It can be a bit difficult knowing where to begin in any spotlighting of safety risks linked with tractor-trailers that routinely traverse Tennessee roadways and national corridors.
First of all, there is often a bit of confusion to begin with concerning the “tractor-trailer” designation.
That can be quickly cleared up. Reference to that type of commercial truck commonly centers on variously phrased large carriers. Similar depictions include big rigs, 18-wheel trucks, semi-trailers, semi-tractors and other terms.
The bottom line regardless of how a tractor-trailer might be termed is this: It is notably big.
In fact, any such vehicle is a virtual highway monster, a flatly outsized conveyance that dwarfs most other vehicles that seek to share road space with it.
That sheer size and weight (a fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh scores of thousands of pounds and exceed 70 feet in length) makes an obvious and immediate road impact.
That is underscored by one Tennessee legal overview of tractor-trailer accidents and injury outcomes. That source duly notes that “common sense dictates who is likely on the losing end” in any car-versus-big rig crash.
Imperiled crash victims will almost always be drivers and other occupants in smaller passenger vehicles, of course.
And this is obvious too: Their crash injuries will often be catastrophic or – as is often the case – fatal.
Fatality facts linked with large truck accidents
Tractor-trailer crash data culled by the national Insurance Institute for Highway Safety from U.S. Department of Transportation research starkly illuminates how serious big-rig crashes often are. Here are a few key takeaways relevant to 2018 (the most recently measured year):
- More than 4,100 deaths in large truck accidents
- Sharp spike in fatalities from the previous year
- Stunning 96% of deaths in passenger car-big truck accidents were occupants of the former vehicles
- Nearly three-fourths of all truck-tied crash deaths involved tractor-trailers
Assessing accountability, parsing the facts in a big-rig crash case
“Complex” is the tag given to truck crash details in the wake of an accident by the above-cited Tennessee legal source. Following are some key considerations that must be addressed and effectively dealt with by a crash victim or loved ones seeking a meaningful remedy:
- Full identification and understanding of the role played by negligent parties, who can sometimes be multiple and highly varied (e.g., driver, owner of tractor and trailer, respectively, manufacturers, service/parts provider, cargo loader, dispatcher and more)
- Careful accident reconstruction
- Timely and effective communication with insurers
- Communication with doctors, full insight gained into injuries suffered
An accident/injury matter involving a tractor-trailer is seldom simple or straightforward. Proven legal counsel can promote a clear understanding and help an injury victim or surviving family members pursue maximum compensation via a meaningful legal recovery.