Millions of vehicle accidents occur in the United States every year, resulting in billions of dollars of economic losses. According to the most recent year of data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the total economic cost of vehicle accidents – including the cost of medical care and productivity losses – was over $75 billion.
While any crash can be severe enough to contribute to these numbers, here we are going to focus on one of the most damaging and deadly types of collisions: truck accidents.
Semi-trucks, also known as 18-wheelers, big rigs, and tractor-trailers, are extremely heavy vehicles. While the drivers of these vehicles are required to undergo additional training due to the danger semi-trucks pose, accidents still happen. Unfortunately, as we will see below, these accidents disproportionately lead to serious injuries and fatalities.
If you have recently been involved in a truck accident, you are not just a number. We encourage you to get in touch with an experienced truck accident attorney who can help you pursue compensation for your losses.
Semi-Truck Accident Statistics
Since government entities do not release annual numbers for total vehicle accidents – and not all accidents are reported – we do not have an exact number for how many vehicle accidents there are each year in the United States. That said, we know the number is roughly 6 million, and there are plenty of data available about truck accidents specifically:
- There were 388,000 large truck accidents in 2018. This means that truck accidents make up about 6.5 percent of total accidents.
- However, truck accidents make up twice the percentage of fatal crashes. Of those 388,000 large truck accidents, 28 percent (107,000) resulted in injury and over 11 percent (4,415) resulted in a fatality. This accounts for over 13 percent of total fatal crashes in 2018.
- Unfortunately, the fatalities associated with truck accidents occur mostly to occupants of other vehicles. In 2019, in truck accidents involving two or more vehicles, only 72 large truck occupants were killed. Meanwhile, 2,132 passenger vehicle occupants were killed.
- Most of the accidents happen on highways and major roads. In 2019, 1,328 deaths in large truck accidents occurred on interstates and freeways; 2,158 happened on other major roads; and 621 occurred on minor roads.
- The majority of passenger vehicle fatalities (60 percent) caused by truck accidents happen when there is a collision with the front-end of the truck.
These statistics tell a clear story: Truck accidents pose a serious danger, especially to other drivers and the occupants of passenger vehicles.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents have a variety of causes. The first to consider is driver error. This is when a truck driver acts in a negligent, irresponsible way, including:
- Driving under the influence
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Aggressive driving
Truck drivers must always remember the importance of safety. After all, they are controlling vehicles that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. When they fail to do so, they need to be held accountable for their actions.
At the same time, truck drivers are not the only party that can be liable for an accident. Trucking companies, for example, are responsible for hiring qualified drivers and ensuring the regular maintenance of semi-trucks. Parts manufacturers and loading companies also have responsibilities to do their jobs correctly and safely.
Determining the Cause of the Truck Accident
While the cause of the accident might initially seem to be driver error, a thorough investigation might reveal that negligence on the part of the trucking company resulted in the crash.
For example, if the accident was caused by a truck driver falling asleep behind the wheel, we might find that the trucking company was forcing its drivers to stay on the road longer than is legally allowed. This problem is, unfortunately, far too common.
Alternatively, if a driver made a mistake because he or she did not have the proper training or had a history of carelessness while driving a truck, a trucking company could be held responsible for not properly vetting drivers or hiring them even though the driver has a poor safety record.
Ultimately, what makes truck accidents so complex is that there are so many potential causes and parties involved. This is where the experience of an attorney can be helpful in building your claim.
What to Do If You Are Injured by a Semi-Truck
After being injured in a truck accident, the first step is always to seek medical treatment. You should never try to “shake it off.”
First, you may not realize the extent of your injuries. After the adrenaline of an accident, you might think you are okay, but some injuries – such as traumatic brain injuries and internal injuries – might not be obvious right away.
Second, if you avoid seeking medical treatment right away, it might make it seem like your injuries are not that serious. Later, when pursuing compensation for the accident, insurance companies may use this delay in treatment as a way to dispute the severity of your injuries.
For these reasons, the second step after a truck accident should always be to reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible.
Colombo Law is one of the most experienced truck accident law firms in Ohio. Through our many years of handling claims involving semi-truck crashes, we understand the pain and hardships these accidents can cause for victims and their families.
Our attorneys thoroughly investigate to determine how the negligence of the truck driver, the trucking company, and other entities led to the accident. We build a strong claim on your behalf and fight hard for all of the compensation you deserve.
Please call Colombo Law at (614) 362-7000 today for a FREE consultation. Our truck accident lawyers represent clients in Columbus and throughout Ohio.