Morgan Gaynor | March 31, 2021 | Truck Accidents
We share the road with semi-trucks in Florida each day. These large vehicles are responsible for transporting goods efficiently and effectively throughout the country. However, sharing the road with commercial vehicles can be dangerous.
One of the reasons large trucks pose a danger to others on the road is their size. The weight and size of semi-trucks are almost always factors in the severity of crashes involving large trucks.
What is the Average Weight of a Semi-Truck?
There are two components of a commercial truck: the tractor and the trailer. The tractor is the front of the truck, also called its cab. One of the reasons a truck weighs so much is the engine. A semi-truck engine is six times the size of the average passenger vehicle engine.
The sleeping compartment of the tractor and other added features often increase its weight. An average tractor weighs between 25,000 to 30,000 pounds. In comparison, the average passenger vehicle weighs just 4,000 to 5,000 pounds.
The trailer is the part of the truck that carries goods. An empty trailer weighs approximately 10,000 pounds. Therefore, an unloaded semi-truck weighs roughly 45,000 pounds. However, when fully loaded, a semi-truck can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds.
Fatality and Injury Statistics for Semi-Truck Accidents
A passenger vehicle is no match for an 18-wheeler in a traffic accident. A review of large truck accident statistics highlights the dangers posed by semi-trucks in a traffic accident.
In 2018, an estimated 531,000 large trucks were involved in accidents in the United States. Those accidents resulted in 4,951 deaths and over 151,000 injuries. However, over three-quarters of the deaths and injuries were sustained by people who were not inside the large truck.
Seventy-one percent of truck accident fatalities were people in other vehicles. Eleven percent of the deaths were pedestrians and bicyclists. Only 18 percent of the deaths caused by large truck accidents were people inside of the truck.
The statistics for truck accident injuries were eerily similar. Seventy-four percent of truck accident injuries were sustained by occupants of other vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians. Large truck occupants sustained only one-quarter of the injuries.
These statistics show how devastating a truck accident can be for anyone outside the tractor.
Common Truck Accident Injuries and Damages
The injuries caused by semi-truck accidents vary. However, there is a high risk of sustaining catastrophic injuries or life-threatening injuries in a large truck crash.
The types of injuries victims sustain in truck accidents include:
- Internal organ damage
- Amputations and paralysis
- Disfigurement and severe burns
- Traumatic brain injuries and skull fractures
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Multiple fractures and broken bones
- Lacerations and puncture wounds
- Vision and hearing loss
Large truck accidents often result in several types of damages.
Truck accident victims typically incur massive medical bills and personal care costs. They also lose substantial amounts of income because they are unable to work during their recovery. Some individuals may never return to work or suffer a decrease in earning potential because of permanent disabilities.
In addition to the economic damages, victims experience physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering caused by the crash and their injuries. They may also experience a decrease in their quality or enjoyment of life because of their injuries. Victims who sustain permanent impairments and disabilities face a lifetime of emotional damages.
Who is Responsible for Damages Caused by a Semi-Truck Accident?
Many of the causes of semi-truck accidents are avoidable. Crashes occur because of negligence, human errors, and other wrongdoing.
Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Driver fatigue and drowsiness
- Failure to follow traffic laws, including speeding, tailgating, reckless driving, and improper lane changes
- Poorly maintained tractors and trailers, including tires, lights, brake systems, hoses, etc.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Hazardous road conditions
- Distracted driving, including eating, texting, and using a cell phone
- Poor weather conditions, such as high winds, rain, fog, and sleet
- Defective truck parts or mechanical failure
- Overloaded or improperly loaded trailers
The factors that lead to the cause of a semi-truck crash help identify the liable parties. Parties that might be liable for damages caused by a truck accident include the trucking company, truck drivers, loaders, shippers, maintenance companies, and government entities.
Steps to Take After a Semi-Truck Accident
Contact a truck accident attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible. Personal injury cases involving commercial trucks are complicated. Many parties are typically involved, and some parties have unlimited resources to investigate and fight accident claims.
Your injuries may prevent you from taking some useful steps at the accident scene to help your case, such as taking pictures of the accident scene or asking eyewitnesses for their names and contact information. For that reason, hiring a lawyer as soon as possible can make a huge difference in the outcome of your truck accident case.
Your health and your wellbeing are the top priority. Always seek immediate medical attention after a truck crash. Documenting your injuries is essential for recovering maximum compensation for your damages.
It is also unwise to sign any documents or make statements after a truck accident without first seeking legal counsel. Something you say or a document you sign could give up your right to a fair settlement for your injury claim.