Tractor trailers are often called 18-wheelers simply because that is how many wheels a tractor trailer has. The cab, which hauls the trailer, typically has 10 wheels, and the trailer has 8. These large trucks in particular have specific weight limits for the rig as a whole, as well as how much weight can be on each axel to ensure that they are as safe on the road as possible. When weight limits aren’t followed, or aren’t distributed properly throughout the trailer, that’s when large truck accidents can happen.
If you’ve been hurt in an 18-wheeler accident, it’s likely that your injuries are serious, as the weight and size of the truck were much larger than your passenger vehicle. Serious injuries can cause medical bills and other costs to pile up, especially if you are out of work or missing pay from those injuries. Hiring a Louisville 18-wheeler accident lawyer from Thomas Law Offices will enable you to get the compensation you deserve for those costs so that you can focus on what really matters—recovery.
18-Wheeler Accident Statistics
When two regular cars get into a crash, there is potential for the injuries and damages to be deadly, but when a car and a large truck collide, the risk is even higher. In 2017, 107,000 large trucks were involved in accidents that caused injuries, and around 23% of those accidents were fatal. Truck accidents are some of the most dangerous collisions on the road because they involve such large and heavy trucks and much smaller vehicles.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the most an 18-wheeler can weigh in Kentucky is 34,000 pounds since they are classified as tandem axles. Even though that is the maximum weight and trucks might not reach that weight all the time, compared to the weight of a regular-sized vehicle, they still have the potential to be over 30,000 pounds heavier. This can cause serious, and even fatal, damage to the passengers in a regular vehicle.
When it comes to large truck accidents, tractor trailers cause 74% of fatal truck accidents, as opposed to other types of large trucks, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). In those accidents, truck occupants died 16% of the time. When colliding with a passenger vehicle, the occupants of the regular-sized vehicle died 67% of the time.
Common Types of 18-Wheeler Accidents
As we’ve discussed, large trucks accidents are dangerous, especially for passenger vehicle occupants. Because of that, it’s important to know what the most common types of 18-wheeler accidents are so that truck drivers and regular drivers alike know what to look for and try to avoid. Here are some common 18-wheeler accident types and the dangers involved with them:
- Jackknife. When an 18-wheeler brakes too suddenly, swerves, or takes a turn too quickly, their truck could jackknife, or form an L-shape. Jackknife accidents are common with 18-wheelers as opposed to other large trucks because the point where the rig attaches to the trailer is where the jackknife occurs. When trucks lose control and jackknife, the accident could be deadly for everyone involved.
- Underride. When trucks stop quickly, and the regular vehicle driving behind them does not expect it, or cannot brake in time, this can cause an underride accident. These accidents can be dangerous because the front part of the vehicle can be crushed under the trailer, endangering and sometimes trapping the driver.
- Override. Similar to an underride, an override happens the other way. When an 18-wheeler can’t stop as quickly as the car in front of them, they could keep moving when the other car has stopped and end up unintentionally driving on top of the back of the car.
- Blind spot. 18-wheelers have a lot of blind spots—behind the trailer, to the right and left of the trailer, and in front of the cab. As a general rule, a truck driver can’t see you if you can’t see him in his mirrors. When a trucker can’t see you and is merging or turning, you could get into an override accident.
- Rollover. When an 18-wheeler turns or brakes suddenly, it could cause their rig to rollover. This is the type of accident that is most dangerous for the truck driver because their cab flips.
These are just some of the different types of truck accidents that can happen with 18-wheelers. If you don’t see the type of accident that you think you were in, then you could still benefit from speaking with one of our Louisville 18-wheeler accident lawyers. They can answer your questions about your truck accident and help you determine how to move forward.
Contact Thomas Law Offices for Legal Representation
18-wheelers are dangerous in collisions with smaller vehicles, but all commercial trucks can pose a risk to passenger vehicles as well. If you’ve been in an accident with a large truck, you could be dealing with serious injuries, large medical bills, and lost wages because of your damages.
A Louisville 18-wheeler accident lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help you through this difficult time by fighting for your rights to full and fair compensation. You shouldn’t have to worry about struggling to pay your bills after an accident that wasn’t your fault. Our experienced attorneys will take care of the legal side of things for you while you focus on physical and emotional recovery. Reach out to us today to talk about your legal options.