How Many Trucking Accidents Are Caused by Cars?
Most drivers do not know how to safely share the road with large trucks. Trucking accidents often occur because of this lack of understanding and the assumption that a semi-truck operates under the same expectations as a regular vehicle. This is one of the reasons that the majority of trucking accidents are caused by cars. In 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that 91% of truck accidents were caused by cars. It is important to understand that a fully loaded semi-truck could take the length of an entire football field to come to a complete stop, depending on speed and trajectory and that their blind spots can span the length of multiple car lanes.
Safety Tips to Avoid Trucking Accidents
It is important to take precautions when driving next to, traveling behind, or passing a semi-truck. Staying in a truck’s blind spots can be a huge problem. Here are some tips on how to safely navigate the road with semi-trucks.
- Don’t linger alongside a truck. It is best to be clearly in front or behind. This is especially important if there are multiple semi-trucks in close proximity.
- If you can’t see the truck driver’s face in their side mirror, they cannot see you.
- Passing on the left is a safer option because the blind spot is smaller.
- The right-side blind spot can span the length of the entire truck and extend out for three traffic lanes.
Following distance is another big problem. The standard requirement of following no closer than two car lengths does not apply to semi-trucks. Reaction time for trucks is far too slow for that to be reasonable. Plus, at that distance, you will still be in their blind spot. The American Trucking Association recommends that you follow at a distance of 20-25 car lengths behind a truck.
Passing a truck can also be problematic. As previously mentioned, avoid passing on the right. When you are moving back into your lane, make sure you can see the headlights of the truck before merging back into the lane.
Compensation for Trucking Accidents
As a truck driver, you have two ways to receive compensation for an injury caused in a trucking accident. One is to file a workers’ compensation claim to cover the expenses from your injury. The other option is to file a personal injury claim against the party that caused the accident. Both options may be available.
Workers' Compensation for Trucking Accidents
In Connecticut, all employers are required to provide workers' compensation for injuries related to employment. All injured workers are guaranteed these benefits regardless of who was at fault for the injury. This system provides immunity to a Connecticut employer from a personal injury lawsuit but does not prevent a lawsuit against a third party.
Workers' compensation for trucking accidents only covers economic damages, which are actual expenses related to the injury. These may include:
- Medical care,
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy,
- Temporary disability wage compensation,
- Permanent disability wage compensation, and
- Death benefits and burial expenses.
Generally, most tangible expenses that are incurred because of the injury may be covered under workers’ compensation. These benefits extend to all employees unless they are a domestic worker who works less than 26 hours per week.
Personal Injury Claims for Trucking Accidents
Any time you are injured because of the negligent action of another person, you may be entitled to compensation. Workers’ compensation may cover the actual expenses incurred but does not provide compensation for non-economic damage. Some examples of non-economic damage may include:
- Pain and suffering,
- Post-traumatic stress,
- Loss of consortium, and
- Loss of quality of life.
Your injuries may be debilitating and life-changing. Whether the impact is temporary or permanent, you are permitted to file a claim against a third party even if you have accepted a workers' compensation settlement from your employer. The severity of your injuries will play a big part in determining how much compensation you can receive.
How Can an Attorney Help with My Semi-Truck Accident?
Proving fault is not the main focus when it comes to workers’ compensation, but ensuring you get what you deserve is. An experienced Connecticut attorney will be able to help accurately calculate your expenses and negotiate a fair settlement that you can live with.
When you are in a car accident with a semi-truck, filing a personal injury claim is not where your focus should be. An attorney can help you gather evidence for your case, file the necessary paperwork, and handle all settlement negotiations and trial proceedings if necessary.
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