Due to size disparities and the basic laws of physics, any collision between a commercial truck and a passenger car is likely to result in serious injuries and significant property damage.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents
Q: What is a "commercial truck"?
A: A commercial truck is a vehicle used in the course of business and/or for the transport of commercial goods. Examples are 18-wheelers, tractor trailers, tanker trucks, dump trucks, delivery vehicles, box trucks, semi trucks and other large freight trucks.
Q: How are traffic accidents involving trucks different from accidents involving passenger cars?
A: Accidents involving trucks are typically result in more severe injuries than accidents involving cars due to the sheer size of a truck. A fully loaded large commercial truck can weigh 80,000 pounds or more; compare this to the size of the average passenger automobile, which weighs approximately 4,000 pounds. Due to this size disparity, and the basic laws of physics, any collision between a commercial truck and a smaller vehicle is likely to result in serious, even fatal, injuries.
Truck Accidents - An Overview
A traffic accident involving a large commercial truck can have disastrous consequences. A typical fully loaded 18-wheeler or semi truck can weigh over 80,000 pounds; compare this to the average passenger vehicle, which only weighs around 4,000 pounds. The massive size of these trucks means that any collision between them and a vehicle that is 20 times smaller is likely to result in serious or fatal injuries. If a truck is carrying hazardous chemicals or flammable materials at the time of an accident, the resulting injuries may be even more severe because secondary injuries, such as burns and respiratory injuries (to vehicle occupants and innocent bystanders), attributable to the dangerous or toxic cargo can result.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries by bringing a legal claim against the responsible parties. An experienced trucking accident attorney at Steelman, Gaunt & Horsefield, Attorneys at Law in Rolla, MO, can help determine whether you have a claim.
What to Do if You Are Injured in a Truck Accident
Any motor vehicle accident could potentially result in serious injuries and property damage. This is especially true when the crash involves a large commercial vehicle. If you or a family member was involved in a truck accident, you may be unsure about what you should do next.
Overview of Federal Trucking Regulations
Those involved in the trucking industry must abide by numerous federal and state regulations. The applicable federal laws can be found in the regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (found in 49 C.F.R. §§ 350-399). These regulations are very important, but they are extensive and can be confusing.
If you or a member of your family has been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, you may not fully understand your legal options or what to expect in the civil justice system. The following information provides a basic overview as to how a lawsuit normally proceeds.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Commercial trucks such as 18-wheelers, semi trucks, tractor trailers and other large freight carriers tower over smaller passenger vehicles on the road. At highway speeds on crowded roadways, seemingly insignificant driving errors that could easily occur without consequence in a small car or truck can result in catastrophe when a large truck is involved. If you have been injured in an accident with a commercial vehicle, determining the exact cause of the accident can be difficult.
Truck Accidents Resource Links
Share the Road Safely
From the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), dedicated to reducing motor vehicle accidents involving large trucks.
Insurance Information Institute
Includes information on vehicle safety, insurance and more.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
Division of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Contains information about safety programs, regulations and facts related to the prevention of commercial truck and bus accidents, injuries and fatalities.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety / Highway Loss Data Institute
Features vehicle ratings, safety facts and publications.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Division of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Provides crash statistics and articles about traffic accidents and vehicle safety.