A recent accident on Florida's Turnpike in Port St. Lucie serves as one example of the kind of destruction that can be wrought from an accident involving large trucks. After two tractor-trailers going northbound hit each other, a third tractor-trailer ran into them. About 80 gallons of diesel fuel poured onto the road, and debris flew into the path of other vehicles. As for human harm, one driver wound up injured, requiring hospitalization but thankfully not having to deal with life-threatening injuries.
Accidents with large trucks make up only a small percentage of overall vehicular accidents involving injuries; however, when large trucks are involved in injury-causing accidents, they can be devastating due to their size. As reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in 2006 there were 4,995 deaths in accidents involving large trucks, and 106,000 injuries. Furthermore, the average cost of a large truck crash amounts to tens of thousands of dollars.
Causes & Liability
It's always important to investigate the cause of these kinds of crashes. For instance, some crashes result from irresponsible behavior on the part of truck drivers, who may be driving while fatigued or intoxicated, or who may not be engaging in safe practices on the road, such as speeding or failing to check that there's enough space for turns or for changing lanes. Trucking companies may also hire drivers who don't have the proper licenses or training. The truck itself may also not have undergone the necessary safety checks and maintenance, or may have been manufactured unsafely.
People who may be liable for an accident include the truck driver, whoever owns the truck or leased it for use from the owner, and any companies involved in manufacturing different components of the truck; for instance, if a tire blew out, causing an accident, it may be in part the responsibility of the tire company.
Though the drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles have a significantly higher chance of suffering injury or death in a collision with a truck, sometimes the drivers of smaller vehicles also share responsibility for the accident depending on their behavior on the road.
After any accident involving large trucks, it's important to discuss all of the details with a Stuart, FL personal injury lawyer who will be able to serve as your adviser and advocate. To cope with losses and injuries in the aftermath, you need to ensure that you're getting fair treatment from insurance companies and compensation from the parties responsible.