Trucks of all sizes surround us on city streets and highways. From large semi-trucks to delivery trucks, drivers with commercial drivers licenses (CDL) must responsibly share the road. The size and weight of the trucks vary; however, the dangers are similar when it comes to personal injury cases. If you’ve been seriously injured in a crash involving a commercial truck driver, consider contacting a truck accident injury attorney to determine your eligibility to file a personal injury claim.
Types of Trucks
The types of trucks we encounter during our daily travels vary due to their functions. Semi-trucks carry a large amount of a certain product and may make one trip per day. Dump trucks, on the other hand, may haul different materials and make numerous trips in one day. Here are some of the more standard types of trucks we encounter while driving:
Semi-trucks – Sometimes referred to as tractor-trailers or 18-wheelers, these large trucks carry a variety of goods. There are approximately 2.8 million semi-trucks registered in the United States. Semi-trucks carry a variety of goods, from everyday items to logs to fuel. The type of trailer they pull determines the kind of load they haul.
Semi-trucks are heavy, especially when fully loaded. With laws allowing a maximum weight of 80,000 lbs, drivers of such trucks have difficulty making quick stops and tight turns. Truck drivers who drive distracted, drowsy, or drunk can quickly lose control and crash with a passenger vehicle.
Tanker trucks – A tanker truck is a semi-truck with a tanker as the trailer. These trucks haul liquids, such as gas, milk, chemicals, and some dry goods, like sand. Truck drivers who drive tanker trucks carrying hazardous materials must take extra care to prevent accidents.
Tanker trucks are prone to slosh and surge. This occurs when the tanker is half full of liquid material. Slosh refers to the liquid running up the sides of the tank, changing the tanker’s center of gravity. The surge refers to liquid shifting front to back and back to front upon accelerating or braking. What makes the slosh and surge affect so dangerous for other drivers is the risk of a rollover accident. The change to the balance of liquid creates an unstable load and can result in a rollover accident that spills hazardous material.
Box trucks – These types of trucks are commonly used for moving or smaller deliveries. Box trucks have a stretched and reinforced chassis/frame with a large cargo box attached to the frame.
For box trucks with a capacity of 26,000 lbs. or less, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) isn’t required. This is the case with many box trucks used for moving—the driver you see typically possesses a regular driver’s license. Box trucks exceeding the standard weight capacity require a certain class CDL to operate.
Driving a box truck—even for moving purposes—is different than driving a passenger vehicle. The trucks are still heavy, require strategic use of limited mirrors, and are harder to navigate in traffic.
Dump trucks – A dump truck is often overlooked for its potential danger to other drivers. The average dump truck weighs 56,000 lbs and can carry 28,000 lbs of material in one load. The average garbage truck, for example, holds about 9 tons of trash.
When raised, the bed of the truck can reach 18 feet into the air. An unsecured load, a faulty bed, or driver error can all result in a serious crash. When combined with the basic weight of the truck, the results are often catastrophic if not deadly.
Common Types of Injuries
A passenger vehicle is no match for the size and weight of any commercial truck. From a side-impact crash to a rear-end accident, a commercial truck can cause you and your loved ones serious and life-changing injuries. Here are just a few examples of the types of catastrophic injuries you face when a reckless truck driver crashes into your vehicle:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines a TBI as a sudden bump, blow, jolt, or penetrating head injury that disrupts normal brain function. A severe TBI can affect cognitive and motor function, reduce sensation, and affect behavior and emotions.
- Spinal cord injury – A spinal cord injury may result in paralysis, requiring a power chair for mobility. Certain home modifications are also necessary along with accessible transportation. The lifetime costs associated with such an injury can easily reach millions of dollars per year.
- Broken bones – With more than 200 bones in the human body, breaking at least one is a given during a violent truck accident. Multiple breaks and the type of breaks that occur may require extensive hospital stays, future surgeries, and assistance with daily tasks.
- Burns – When a crash occurs with a tanker truck carrying hazardous material, an explosion or fire may occur. Suffering extensive burns is not only painful but may require treatment at a burn center. Skin grafts and plastic surgery are often necessary, and patients are typically at risk for infection.
- Internal injuries – The injuries that you don’t see or immediately feel are the most dangerous. Internal bleeding or organ damage requires immediate medical attention. Always accept transport to a hospital immediately following a serious accident—even if you feel fine.
A very serious truck crash can result in one or more of these types of serious injuries. Your life as may never be the same following such an injury. It is during this difficult time that you should consider contacting a personal injury attorney.
How a Truck Accident Attorney Can Help if You Sustained Injuries in a Truck Accident
Commercial truck drivers risk losing their licenses—and their jobs—when they drive negligently. Despite this risk, many of these drivers continue to take unnecessary risks to reach their destinations sooner. These risks include driving drunk, while drowsy, and distracted.
The negative impact on your life causes physical, financial, and emotional stress. Insurance companies may offer you a financial settlement; however, they are only looking out for themselves and not for you.
Most Massachusetts personal injury attorneys offer free case evaluations. You have nothing to lose by reviewing your case with an experienced attorney. Consider reaching out sooner rather than later. The statute of limitations requires filing your claim within a certain period of time. While each case is different, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Having a personal injury attorney on your side is invaluable. It affords you the peace-of-mind you need to concentrate on your health and your family after a traumatic truck accident.