As you may have already heard on the radio, former Dallas Cowboys player and Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin was recently back in the studio with Ryan Thompson to discuss the importance of having a personal injury attorney when you are involved in an 18 wheeler accident. As the retired Dallas Cowboy and injury attorney Ryan Thompson discussed, unfortunately, some commercial trucking companies over-work their employees, thus leading to very dangerous conditions on the road. In fact, when big truck drivers are behind the wheel for more than the regulated number of hours, they aren’t just endangering other drivers; they are committing a crime.
The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates the number of hours a commercial vehicle operator may driver per day, as well as the total number of hours they may work per week. These rules and regulations are put in place for not only the safety of the drivers of big rigs but also for the safety of those sharing the roads with semis. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has put together a table of regulations that outline the parameters around hour caps for commercial transport drivers.
Every year, nearly 450,000 truck crashes occur in the United States involving single or multiple vehicles, and often including pedestrians, bicyclists, and nonmotorized vehicles. Trucks refer to 18-wheelers, cement trucks, buses, coal trucks, garbage trucks, truck tractors pulling a semi-trailer(s), and similar commercial vehicles. 68% of those accidents were passengers in motor vehicles, while 15% were bicyclists, motorcyclists, or pedestrians.
Due to the size and weight of trucks, fatalities and catastrophic injuries are all too common in accidents involving these vehicles. It takes much longer to stop a tractor-trailer than the average motor vehicle due to their size and weight. The weight of the average motor vehicle is 2.5 tons, while a truck can weigh as much as 40 tons. To illustrate this point, if a tractor-trailer and vehicle are both driving at 40 mph and start to brake at the same moment, the tractor-trailer will travel 45 feet further before being able to come to a complete stop.
While passenger cars need 306 feet to stop after braking, tractor-trailers need 525 feet or roughly the length of 1.5 football fields! Speed and sometimes carrying cargo beyond the truck’s allowed capacity also play factors when applying the brakes. The faster a vehicle is traveling the longer it takes to come to a stop.
According to a report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, from 2016 to 2017 the number of trucks involved in fatal crashes increased by 10% from 4,251 to 4,657 fatalities. While most accidents had more than one contributing factor, vehicle failure, overcompensating, following too closely, overloading, top-loading, fatigue, and physical impairment were among the primary contributing factors to most truck wrecks.
When an accident involving a semi-truck results in death or serious injuries, large settlements are not uncommon given the size of the commercial vehicle insurance policies they carry. Truck accidents account for $20 billion per year in accident injury settlements, with over half of that amount being awarded to accident victims.
The FMCSA requires all trucking companies to be insured with large insurance policies. For example, carriers with non-hazardous items that weigh under 10,000 pounds of freight have to be insured for at least $300,000. The required policy amount depends on the weight and type of load being hauled. Trucks carrying heavier loads and those carrying hazardous materials can be required to carry between $750,000 and $5 million in insurance coverage per incident, and often carry even larger commercial insurance policies.
While with accident attorney Ryan Thompson, the former Cowboy noted car wrecks and truck wrecks can vary in intensity, which leads to different types and severity of injuries suffered. Typical types of injuries from truck wreck can sometimes be similar to those suffered in football and can include: spinal and neck injuries, concussions, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), broken or fractured bones, ligament and tendon damage, cartilage damage, soft tissue and organ damage.
Sometimes the injuries can be even more severe and include dismemberment, permanent impairments, and even death. Burn injuries may also occur as a result of the accident due to crash-related fires and explosions, as well as the force of airbag deployments. If the accident involves a tanker truck carrying corrosive chemicals, chemical burns can occur. Burn injuries require a long period of recovery and treatment, often require skin grafts, and can result in death due to infection.
According to the Large Truck Crash Causation study done for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) analyzing data on commercial vehicles involved in collisions:
If you have been injured in an accident with a large truck, former Dallas Cowboys player Michael Irvin endorses the accident attorneys at Thompson Law to work hard to help you with your truck accident injury case. Often times 18-wheeler accidents require extensive investigation. For example, just because a driver’s hour log sheet may seem to comport with the law, that does not mean the actual number of hours the driver spent on the road match the hours on the log. Thompson Law’s robust and experienced team of investigators and attorneys are able to uncover details that can help to establish liability. Call us at 844-308-8180 for a free consultation and to have your questions answered.
Thompson Law receives an attorney fee and you pay no legal fees as our client unless we pay you. Thompson Law has 350 years of combined experience in legal representation and has won over $1.8 billion dollars in cash settlements for our clients. We master the art of managing client cases with empathy, compassion, respect and, of course, prodigious skill. Contact us today for a free, risk-free consultation to discuss your accident and your options.
State law limits the time you have to file a claim after an auto accident. If you have been injured in an accident, call now to get the help you need.