An accident between a truck and a car is more likely to lead to serious injury to those within the passenger vehicle. The reason involves physics, the force of motion that comes with the larger truck leading to more catastrophic damage to the smaller vehicle.
The problem sounds bad enough in theory but is even more devastating in reality.
A recent crash getting national attention provides an example. The accident involves a truck wreck that led to the death of five people on a major interstate. The crash involved a company based in Illinois that travels nationally. It occurred in Arizona on Interstate 10 but has important lessons that apply throughout the country. Officials believe the accident was the result of a distracted semi-truck driver. Based on evidence from the scene, it appears the truck driver failed to slow and rear-ended two cars, pushed them into another tractor-trailer truck with enough force to push this second truck into two additional vehicles.
What causes truck accidents?
Distraction, like in this case, is a common cause. Additional factors can include fatigue, speeding, and not having enough experience operating a larger vehicle.
One of the most frustrating facts of these cases is that the culprit, the truck driver, often leaves the scene with minor injuries. That was true in this case, as it is in many others. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) explains that fatalities and catastrophic injuries are more likely for those in passenger vehicles when struck by a truck due to the vulnerability of those in the smaller vehicle. Although we recognize this is likely based on the physics noted above, the numbers are still disheartening: 4,014 people were killed in large truck accidents in 2020 and over two-thirds of the fatalities were those in the passenger vehicle.
What are the legal remedies for victims?
If there is evidence of distraction, a traffic violation, or other wrongdoing, criminal penalties are possible. This can result in jail time and monetary penalties.
Victims can also hold the driver and trucking company accountable through a civil lawsuit. This can result in monetary awards to help cover the cost of medical expenses and missed work as well as pain and suffering.