When driving alongside an 18-wheeler, you may instinctively give it a little more room. After all, it's a large, powerful machine. However, what you may not realize is exactly how powerful it can be, especially when it's involved in an accident.
Unfortunately, the full destructive power of a commercial truck was on full display earlier this year near Thoreau, New Mexico. Following the failure of one of its front tires, the driver lost control of the big rig on I-40 as it crossed the median into oncoming traffic, causing a fatal, head-on collision with a Greyhound bus. Eight people died on the scene, with more airlifted and transported by ambulance to local hospitals. Had the truck hit the middle of the bus instead of the front, fatalities could have been even higher.
Trucks are more impactful than you might think
While tragic, the scenario above sadly isn't unusual with trucking accidents. Because of their immense size, commercial trucking accidents often involve injuries that are orders of magnitude more serious than comparable events involving cars.
An average car weighs about 4,000 pounds. By contrast, the truck near Thoreau weighed 80,000 pounds. From the Greyhound's perspective, it was like getting hit by 20 cars at the same time.
For people who survive collisions with trucks, the resulting injuries are often severe. These can include:
- Injuries to the back and neck
- Head trauma, including brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries involving partial or total paralysis
When determining the liability for a trucking accident, the trucking company itself comes into play, in addition to the driver. Depending on the exact circumstances, it's possible that corporate policies affected the driver's alertness or equipment and could be a contributing factor to the accident. Unwinding this situation requires a skilled attorney, especially since trucking companies will push back hard against any liability claim.
No one deserves to be in an accident, especially a severe one involving a semi-truck. However, people who have sustained injuries do deserve to know their rights. After an accident like the one in Thoreau, they need to put their lives back together to the extent that they can, which requires a host of resources, both financial and emotional.