Although truck drivers are in general more attentive on the road than automobile drivers, in a traffic accident involving a big rig, the massive size of the vehicle can cause catastrophic damage. While the average passenger car weighs in at about 3,000 to 4,000 pounds, a fully loaded semi can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. When the semi is hauling flammable or hazardous materials, a collision with it can also result in severe secondary injuries due to a post-impact explosion or fire.
Because trucks are unable to slow down as quickly as a car, the impact of a truck often occurs at high speed. Cars are also much lower to the ground, which can result in the car sliding under the truck in an accident. Even at slower speeds, car occupants can be decapitated or crushed, and even if they survive may have serious head or neck injuries.
Common causes of truck accidents
Even though large trucks make up only 4% of all vehicles on the road, they are involved in one in ten highway deaths. According to the FMCSA, there were 4,761 fatalities due to truck wrecks in 2017, and truck driver errors were a factor in a third of all of those crashes.
Some common driver errors include:
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Distraction or inattention
- Drowsy, fatigued or substance-impaired driving
- Careless or aggressive driving
When driver negligence contributes to injury or death
Collecting damages after a serious accident that was due to negligence often involves a thorough investigation of truck driver log books, maintenance records or dash cam video to discover if there have been violations of strict federal regulations for hours of service, rest breaks or number of hours driven in a week.
Other parties may share liability for the accident, such as the hiring company or other agents. If the truck driver is an independent contractor, the company’s degree of fault may depend on the level of supervision it exercised over the driver.
Negligence in Georgia
Georgia recognizes contributory negligence, which means that the injured party may file suit even if they were found partially at fault for the accident, as long as their degree of responsibility was less than 50%. When pursuing a claim, it is wise to seek skilled legal counsel that will help you to recover the maximum compensation for your claim.