Accidents involving commercial vehicles, including 18-wheelers and garbage trucks, pose many dangers for other individuals on the road. One of the most obvious dangers is the risk of death and catastrophic injuries from accidents involving large trucks or vehicles.

The chance that a truck occupant dies in a truck accident is much lower compared to the chance that a person in another vehicle may die. According to data from the NHTSA, 4,951 people died in 2018 in large truck accidents. Texas had the highest number of large truck fatalities that year (658).

Of the fatalities caused by large trucks, 71 percent of the deaths were people in other vehicles. Eleven (11) percent of the deaths were people not in a vehicle, such as pedestrians and bicyclists.

That same year, there were 151,000 people injured in large truck crashes. Of those injuries, 72 percent were people in other cars. Two percent of the injuries were nonoccupants, including bicyclists and pedestrians.

Therefore, you are far more likely to be killed or severely injured in a large truck accident than the occupants of the truck, but why?

Why Are Large Truck Accidents Dangerous for Others?

The main reason is that a commercial vehicle is much larger and heavier than a passenger vehicle. The passenger vehicle generally sustains much more damage during the collision, thereby increasing the risk of injury and death for the occupants of the passenger vehicle.

A large truck can easily crush a passenger vehicle if it runs over the vehicle or flips over on top of the vehicle. In some cases, a commercial truck may pin the vehicle between the truck and another vehicle or object, trapping the victims within the car.

Common injuries from truck accidents include, but are not limited to:

  • Multiple fractures and broken bones
  • Crushing injuries, including chest injuries and internal organ damage
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Skull fractures and head injuries
  • Back and spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Amputation
  • Severe burns and disfigurement
  • Neck injuries

Many victims of commercial truck accidents sustain permanent impairments and disabilities. They may not be able to care for their personal needs or return to work. Therefore, the cost of a large truck accident can be enormous in terms of personal injury, mental anguish, and financial losses.

Damages Victims May Recover for a Large Truck Accident

Each truck accident case is unique. The damages available depend on several factors, such as the severity of the injuries and the amount of financial losses. Trucking companies and insurance providers aggressively fight truck accident claims because the claims tend to be worth millions of dollars.

Some common damages in truck accident claims include:

  • Cost of medical care and personal care
  • Physical therapy and mental health treatment
  • Occupational therapy and rehabilitative therapy
  • Loss of income, wages, and benefits
  • Future loss of earning capacity
  • Physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering
  • Scarring, disability, and permanent impairment
  • Loss of enjoyment or quality of life

In cases involving a wrongful death, the family of the victim may be entitled to compensation for the damages caused by the death of their loved one.

Other Dangers of Accidents Involving Commercial Vehicles

Many commercial trucks haul dangerous and toxic chemicals. In a crash, chemicals may leak. In some cases, the chemicals can cause an explosion or fire that could spread to homes and businesses surrounding the accident.

In other cases, the chemicals could seep into the ground or nearby water sources. The potential for harm to nearby communities can be substantial, depending on the chemical and how far the chemical spreads.

For that reason, the transportation of hazardous chemicals is heavily regulated. Trucking companies that transport hazardous materials must adhere to strict rules and regulations.

However, as with other trucking companies, some companies cut corners to increase profits. They may hire truck drivers who do not have sufficient experience hauling hazardous chemicals. The companies may force drivers to exceed safe driving hours or fail to maintain the trucks properly.

Truck drivers are often responsible for the cause of truck accidents because of negligence or errors. However, a truck accident lawyer carefully looks at the trucking company to determine if the company is also liable for the truck accident.

Identifying all parties who might be liable for the truck crash or the consequences of the crash increases the chance of receiving maximum compensation for damages.