Trucking Accidents: What You Need to Know

OHare - What You Should Know About Trucking Accidents

by Tim O’Hare

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Each year, more than 450,000 trucking accidents occur on U.S. roadways, nearly 5,000 motorists are killed in accidents involving large trucks and an estimated 140,000 are injured. In an accident involving a passenger vehicle and a semi or commercial truck, 74 percent of those killed are passengers in the car.

Commercial trucks are significantly larger than passenger vehicles, posing a serious risk to the drivers and passengers of other vehicles in the event of an accident. While not all car accidents are unavoidable, many are. As a driver, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself and your passengers from an accident that could lead to serious injury or death. Keep yourself and your family safe by following these safe driving guidelines:

Treat trucks differently than other cars. Trucks can weigh as much as 30 times more than a passenger car. Due to their size, it is nearly impossible for semi trucks to come to a sudden stop. For example, a semi truck that is moving at 55 miles per hour can take the length of a football field to come to a complete stop. Avoid cutting off a semi in traffic or putting yourself in a situation where you may have to suddenly stop in front of a semi. The size of an 18-wheeler also makes it difficult for the truck driver to change lanes.

Stay visible. Driving next to a semi or directly behind one can make it very difficult for the truck driver to see you. Do not follow too closely or stay directly next to a semi truck. A general rule is that if you cannot see the truck’s side mirrors, the driver cannot see you.

Do not stop on the side of the road. If you have to stop your vehicle for some reason, avoid stopping on the shoulder of the road. Truck drivers may not see you stopped until it is too late. If you must stop, try to pull completely off of the road, either into the grass or on a side road. If you do stop on the side of the road, do not stay in your car. Get out and move away from traffic.

If you are involved in a trucking accident and the truck driver is found to be at fault, you may be entitled to receive compensation for bodily injury or property damage. Damages may include:

• Medical expenses including ambulance fees, hospital and doctor visits, in-home care services, physical therapy, etc.
• Pain and suffering including mental and physical distress.
• Lost wages to cover pay for any lost work due to the accident and follow-up medical appointments.
• Lost earning capacity in the event you are unable to continue working due to impairments from the injuries.
• Loss of companionship, covering the loss of affection or relations in a marriage or the loss of a loved one.
• Special damages covering general monetary losses after an accident.

If you have been involved in a traffic accident with a commercial truck, contact the experienced legal team at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare. We will help you receive all due compensation for your injury or loss.

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