According to Carsurance.net, about 500,000 semi-truck accidents occur every year in the United States. When passenger vehicles are involved, IIHS statistics show that 97% of those occupants don't survive. In California, and particularly in the Central Valley and Central Coast, semi-truck accidents are more common than in other parts of the nation for several reasons. These include:
- The area is an agricultural hub, generating over $49 billion in 2020 alone, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Milk, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and even cattle are continually transported throughout California to other cities and states.
- The Port of Los Angeles reports the first eight months of 2021 saw a 30% increase in import/export containers compared to the same time in 2020. With the current supply chain shortage, truckers are working around the clock to transport food, clothing, electronics and a host of other items to their destinations.
- Hazardous conditions coupled with the size of the semi-trucks can make driving across California extremely difficult. Unlit two-lane back roads, hairpin turns, steep terrain, thick fog, heavy snow, and other road issues can result in semi-truck accidents. Not only is the truck driver impacted by these conditions but often other drivers and vehicles in the immediate vicinity are as well.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), 4,119 people died in large truck crashes in 2019. Sixty-seven percent of those killed in those accidents were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles.
Multiple recent examples show the irreparable harm a huge truck can cause.
What Happens Next?
When in a collision with a semi-truck, drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles often don't fare well. Escaping unscathed from a crash with a semi-truck is rare. Whether the injuries are immediate or increase in severity over time, individuals who aren't severely physically injured may suffer other losses from the crash. This may even include a loved one who was in the vehicle being seriously injured or killed.
Personal injuries, such as spinal and nerve damage, head and neck injuries, frequently occur in these collisions. Amputation of one or more limbs may even be necessary if bones are crushed beyond repair. Fires can cause severe burns, especially if the material being carried by the truck is hazardous or flammable.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Unfortunately, victims of a semi-truck crash must deal with the aftermath. There is insurance paperwork to attend to, and insurance agencies aren't always on your side.
Semi-truck accidents also have the complication of determining liability, which can be complicated due to factors, such as whether the driver is an employee or independent contractor. Liability can also depend on who owns the truck, who is responsible for servicing the truck, who loaded the cargo, whether the driver was negligent or reckless, and more.
If you've been hurt and/or lost a loved one as a result of a semi-truck accident, you'll want to hire a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced personal injury lawyer will:
- Collect evidence to determine which parties may be held at fault for the accident. The company that hired the truck driver, the truck manufacturing company, and even the company that serviced the truck all could be at fault.
- Deal with insurance agencies on your behalf so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. Insurance agencies are likely to be more responsive to your insurance claim when an experienced personal injury attorney is involved.
- Prepare and take your case to court to demand the compensation that you deserve if you are unable to work out a settlement with those at fault for your accident.
Semi-trucks are continually on the road in California especially this time of year as goods and produce are transported for the holidays. This means that the number of accidents that occur in this area may be higher than in other parts of the country.
Use the tips outlined above if you or someone you love is injured due to a semi-truck accident. These should help so that you’re ready to claim the compensation your semi-truck accident deserves.