Trucking Accidents Part 1: Why is an Accident Involving a Commercial Truck More Likely to Cause Injury?

Traffic accidents involving commercial motor vehicles can cause substantial injuries. Unfortunately, these accidents occur all too often. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that in 2014 there were 3,424 injuries in large truck crashes that resulted in at least one fatality while 82,000 of the accidents resulted in at least one nonfatal injury.

Commercial motor vehicles are subject to a variety of regulations both state and federal. Some of these include the number of hours a driver can operate and other physical conditions and limitations that passenger vehicles are not required to follow including acceleration, braking, and visibility-related issues which are all more likely to result in substantial injuries than accidents only involving passenger cars. There are several important factors to consider when analyzing why commercial motor vehicle accidents are more likely to cause injury than automobile accidents involving passenger cars. Our Miami injury and accident attorneys have years of experience representing clients injured in auto, truck, and commercial vehicle accident cases. Some other factors our lawyers will analyze in a truck or commercial vehicle accident case include:

  • Size and Weight: Commercial motor vehicles weigh between 16,000 to 20,000 pounds. For example, any commercial motor vehicle that weighs beneath 80,000 pounds in gross is permitted to operate without a special permit. Commercial motor vehicle collisions involve objects of much greater size and force coming to a stop, which greatly increases the likelihood of injuries occurring.
  • Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Regulations: To establish that either the commercial motor vehicle or trucking company was negligent in causing the accident, an individual must be able to demonstrate negligence. Violation of either federal or state regulations may evidence to establish negligence by the driver operator and or the commercial operator.  There are various issues that might be present in a commercial motor vehicle accident that might not be present in an accident involving a passenger vehicle including potential log book violations, whether the commercial motor vehicle operator was validly granted a commercial driver’s license, whether the commercial motor vehicle driver’s cargo load was over the listed legal limit, whether the commercial motor vehicle was traveling on a lawful road, driver fatigue, or if the driver was operating the vehicle in an unfit condition.
  • Blind Spots: Blind spots, which are also referred to as “no-zones,” include areas behind and beside a commercial motor vehicle where the commercial motor vehicle operator has limited or zero visibility. As a result of these larger blind spots, a commercial motor vehicle driver has a substantially more difficult time spotting vehicles around him or her than a driver of a passenger vehicle. These blind spots increase the likelihood of accidents occurring involving commercial motor vehicles.
  • Jackknifing: Jackknifing refers to when the trailer of a commercial motor vehicle slides out past the commercial motor vehicle. Jackknifing can result in increased damage in an accident because motorists are unprepared to deal with the size and dimensions of commercial motor vehicles.
  • Underride Accidents: An underride accident refers to the event that occurs when a passenger vehicle collides with a commercial vehicle and passes underneath the truck. This type of collision can result in substantial catastrophic events like the roof of the passenger vehicle being sheared off or the passenger vehicle going completely underneath the commercial motor vehicle. Because underride accidents are present with commercial motor vehicles but not other types of passenger vehicles, these events present an additional danger that can lead to substantial personal injuries.
  • Rollovers: Due to the substantial size of commercial motor vehicles, when rollovers do occur, these events can create substantially catastrophic injuries. Based on the difficulty of handling commercial motor vehicles and the various factors that weight and cargo can play in accidents, commercial motor vehicles are at greater risk to rollover than passenger vehicles.
  • Braking: Because commercial motor vehicles have greater size, weight, and physical dimension than passenger vehicles, it can be harder to stop these vehicles quickly. While passenger vehicles can respond quickly to conditions that arise on the road suddenly, commercial motor vehicles take a significantly longer period of time to respond, which can result in an increased number of accidents and personal injuries due to the delayed braking time.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial truck accident, contact our law firm. Call (877) 475-2905 or e-mail our Miami car accident lawyers to schedule your free initial consultation.

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