Semi-trucks are a necessary part of this country’s infrastructure, hauling goods and materials of every imaginable type across the country for businesses and consumers. We encounter them on the roads most days, but we don’t usually consider the dangers of a semi-truck crash.
Unfortunately, an accident involving a semi-truck is usually catastrophic for the passengers in a car. In medical terms, a catastrophic injury is one that will change the rest of a person’s life. Victims will require protracted medical care and may not regain many of the functions they had before the crash. Sadly, these are not the worst possible outcomes from a semi-truck accident. Many individuals tragically die in these accidents every year, and in 97% of fatal truck accidents, the deceased individuals were riding in the car. But why are semi-truck accidents so much worse than car accidents?
What Makes Semi-Truck Accidents So Deadly?
The main reason why a semi-truck causes more damage in a crash with a car comes down to physics. A semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds fully loaded. The average passenger car weighs less than 4,000 pounds. The mass of a truck traveling at speed is difficult to stop, and braking takes much longer for a semi, preventing them from avoiding a crash. When a collision happens, the force of the truck will transfer to the small vehicle, likely crushing it. Car safety features such as crumple zones are designed to disperse the energy of a typical crash. However, truck accidents are anything but typical, and the safety features provide little protection against the violent impact.
A smaller car may also get stuck under the semi, or the top of the vehicle may get sheared off entirely in a type of crash called an underride accident. The accidents often lead to fatalities for passengers in the car. Since the 1950s, semis have been required to have underride bars to prevent this type of accident. They are also known as Mansfield bars because their regulations were tightened after actress Jayne Mansfield died from an underride accident in 1967. However, some trucking companies do not adequately maintain their Mansfield bars and fatalities still occur each year from underride accidents.
What Injuries Can Be Caused When a Semi-Truck Hits a Car?
The harm caused by a semi collision is often more significant than a car accident due to the much larger forces involved. Vehicles, and the human body, are not designed for that kind of impact. The injuries experienced by victims can be numerous and severe and may include:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Back, head, and neck injuries
- Crush injuries
- Head trauma
- Lacerations and contusions
- Severed limbs
- Soft tissue damage
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Permanent disability or death may also result from a semi-truck crash. Those who survive may face trauma-related mental health issues such as nightmares, phobias, anxiety, and PTSD.
Why Hire a Lawyer if You’ve Been Involved in a Semi-Truck Accident?
A truck crash can be a life-altering experience for you and your loved ones. But filing a semi-truck accident claim can be challenging because of all the different parties and their respective insurances who could be involved. The driver, the trucking company, the semi manufacturer, the maintenance crew, those who loaded the cargo, and more may all share liability in the crash. An experienced truck accident attorney will painstakingly investigate your truck accident claim to properly hold all the at-fault parties responsible for the negligent actions which resulted in your serious injuries. If your loved one died as a result of a truck accident, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death suit for the losses you’ve experienced due to their passing. Call today for a free consultation to see how we can assist you: 305-692-0125