Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States, with by far the largest percentage of these fatalities occurring in the transportation industry. Fatalities involving semi, tractor-trailer and tanker trucks account for the highest proportion at 38%, followed by pickup trucks and delivery trucks and vans.
For truckers involved in a traffic accident, the sheer size of the vehicle they are driving can contribute to catastrophic injuries and death. Fully loaded commercial trucks carry many times the weight of a passenger car, which makes them much more difficult to maneuver or stop when there are adverse weather conditions or when reacting to another driver’s distracted or drowsy driving.
When truckers are hauling hazmat such as gasoline or industrial waste, secondary injuries due to toxic chemical inhalation or fire can cause catastrophic secondary injuries as well. Because trucks are prone to jackknife under slippery road conditions or when they or forced to brake suddenly, the risk of serious injury goes up when they are driving in heavy traffic under adverse road conditions.
Chain reactions often follow
Unfortunately, many truck crashes don’t always end with one truck only hitting one vehicle. Since they take up so much room on the road, other vehicles also have a high chance of getting caught up in the accident. A recent example can be seen in a a 16-vehicle pileup on I-75 in Cobb County on February 11, 2021. Poor visibility and heavy rain contributed to a chain-reaction crash caused a massive pileup of cars and tractor-trailers in the northbound lanes. This resulted in the death of a driver of a Freightliner hauling a semi-trailer and one other person being taken to the hospital.
The accident occurred in the late morning on I-75 northbound near Chastain Road and involved nine cars and seven tractor-trailers. Video footage showed a tractor-trailer being consumed in flames. One truck driver claimed there was visibility of only 40 yards and witnessed one truck being rear-ended, which he said broke the axles. He also reported a white box van catching on fire, which spread to another vehicle and an 18-wheeler. Another driver reported that a tractor-trailer jackknifed in the heavy downpour 100 feet in front of him, causing him to collide with another car while trying to avoid it.
Surviving the aftermath of a serious accident
Truck accidents contribute to thousands of deaths on our nation’s roads each year and millions of dollars in catastrophic injury claims and property loss. If you are facing medical treatment and extended convalescence, repair or replacement of your vehicle, it is important to explore your options before accepting an initial settlement offer. It is also wise to get experienced and aggressive legal assistance to help you fight for the compensation you deserve.