Many of our readers could probably tell us a story about a car accident they have been involved in. Perhaps it was a fender bender on the way to school as a teenager, or maybe it was a more serious wreck that they can recall as if it happened just yesterday. Having litigated trucking cases (also referred to as 18-wheelers) across the nation, our lawyers at Beasley Allen unfortunately know that only a very small number of people can tell you a story about a trucking wreck they were involved in. This is because only a very few people ever walk away from that sort of accident, and for good reason.
The legal weight of an 18-wheeler truck is typically 80,000 pounds, and they can reach even heavier weights depending on permits the driver and truck have, or whether the trucking company is breaking the law and hauling loads that are too heavy.
In comparison, the average automobile weighs approximately 5,000 pounds. This extraordinary weight disparity is the catalyst for brutal and unforgiving wrecks that involve big trucks, and it is the reason why safety to drivers and to the traveling public must be priority number one to truck drivers and trucking companies.
Notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic, the nation is still seeing numerous deadly trucking accidents. For example, in early June, numerous people died from several trucking accidents on Wisconsin interstates. Close to Madison, Wisconsin, the site of one of the major accidents, two large trucks collided. Cleanup ensued, and another large truck struck a trooper car at the original crash site around 5 a.m. Debris from the crash struck two troopers and a highway department worker. Then, at around 6:45 a.m., a major chain reaction crash involving eight vehicles and three large trucks occurred a mile south of the original crash site. Four people died in that collision alone and three others were seriously injured. Police also noted that five motorists pulled two people from burning vehicles.
The above scenario shows just how chaotic a trucking crash can be, and these types of accidents are occurring with regularity. Because of the brutal force behind a truck wreck, flying debris can be just as deadly as the truck itself. Numerous cars are often involved, leading to the potential for spinoff and pileup crashes from the original accident. Upon a loss of control, or at impact, the truck payload can become unstable or dislodged, leading to a jackknife or rollover event.
In addition, large truck tires are especially susceptible to blow-out events, which can cause the truck to lose control or send debris into other vehicles. Because the cabs of 18-wheelers often have limited structural integrity to support the vehicle’s weight, the driver of an 18-wheeler in a collision is at serious risk, especially in roll-overs. Truck cabs are also susceptible to payload intrusion during a wreck, which can compromise the safety of the driver.
Beasley Allen has a history of working alongside our co-counsel to successfully litigate and resolve these cases against trucking companies throughout the U.S. If you have any questions about these cases, contact Cole Portis, who heads up our Personal Injury & Products Liability Section, Ben Baker, Ben Locklar, Parker Miller, Chris Glover or Mike Crow.