The Reality of Fatal Tractor-Trailer Truck Collisions
Accidents involving heavy tractor-trailers are far more likely to lead to fatalities than accidents that involve other types of vehicles. While traffic fatalities overall have been declining, fatalities due to truck accidents have been increasing in recent years.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,951 people died in collisions with trucks in 2018 – a number that has risen for four years in a row.
Why is that? Up until recently, the economy has been growing, and truckers have faced increased pressure to make tight delivery deadlines. As a result, truckers may drive aggressively, or while fatigued, or even ill. They may be navigating an unfamiliar route or potentially driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Their truck may lack regular maintenance updates.
These and other factors may add up to an increased risk of truck accidents occurring. The unfortunate reality is that when a passenger vehicle is involved in a truck accident, the passenger vehicle’s occupants will usually suffer severe consequences.
Tractor-Trailer Truck Accident Statistics in Georgia
Nationwide, in one recent year, in accidents involving large trucks and other vehicles, 350 occupants of the trucks were killed versus 3,525 individuals in the other vehicles, usually passenger cars. This is not surprising. The large size and bulk of a truck that makes it so deadly for others during an accident also tend to protect the truck driver.
Recent statistics for Georgia indicate that there were 1,504 people killed in traffic accidents in one year. That works out to 14.3 deaths per 100,000 population and 1.14 deaths per million miles traveled. Among those deaths, only 31 were drivers of large trucks, while at the same time, there were 149 crashes involving large trucks that caused at least one fatality. Each fatal truck accident causes, on average, 1.2 deaths, and 83% of the victims are in a passenger vehicle that became involved in the accident.
Accidents involving large trucks are usually related to driver factors, such as:
- Falling asleep while driving
- Driving while very fatigued
- Distracted driving, such as texting and driving at the same time
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Following other vehicles too closely
- Aggressive driving
- Substance abuse
Vehicle and environmental factors can also contribute to truck accidents, including:
- Brake failures
- Cargo shifting
- Black ice on the road
- Severe wind gusts
Surprisingly, most truck accidents occur in rural areas. This may be because truck drivers tend to avoid the heavier traffic in urban areas, but it may also be related to the fact that truck drivers may become inattentive while driving in rural areas and take their minds off the road.
Most truck accidents occur on highways, but only around 27% occur on the large interstate highways. The rest occur on U.S. or state highways.
The majority of truck accidents occur during the day on weekdays. Only 37% of fatal truck crashes happen at night.
The Long-Lasting Effects of a Fatal Truck Accident
While some car accidents cause only property damage to the vehicles involved, the devastating force of a huge truck hitting a passenger vehicle tends to completely total the vehicle and cause severe injuries to the occupants of that vehicle.
Common truck accident injuries include:
- Head trauma
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe limb crush injuries
- Bone fractures
- Torn ligaments and tendons
These types of severe injuries often cause permanent disability. Spinal cord injuries can lead to paralysis. Crush injuries often require limb amputation. Head trauma can lead to traumatic brain injury, which can cause irreversible brain damage. Individuals with traumatic brain injuries often suffer from difficulties with emotions, cognition, making and following through with plans, and even performing basic acts of daily living, such as getting dressed.
Bone fractures and torn ligaments and tendons can be repaired, but severe injuries of these types can lead to permanent difficulties in walking or using the hands.
Many victims of truck accidents can never return to a normal life.
They may not be able to work, or at least they can’t return to their former line of work. They may require daily care for the rest of their lives. If someone is killed in a truck accident, their family will suffer from emotional anguish and grief. Besides this, they may suffer serious financial hardship from the loss of their loved one’s wages.
When Should You Get a Cherokee County Truck Accident Lawyer Involved?
If you are injured or a loved one is killed in an accident involving a large truck, you should call Geiger Legal Group, LLC, immediately. Trucking companies have their own lawyers and the lawyers of their insurance companies standing by ready to defend against any claims of negligence on their part or on the part of their drivers. You absolutely require the assistance of an experienced attorney from day one in order to get the compensation that you deserve.
Never talk to a trucking company or their insurance company on your own after an accident. Anything you say or don’t say could be twisted, taken out of context, and used against you. The insurance company may try to get you to admit you are at fault for the accident. They will also try to get you to accept a small settlement instead of the amount of compensation that you deserve. You need an experienced truck accident attorney to speak for you.
If any of the following has occurred, you are probably in need of an attorney to pursue your personal injury claim:
- Where you or a loved one injured in an accident involving a large commercial truck?
- Did you require medical treatment for your injuries?
- Did you miss work during recovery from your injuries?
- Have you been unable to go back to work due to permanent issues caused by your injuries?
- Was your loved one killed in the accident or as a consequence of injuries sustained in the accident?
- Has your quality of life decreased as a consequence of the accident?