The majority of truck accidents are caused by cars. According to the American Trucking Association, cars are responsible for 80% of all truck accidents. The University of Michigan Transportation Institute also found that 81% of truck accidents were caused by cars. In 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that 91% of truck accidents were caused by cars.
It takes many hours of training to become a commercial truck driver and operate your vehicle safely on the road. Unfortunately, the drivers of other types of vehicles do not receive any specialized training regarding how to operate their cars safely with regard to trucks, and it shows.
The Main Causes of Accidents
The main ways cars cause truck accidents include making left turns in front of trucks, improperly merging into traffic, and pulling in front of trucks at intersections. The most common cause of accidents between passenger vehicles and trucks is a misunderstanding of the capabilities of a truck’s performance, such as being unaware of limits on how a truck accelerates as well as the driver’s visibility.
A truck accident can be far more dangerous than an accident between two smaller vehicles. In fact, 4,136 people died in large truck crashes in 2018, and 16 % of those were occupants of the truck. In addition, 67 % of the occupants of a car involved died, and 15 % were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists. Unfortunately, this represents an increase of 31 % since 2009.
Many drivers forget that a truck cannot stop quickly due to their weight and the design of tractor-trailers. Slamming on brakes can cause a truck to jackknife, leading to even more danger on the roadway. Passenger cars often ride in what is known as the “No Zone.” This is an area of the truck where the driver has no visibility. In addition to this, drivers may cut trucks off when they make sudden lane changes.
It is important to slow down when a truck attempts to merge or change lanes and allow them ample room to pass. Cars have also been blown out of position by air turbulence or crosswinds after they pass a commercial truck. Cars should never drive between two large trucks or abandon a vehicle in a travel lane.
Compensation After a Truck Accident
A truck driver who is injured in an accident where a passenger car driver was at fault may be eligible for compensation. Even if workers’ compensation covers most of your damages, you may also be able to file a lawsuit against the driver of the passenger car for your pain and suffering and any expenses workers’ comp didn’t cover.
Workers’ compensation covers lost wages, medical bills, and other expenses related to a job-related injury. However, workers’ compensation will not compensate you for loss of future wages, loss of consortium, lifelong medical treatments, or extensive pain.
If the driver dies of their injuries, their family may be able to file a wrongful death suit. In fact, many people have. When a loved one is killed through an act of negligence, certain surviving family members have the right to seek compensation. This may include the deceased’s spouse, children, parents, or other family members.
There is no average settlement amount in truck accident cases because no two accidents will have the exact same circumstances. However, there have been many seven- and eight-figure settlements. These include:
- One man received $7.4 million compensation after being injured in a truck accident that was caused by the driver of a passenger car.
- A person who was left with brain damage after a collision with a tractor-trailer received $11.2 million in compensation.
If you or a loved one has been injured while driving a commercial truck and the driver of a passenger vehicle was at fault, it is in your best interest to reach out to a personal injury lawyer who can evaluate your case and identify the responsible parties that may owe you compensation.