In 2020, approximately 107,000 large trucks were involved in an accident resulting in over 147,000 injuries and slightly over 4000 deaths. According to data from the national safety council (NSC), 67% of the people injured in truck accidents were occupants of other vehicles.
Looking at the statistics, it is easy to conclude that truck drivers are responsible for most accidents. But the best way to determine the number of collisions caused by trucks is to look at the facts.
What the Facts Say
Most people assume that truckers are most to blame for an accident involving a smaller vehicle and a truck. But statistics tell a different story. According to a study by the University of Michigan, passenger car drivers are 70% responsible for resulting fatalities compared to 16% for truck drivers.
The other 10% are cases where both drivers are at fault. Other studies show different figures, but all point to passenger car drivers as the most likely culprits. There are several reasons why passenger drivers seem to be more likely to cause an accident.
First, trucking companies are more aware of their responsibility on the road and what an accident can mean regarding liability. So they are more careful with their driver training and onboarding to ensure they only have the best drivers on the road. Secondly, most drivers do not have experience driving around trucks and tend to make mistakes that result in accidents.
Injuries Sustained in Truck Accidents Can Be Quite Severe
A fully loaded truck weighs approximately 80,000 pounds. Add motion to the weights, and you get a killing machine. A passenger car weighing 4,000 and much smaller in size is not a match for such weight on wheels, and you will be lucky to walk out of the crash alive.
Even when you could, there are high chances of suffering life-altering injuries. Injuries do more than impact your health. They affect every aspect of your life, from your ability to earn a living and enjoy life to piling medical bills and affecting your mental well-being. When the accident is not your fault, you may want to sue the trucking company for compensation.
Gathering Evidence for a Truck Accident
Succeeding in a truck accident lawsuit requires quality evidence to back your case. While the rules may be similar to other types of car accidents, there are special rules for truckers that you may want to consider when establishing negligence.
For example, truckers have federally specified driving hour limits that must always be observed to prevent drowsy driving. They must also keep a log of all hours they spend on the road. So your lawyer can look into the logs to see if the driver followed the rules.
“Hardworking lawyers can help you conduct a proper investigation and collect the essential evidence to help your case,” says attorney James G Onder of the OnderLaw. “If you are in a truck accident, time is of the essence and you should speak with legal counsel as soon as possible.”
Also, there are requirements around vehicle maintenance, so after an accident, you will want to look into a truck’s maintenance records with the help of your lawyer to establish if the truck’s maintenance was up to date at the time of the accident. Most trucks have dash cams to prove liability in the event of an accident. Even when the dashcam footage is the trucking company’s property, they are obligated to share it with a claimant in a lawsuit.
With this evidence building a case can be so much easier, but not without the help of a lawyer specializing in truck accidents. If successful with your case, you will recover economic, non-economic, and under rare circumstances, punitive damages.