Any type of motor vehicle accident can potentially cause a wide range of physical and emotional trauma. For several reasons, when a big rig is involved, accidents are more likely to result in a high level of damage.
Many of the reasons truck accidents tend to be more serious involve some innate characteristics of large trucks. Their mass, which can amount to over 80,000 pounds, creates a correspondingly greater impact. This same increased mass, in addition to their length and size, also increases braking time and thus the likelihood that the truck will still be traveling at a high speed at the time of the crash.
Many commercial trucks have a high undercarriage. If a passenger vehicle follows a truck that comes to an abrupt stop, it risks underride – sliding right underneath the truck and having the undercarriage crush or rip off its top half. Federal law requires trucks to have rear underride guards, but not side guards, which are likely to provide greater protection.
Large trucks may carry a variety of cargo, some of which may pose its own risks. Toxic or flammable contents are likely to spill in the event of a crash, increasing the seriousness of the situation. Improperly secured cargo that falls into the road can hit other vehicles or form a dangerous obstruction in the road.
Who bears responsibility
Truck accident cases can also present additional legal complexities. Pursuing such a case can mean understanding the causes of the crash and identifying responsible parties such as the driver, the company that owns the truck and anyone else whose negligence could have contributed to causing the accident.
For example, if the accident happened because a part in the truck failed, potential parties could include the driver who did not notice warning signs, the company that failed to maintain and inspect the truck and/or the manufacturer of the part who put a defective product on the market.