2016:
- 4,213 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes.
- 475,000 traffic accidents involving large trucks were reported to police.
- 104,000 of these accidents caused injuries.
- 22% of fatal crashes and 14% of injury crashes involving large trucks were single-vehicle accidents, including pedestrian and bicycle accidents.
- 73% of fatal and 83% of injury large truck crashes involved collision with a vehicle in transport.
- 395 multiple-vehicle fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred in Texas.
- 27% of fatal and 8% of injury crashes in construction zones involved large trucks.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
In a large study of the causes of truck accidents published by FMCSA, researchers found that, of the large trucks involved in single and multiple-vehicle accidents, more than half (55%) were at fault for the crash.
The three major “critical events” assigned to large trucks were:
- Running out of the travel lane into another lane or off the road (32%)
- Loss of control of the vehicle due to speeding, cargo shift, vehicle systems failure, poor road conditions, or other reasons (29%)
- Colliding with the rear of another vehicle in the truck’s travel lane (22%)
Common Injuries in Large Truck Crashes
Based simply on the laws of physics, people in passenger vehicles are likely to suffer serious injuries in a crash with a tractor-trailer. Common injuries in this type of collision include:
- Head and brain injuries
- Fractured bones
- Amputated limbs or extremities
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe burns
- Internal organ damage
- Rib and torso injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Contusions and lacerations
- Seatbelt and airbag injuries
- Wrongful death
What Makes Truck Accident Cases More Complex?
Truck accidents can be more complex than typical auto accident cases. Complexities arise in:
- High damages: Truck accidents often result in catastrophic or fatal injuries. Survivors may require ongoing medical treatment and suffer significant loss of earnings, along with current and future pain and suffering and disability.
- Proving negligence: Many truck accident cases involve multiple potentially responsible parties, including the truck driver, the trucking company, and vehicle and parts manufacturers.
- Multiple insurance companies: Trucking companies have extensive insurance coverage and the driver may have a separate policy. If both are liable, you may be dealing with various providers who are attempting to limit their payout.
Federal Regulations Governing Trucking Companies and Drivers
In the interest of public safety, trucking companies and their drivers are subject to a host of federal regulations. Among other things, these regulations cover:
- Screening, hiring, and specialized training of drivers
- Inspection, maintenance, and loading of vehicles
- Driver drug testing
- Hours of service (required rest for drivers between trips)
Despite the regulations, trucking companies and drivers are sometimes negligent, and other motorists suffer as a result. The trucking company may fail to properly maintain brakes, tires, and other essential equipment. A driver may be speeding, following too closely, driving fatigued, or disregarding the rules of the road.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer after a Truck Accident?
In a complex truck accident case involving federal regulations and multiple potentially responsible parties, it is crucial to have an experienced truck accident lawyer by your side as soon as possible. The trucking company may have a team of lawyers and insurance adjusters on the scene momentarily after an accident involving one of its drivers. Trucking company representatives will fight to protect the driver and limit the company’s liability for your injuries.
Why Choose Us?
At The Law Offices of Willie D. Powells III and Associates, PLLC in Houston, we have the skills, knowledge, and resources to properly investigate your accident, thoroughly prepare your case, and provide the clear guidance you need after a serious truck accident. We can give your case the care and attention it deserves, protect your rights, and fight tenaciously to secure full and fair compensation for your losses.