As an automobile driver, one of the greatest risks you face every day on the road is an accident with a commercial truck. The streets and highways are full of semi-trucks, tankers, and other large freight-bearing vehicles that can weigh up to 40 tons. That’s 80,000 pounds of sheer force that not even the safest passenger vehicle can match in a crash.
The results can be devastating for victims who may face life-altering injuries, a long and slow healing process, partial or total disability, and even potential bankruptcy due to the high costs of medical care.
How Truck Accidents Happen
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were about 475,000 accidents involving large trucks in 2016, resulting in 104,000 injury accidents and 3,864 fatalities. Some of the leading causes include:
- Rollover accidents. These happen when a truck tips over—landing on its side, upside-down, or even continues rolling—leaving a trail of destruction on the road and damaging anything in its way. Five percent of all fatal truck accidents begin with rollovers.
- Rear or side underride accidents. Collisions like these force a passenger vehicle underneath the back or the side of the trailer. Truck trailers are at about the windshield height of many passenger cars, making the impact itself potentially deadly. There's also a significant chance the car becomes lodged under the trailer and dragged until the truck stops.
- Jackknife accidents. This term is used to describe how the angle between the truck and the trailer decreases sharply, "jackknifing" closed. This results in a loss of traction and an uncontrolled sideways skid across the road. Anything or anyone in the path of the sliding truck faces catastrophic damage.
These and other types of truck accidents frequently lead to severe injuries, many of which someone may struggle with for years and still only partially recover. Accident victims may face injuries such as:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Cuts or lacerations
- Permanent scarring
- Thermal or chemical burns
- Broken bones
- Amputations of fingers, toes, or limbs
- Bruises and contusions
- Tendon and ligament injuries, including sprains, strains, and tears
Who's Liable After a Truck Accident?
Accidents involving semi-trucks are typically more legally complex than accidents between passenger vehicles. Many rules and regulations govern commercial vehicles and the number of parties that may be liable for injuries. In addition to the truck driver, there are other potential defendants in a trucking accident, including:
- The owner of the truck or trailer
- The trucking company
- Freight brokers
- The owner or shipper of the cargo
- Fleet maintenance personnel or mechanics responsible for the vehicle
If the accident was caused by a defective part or component, manufacturers of commercial vehicles or other equipment may be involved and could face liability for injuries as well.
Each of the parties who share in some portion of the responsibility also may have one or more insurance companies representing them. This may add another level of complexity to your case. Seeking legal help from an attorney who understands the legal challenges specific to trucking accidents is often an important step for victims to take towards financial recovery.
Seeking Compensation After a Truck Accident
If you or someone you love suffered a serious injury in an accident involving a semi-truck, tractor-trailer, tanker truck, or another large commercial vehicle, contact an experienced truck accident attorney to talk about your legal options. You and your family may be eligible to receive compensation for damages such as:
- Emergency medical treatment and surgeries
- Follow-up care related to the accident
- Physical therapy, rehabilitation, and other recovery expenses
- Long-term care, such as skilled assistance or nursing home costs
- Repair or replacement of your vehicle or other personal property lost in the crash
You may also be able to receive compensation for your pain and suffering, and in some instances, damages intended to punish the negligent party—punitive damages—may also be available.
How to Get Legal Help
To get started with your truck accident case, contact the Spada Law Group, LLC for a free consultation with an experienced vehicle injury attorney. With offices conveniently located in Chelsea and Salem, we proudly serve individuals in the Boston area as well as the entire state of Massachusetts.