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How Many Accidents Are Caused by Semi-Trucks?

While we have semi-truck accident statistics on fatalities and injuries from truck crashes, the reality is that year to year, the number of accidents caused by semi trucks can vary.

However, the weight and size of semi-trucks make these accidents with regular passenger vehicles extremely dangerous and even often fatal. While it is difficult to come up with a percentage of accidents caused by semi trucks, there are still factors to consider in the the causes of crashes involving large trucks.

If you have suffered an injury in a semi-truck accident, call the skilled DC semi-truck accident attorneys at Regan Zambri Long, PLLC for a free case review.

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Semi-Truck Statistics

According to the National Safety Council, there were 4,842 large trucks involved in fatal crashes in 2020, a 33% increase since 2011. In fact, semi-trucks account for approximately 9% of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes in 2020.

It looks like the upward trend of fatal truck accidents continues into 2021. According to early figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatal accidents involving large trucks have increased by 13% from 2020.

However, large truck crashes are still not as common as passenger vehicle collisions.  Data shows that the majority of motor vehicle crash deaths occur among passenger vehicle occupants, such as cars, minivans, pickup trucks, SUVs, and large passenger vans. Statistics from 2020 have found that 56% of passenger vehicle driver deaths were the car driver, 20% were pick up drivers, and 23% were SUV drivers.

The most dangerous type of truck accident for large truck occupants is a rollover accident. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, 50% of large truck occupant deaths in 2020 occurred when their vehicle had rolled over. This was a higher percentage than SUV and pickup occupant deaths, and much higher than those in rollover car accidents.

What Are the Common Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents?

Though the size of vehicles involved in a truck accident versus motor vehicle accidents may differ, these accidents still share common causes. This can include:

  • Distracted driving: In 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration banned commercial vehicle drivers from texting while driving. However, distracted driving still happens on a regular basis. The FMCSA‘s Large Truck Crash Causation Study found that 71% of truck accidents were caused by a distracted driver.
  • Driver fatigue: The study also discovered that 13% of all drivers involved in a fatal truck accident had been fatigued at the time of the crash.
  • Other passenger vehicles driving recklessly: Truck accidents are not always the result of the truck driver. In some cases, other careless drivers on the roads can be the cause of the accident.
  • Intoxication: Truck drivers have stricter regulations concerning alcohol consumption. Drivers are not allowed to get behind the wheel if they had a drink four hours before operating the truck. Unfortunately, many truck drivers ignore this rule, causing serious trucking accidents to occur.
  • Speeding: Because of the large weight and height of the vehicle, semi-trucks take much longer to stop than passenger vehicles. The faster the vehicle goes, the longer it will need to stop in an emergency.
  • Reckless Driving: Swerving in and out of traffic, driving carelessly during poor weather conditions, and driving aggressively are just some of the common causes of truck accidents.
  • Defective Equipment: The Large Truck Crash Causation Study had found that almost 55% of semi-trucks involved in a crash had at least one mechanical violation, and almost 30% had at least one condition that should have taken the truck out of service.

However, despite being similar, these causes have different repercussions when semi-trucks are involved.

Big Rig Truck swerving onto passenger carFor example, when a small car drives on local roads that are not well maintained, a swerve may not result in a fatal accident. However, when a semi-truck driver does not drive carefully on these roads and has a loaded trailer in tow, there could be a rollover accident with fatalities.

On major roads and highways, if traffic backs up abruptly, a car requires a much shorter amount of time and distance to slow or stop the vehicle. A truck driver will need to have perfect control of the rig and a long stretch of road to slow the vehicle down. If other vehicles are in the way, or they cannot stop, fatal truck accidents can occur.

What Are the Common Injuries Resulting From Semi-Truck Accidents?

No two big rig accidents are the same. There are certain injuries that result from accidents involving these dangerous vehicles. Common injuries resulting from a truck accident include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord, neck, and back injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Broken bones
  • Permanent disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Internal bleeding or organ failure
  • Lacerations and blunt trauma
  • Burns

These injuries may not be apparent right away; you need to keep documentation of the medical treatment and care you received to pursue compensation for your semi-truck accident lawsuit.

Truck Drivers, Other Party Liability in Semi-Truck Accidents

Whether they are motor vehicle accidents involving a passenger vehicle driver or a large truck company, your attorney will work to establish liability.

When large trucks are involved, the truck driver, the trucking company, and related insurance companies will want to disprove any negligence on their clients’ or employees’ part. A truck accident lawyer will be able to determine who truly is at fault and help you navigate the liability laws in your state.

Proving Negligence

The first step in determining liability is establishing negligence. This means you will need to prove the following occurred:

  • Duty of care: The driver had a duty of care to keep everyone on the road safe from harm.
  • Breach of duty: There was a breach of this duty. For example, a truck driver was driving under the influence of alcohol which put other drivers and their passengers in danger.
  • Causation: The breach caused the accident. Using the example above, the truck driver didn’t see the traffic slowing down ahead. The driver slammed on the brakes too late and ran right into the car in front of them.
  • Damages: Because of the accident, there were injuries and financial losses.

Once negligence has been established, it will be time to determine who was at fault. These do not occur separately as your truck accident lawyer pieces together the accident, it will become apparent who was negligent. Potential at-fault parties include:

  • The driver
  • The truck owner/ trucking company
  • The truck manufacturer if there are truck defects
  • The mechanic
  • The shipping company or those responsible for loading the semi-truck
  • The municipality in charge of the roads

Damages for Truck Collisions with Passenger Vehicles

Depending on who is at fault in your truck accident claim will determine the damages you can collect. In most truck crashes, you will be able to recover damages from the insurance company and potentially another liable party for:

  • Both current and future medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning potential
  • Property damage

In the case of wrongful death, you may be able to recover losses for your loved one.

Call an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer at Regan Zambri Long Today

Accidents happen but when a large truck is involved in a collision, you need someone to take on the trucking industry on your behalf.

A respected truck accident attorney at Regan Zambri Long will get the best results possible for your case. Find out how we can help you with your truck accident case in a free, no-obligation consultation. Schedule your free consultation by calling (202) 960-4746 or completing our online form.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.

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