What Causes a Semi-truck Accident?The Federal Motor Carrier Association reports that in the last 40+ years, there have been 3,000 to 4,000 fatal accidents involving large trucks per year. In recent years, somewhere between 130,000 and 150,000 people were injured in large truck crashes each year. In Massachusetts alone, anywhere between 17 and 35 people have died every year from semi-truck accidents. Semi-truck accidents are common around the world. This may occur for reasons ranging from driver error to mechanical error. Some of the most common reasons behind semi-truck accidents include:
- Driver fatigue. Semi-truck drivers often have to work very long hours to complete their routes. If they drive for too many hours without rest, they can easily become fatigued and nod off at the wheel. This is one of the most prevalent causes of semi-truck accidents.
- Driver error. If a semi-truck driver is in a hurry, they may try to pass another car in unsafe conditions. Unsafe passing leads to crashes when the semi-truck driver runs out of time to return to their lane or tries to move back into the lane while another car is still in its way.
- Driver intoxication. It is common for drivers to drink or take drugs, whether medicinal or not, especially if they think these substances will help them make it through their long shifts. Driving under the influence is a frequent catalyst for accidents of all kinds.
- Driver distraction. A semi-truck driver may try to eat, change the music, talk on the phone, or any other number of distracting things while driving. In such a situation, they may take their eyes off the road for a moment and lose control or hit a car on the road ahead.
- Truck error. In some cases, a semi-truck driver did everything right and was in a crash because the truck failed. Most commonly, a semi-truck will suffer from faulty brakes or tire problems.
- Roadway barriers. Sometimes, all it takes for a semi-truck driver to lose control is for an unexpected obstacle in the roadway to confuse them. You may have trouble navigating around debris on the road in such a large vehicle. Ice, rain, and snow also cause problems for large trucks that are more difficult to control.
What Are Common Results and Injuries From Boston Semi-Truck Accidents?Semi-trucks weigh about 20 times what the typical passenger car weighs. Thus, when a semi and a car are in an accident, the car and those in it can suffer severe injuries after a semi-truck accident. Injuries resulting from semi-truck accidents are similar to those resulting from any other type of accident. These injuries include:
- Whiplash and spinal cord (neck and back) injuries. Neck and back injuries are especially common when a semi rear-ends another vehicle. The force of the collision can throw the driver of the smaller vehicle forward, snapping their neck forcibly because they have nothing to support it. This can result in serious damage to muscles and can sometimes fracture the spine. Neck and back injuries occasionally result in paralysis.
- Head injuries. If a driver's head hits the steering wheel or a windshield, it may cause serious brain injuries.
- Broken bones. Crashes may crush you under the weight of a vehicle or throw you around in or out of the car. This movement can easily lead to breaks and fractures in bones. The most common bones that break in these accidents are arm and leg bones or ribs.
- Internal trauma. If debris or broken bones pierce through into a person's organs, they may suffer severe internal bleeding. Treat this very serious injury as soon as possible. In addition, seatbelts and airbags often exert great force against a person's torso, leading to severe bruising and sometimes fractures.
What Steps Should You Take After a Boston Semi-truck Accident?Accidents are disorienting and frightening for everyone involved. The first thing you should do after any accident is to remain calm. Don't panic because, in the end, that will help no one. Professionals will be there soon to help, so all you need to do is wait and make sure that you are in a safe spot. Once you are thinking straight, here are a few steps you should take following a semi-truck accident:
- Get as far off the road as you can. If you can move, you want to get out of the way of other vehicles. That way, they can stop to help or move on as necessary. You also want to avoid any vehicles with drivers who may be distracted and end up not noticing the accident. Distracted drivers might hit someone on the road if they aren't paying attention.
- Call an ambulance. The most important step in any accident situation is to get medical attention, both for yourself and others involved in the accident. Some injuries may not be visible at first, especially if you are in shock and the pain is dulled. You need medical professionals to care for any injuries.
- Call the police. If no one has done it yet, make sure you call the police to get them on the scene. In Massachusetts, you must contact the police if an injury takes place or the damage is likely to cost $1,000 or more. You will also want to get the police to fill out an official report of what caused the accident. Police reports are very important if there is ever any doubt as to who caused the accident.
- Take photos. If you can move, try to take a few photos of the crash scene and any damage and injuries. Photographic evidence is important for determining the severity of the accident, especially if you decide to pursue a claim to receive compensation for the damage you have suffered.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver. You will likely need to contact their insurance company to settle your claim.
- Get witness statements and contact information. If there is any dispute about who was at fault in your accident, a good witness statement can be extremely valuable. The police will likely take witness statements, but you may want to get your own and ensure that you have contact information for the witnesses. Witness information helps in any situation where you must prove fault.
How to Prove Who Is at Fault in a Semi-truck AccidentIt's common after an accident not to have enough money to pay for the damage you sustained to your body and property. In this situation, you may want to pursue a claim against the semi-truck driver to see if you can get enough compensation to pay for the expenses that have resulted from the accident. Common evidence you may need to prove fault includes:
- Witness statements
- Official police reports
- Official reports from insurance claims adjusters assigned to determine fault
Damages You Can Claim in a Semi-truck AccidentIf you decide to pursue a claim to recover some compensation, you can potentially claim several expenses as damages. These include:
- Pain and suffering of any kind caused by the accident.
- Medical expenses and ongoing medical expenses you have to pay for due to injuries from the accident.
- The emotional trauma that you are struggling with because of the accident.
- Scarring or disfigurement caused by the accident.
- Loss of wages from taking time off work after an accident.
- Loss of earning capacity if your injuries prevent you from returning to your work.
- Loss of consortium if you lost a relationship (such as a marriage) due to the accident.
Talking to a Lawyer After a Semi-truck AccidentSemi-truck accidents are terrible occurrences. The severe injuries and losses that they so often cause are difficult for anyone to handle. If you sustained semi-truck accident injuries, don't try to handle your claim alone. If you want support handling an injury from a semi accident, get in touch with a truck accident lawyer in Boston. Semi-truck accident lawyers are professionals when it comes to getting their clients the money they need, even if it is a much larger number than the insurance company originally offered. Semi-truck accident lawyers know how to deal with the stress of pursuing a case for justice.