The nature of large commercial trucks makes accidents involving these vehicles especially deadly for other people that trucks may strike. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2020 a total of 4,014 fatalities occurred in truck accidents nationwide. This represented a 28 percent increase from the number of fatalities in 2009, which saw the lowest number of truck accident deaths since numbers started being tracked nationwide. Of the truck accident fatalities in 2020, 68 percent involved occupants of passenger vehicles, while another 16 percent involved motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. If you’re injured in a truck accident, a Pittsburgh truck accident lawyer can help you recover compensation.
Common Catastrophic Injuries in Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are far more likely than car crashes to result in accident victims suffering catastrophic, life-altering injuries. Some examples of devastating physical trauma that can occur in a truck accident include:
- Burns from vehicle fires
- Compound bone fractures
- Permanent soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Traumatic brain injury
- Internal organ injuries and internal bleeding
- Traumatic amputation
Size and Speed Makes Truck Accidents Deadly
The size and weight of commercial trucks are one factor that contributes to the dangerousness of truck accidents. Commercial trucks can weigh anywhere from 26,000 to over 80,000 pounds while fully loaded, compared to an average weight of about four or five thousand pounds for a personal passenger vehicle. The heavier a vehicle, the greater the force it will impart when it collides with another vehicle or a motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian. In addition, because trucks have higher centers of gravity, most of the force of the collision is directed toward the head/neck/upper body region of the occupants of a passenger vehicle in the crash. Finally, on a busy road, the length of 18-wheelers can mean that multiple vehicles are involved in an accident.
Another factor that contributes to deadly truck accidents is the speed at which many truck crashes occur. Semi-trucks spend much of their time driving on highways and interstates where vehicles travel at speeds of 60 or 70 miles per hour. When a truck crash occurs at these speeds, it can have a multiplying effect on the weight of the truck, greatly increasing the forces in the crash. In addition, the higher speeds of vehicles on the highway also make it harder for 18-wheelers to slow down and stop. While a typical passenger car needs about 300 feet to come to a stop when traveling at highway speeds, a fully loaded truck may need twice that distance or more to stop.
Even when a truck accident victim is protected from a direct collision with a truck by a passenger vehicle body, the forces in the collision can cause a great deal of trauma to the victim’s body, causing brain, spinal, or internal injuries that may eventually prove fatal.
Common Causes of Truck Crashes
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Driving too fast for road conditions
- Reckless driving
- Disregarding traffic signals
- Unsafe lane changes, including failing to signal and check mirrors/blind spots
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Driver fatigue or drowsiness
- Intoxicated driving
- Truck or trailer defects
- Inadequate truck/trailer maintenance
- Improperly loaded or secured cargo
Contact a Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Truck Accident Case in Pennsylvania
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a truck accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Matzus Law LLC represent clients injured because of truck accidents in Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Cranberry Township, Greensburg, Washington, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call (412) 206-5300 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at One Commerce Square 2005 Market St., Suite 910 Pittsburgh, PA 19103 as well as one in Pittsburgh.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.