Each year, trucks travel hundreds of millions of miles of America’s highways, interstates, roads, and streets. We rely on trucks to deliver raw materials from mines and forests to factories. Trucks also carry finished products from docks to stores and other businesses. As a consumer culture, we need trucks to keep things running smoothly. From food to computer components and oil field equipment to the fuel we put in our cars.
With so many trucks on the roads at any given moment, there are several ways you might find yourself involved in an accident with a truck. The results are often catastrophic. Trucks are usually involved in accidents with other motor vehicles and cause some severe damage in accidents against structures such as buildings or bridges.
Since trucks haul raw materials such as lumber, fuel, or chemicals, accidents involving hazardous waste spills are also common. In recent studies, trucks accounted for 2,214 truck accidents in Brooklyn alone, resulting in 502 reported injuries and seven deaths. Out of those accidents, a whopping 1,705 resulted in property damage.
You may have sustained some severe injuries if you have been involved in a truck accident. With the expense of doctor’s bills, property damage, and the time it takes to recover from these damages, you need a truck accident attorney at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP to help you.
Anatomy of a truck
Even though trucks share the same roads we use for our cars, they are different in more ways than similar. They are built to haul incredible amounts of weight and even large components on oversized trailers such as flatbeds. Trucks come in a variety of different shapes and sizes.
Garbage trucks, cement trucks, delivery trucks, and water trucks are all smaller in size and may have only two or three sets of axles. They are fairly easy to maneuver for deliveries, services, or utilities. However, they still share the same disadvantages as larger trucks: reduced visibility, heavier loads, and longer stopping distances.
Larger trucks, such as semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and other heavy-haul trucks, use a tractor attached to a trailer. The tractor is the part of the truck where the motor, driver, and steering are found and can attach to an interchangeable trailer at a pivoting point called a hitch. The brakes, safety signals, and hydraulics/pneumatics are powered by the tractor and controlled by the driver. A trailer has at least one set of axles, usually with dual sets of truck tires to help displace the weight of the load for travel and stability.
Wheels, a motor, and steering wheels are just some basics similar to the car you drive. Trucks are much different than your car because they are built to handle incredible amounts of weight over extended periods.
Powerful diesel motors can haul hundreds of thousands of pounds of freight and require hundreds of gallons of fuel to operate over the thousands of miles they travel. Trucks are high-profile vehicles, which allow drivers excellent visibility for far-off distances, but create blind spots in their immediate vicinity.
Trucks have complex braking systems to help them stop while carrying a load, but they don’t allow them to stop the way a mini-van or sedan would in normal conditions. The way that trucks are built gives them advantages when hauling their freight, but they have many disadvantages when it comes to maneuverability or responding to other drivers.
The truck driver is the weakest link in the relationship between man and machine on the highway. Drivers are only human and must rely on their judgment, training, experience, and sometimes their reflexes to navigate any situation in traffic. Unfortunately, drivers often succumb to the same factors that affect everyone on the road. Fatigue, zoning out, and other mistakes are common, but the difference between a truck driver making a mistake and someone else on the road can be very different.
Truck drivers often use performance-enhancing medications to help them stay alert on the road. Though caffeine is legal, using methamphetamine or other stimulants is prohibited. Drivers on substances are often involved in accidents since drugs affect a driver’s judgment and perception and sometimes may cause hallucinations. By Federal regulation, drivers are limited to the hours they can drive their trucks, and log books checked regularly at port of entry facilities help monitor this. Drivers are required to rest after several hours, including sleep. Sometimes drivers take medications to help them sleep, which can also affect their driving.
In most cases, drivers feel pressured to push the limits of their performance in these ways to make deadlines, reach destinations on schedule, and to simply deal with the monotony and fatigue of the open road. Companies that put these pressures on their drivers are simply more interested in optimizing their profits than the general safety of their drivers or the public. In other words, they ride their drivers hard to make money at the expense of everyone else sharing the road.
Types of Injuries
Accidents with trucks are severe and often result in serious injuries and even death. Due to the sheer weight of the vehicle involved and the location of any protective structures, such as underride bars or bumpers, trucks can cut through just about any other vehicle on the road. Here are some of the injuries you can expect from just about any truck collision.
Due to the severity of these injuries, recovery is often long, expensive, and may result in extensive time lost at work, permanent disabilities, and a need for long-term care or vocational training to help victims of truck accidents start their lives over again.
- Serious cuts and bruises
- Broken bones
- Crush injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Post-traumatic stress
Contact a Brooklyn truck accident lawyer today
If a Brooklyn truck accident injured you, you need all the help you can get. Truck accidents usually result in serious injuries, many of which are permanent, if not fatal. While you are trying to put your life together, dealing with the trauma of broken bones, potential brain damage, paralysis, burns, or disfigurement, you will go up against insurance companies that are only looking out for their best interests.
Chances are the at-fault party could have avoided injuring you, but either through faulty equipment or poor driver judgment, insufficient training, and cutting corners to save a buck, they hurt you instead.
With the impending deadlines, negotiations with insurance companies, and recovery, an attorney can be your best ally. Many factors could have contributed to the truck accident you survived. An attorney can take any information collected and put the facts together for the negotiation table or a court of law for a jury trial if necessary.
Look for a truck accident law firm that has successfully taken on big corporations, trucking companies, governmental entities, and other challengers for decades. That will take the legal stress off you while you focus on your physical recovery.