Truck Accidents: Greater Dangers And More Severe Injuries
While it should seem obvious, many motorists fail to appreciate the dangers associated with driving near commercial trucks whose size and limited visibility often cause accidents resulting in serious injuries and death. Exercising great caution is always advisable when passing “big rig” trucks and especially when in the vicinity of “18 wheelers”. Because these enormous vehicles often travel at high rates of speed and have operational limitations that prevent sudden stopping and turning movements the time that truck drivers have to avoid catastrophic collisions is limited.
Drivers of vehicles need to remain aware that truck drivers often cannot see smaller vehicles that are driving alongside their trucks in the larger “blind spots” that exist alongside these mammoth “land ships”. As well, the weight of larger vehicles makes it difficult for operators to maneuver their trucks when smaller vehicles impede their path of travel with lane changes or sudden braking. To make matters worse, trucks with trailers are prone to jack knifing during panic braking or turning which can send the truck out of control and into other lanes of travel including the opposing lanes.
While turning a corner is a common and relatively safe movement for most vehicles, large commercial trucks often require two lanes to complete a turn and can often drift into adjoining lanes without signaling. As well, driving alongside a truck making a right turn can result in your vehicle being “trapped” with nowhere to go. With no avenue for escape, it is always advisable to stay behind a turning big rig rather than attempt to drive past it during a turning movement.
In addition to the physical characteristics of these larger vehicles and because of the dangers they present, drivers are required to undergo extensive training in order to operate these “monsters” safely. Unfortunately, not all employers and certain independent truckers do not comply with their obligations and drivers with inadequate training are given the keys to enormous vehicles that are unsafe at any speed even in the hands of the most competent and well trained drivers. In addition, demands of commerce often cause drivers to be allowed or even required to drive for excessive periods of time without required rest periods resulting in driver fatigue and the inability to respond appropriately to changing conditions. When driver’s are required to meet unrealistic schedules they can travel at excessive speeds which enhance the likelihood of accidents and increase the potential for the catastrophic event with multiple vehicles involved.
When smaller/lighter vehicles collide with commercial vehicles the outcomes are often severe and in some cases tragic. Because of these known consequences, drivers of large commercial vehicles are held to a higher standard of care and professional drivers often find juries to be unforgiving where their errors lead to serious injuries. When combined with the knowledge of most jurors that commercial vehicles often carry large insurance policies, verdicts in truck accident cases tend to be larger than in typical automobile accidents and in many cases exceed one million dollars and often far more.
As in all cases of injuries being sustained in vehicular accidents, those injured in collisions with commercial vehicles are entitled to recover the full measure of damages they sustain. These damages can include monetary recoveries for physical pain and suffering and for any emotional injuries suffered including fear of driving, anxiety and depression where injuries prevent victims of accidents from returning to their prior lives and activities. Of course, injured parties can also recover the financial losses that result from an accident including all medical and related costs as well as damages for loss of earnings or profits.
Contact An Attorney Immediately After an Accident
While it is always advisable to contact an attorney after an accident and before speaking to an insurance company, theirs or yours, it is all the more important that you do so should you be involved in an accident with a truck. Because these vehicles often carry devices that will record the movements of the vehicle just prior to and at the time of the accident, it is imperative that you make sure these “black boxes” are maintained and the information contained in them preserved should it be necessary to seek compensation for injuries that may have occurred.
Your attorney can give you invaluable information on how to protect your rights to fair and full compensation and what to do be sure that all evidence is protected and maintained should it be necessary later. Most importantly, the steps taken immediately after an accident may be critical to insure that your financial recovery fully compensates your all the damages you may have incurred both physical and financial.