After seeing countless clients walk through their doors, any personal injury attorney can attest to the fact that 18-wheeler accidents are extremely detrimental. Even with all the regulations on the industry, there were still 475,000 crashes involving these large trucks in the most recent year data is available.
Cities like Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette and Lake Charles in Louisiana saw their fair share of these semi-truck wrecks in 2018, and three, in particular, reminded us of valuable lessons.
There was not much special about the early morning hours of October 14th in Baton Rouge. In a split second, though, the worlds of a truck driver and local family were quickly changed. Around 3:20 am, an 18-wheeler driver lost control of his rig and collided into a home occupied by a child and two adults. The family was lucky enough to immediately escape the wreckage, but the driver wasn’t as fortunate.
The wreck effectively blocked the truck’s cab with rubble and debris. This led to a two-hour rescue operation being conducted to access the driver. Rescuers actually had to knock down walls in the home just to get to the cab. The driver was then transported to the local hospital and reported to have minor injuries.
While this accident certainly showed how dangerous 18-wheelers can be, it’s important to note that the outcome was far more positive than many others that occur. The lesson learned in this situation is that not all tractor-trailer accident victims are driving on the roads.
Cyclists, pedestrians and even people sleeping in their homes can become victims. In fact, 22 percent of all big truck fatalities involve victims who weren’t driving at all.
Travelers along I-59 just north of Slidell, Louisiana found themselves stuck in traffic on the morning of September 12. This is because of a three-vehicle accident – one of those vehicles being a tractor-trailer – that occurred the night before. Firefighters arrived to find the large truck flipped on its side and blocking traffic. Even though the accident occurred around 10:30 pm, the next day’s early morning commute was still affected.
Even though there were only three vehicles involved in the accident, one person was injured so badly that a helicopter was needed to transport them to the hospital. The state police spokesman didn’t provide additional information, but the Centers for Disease Control recommends only using helicopter medical transport for serious injuries that require expedient transport. This means the injury was likely severe.
Of course, this brings up another lesson that personal injury attorneys are reminded of every day – as drivers are reminded of on their worst days.
Tractor trailer accidents result in serious injuries.
In fact, nearly one-in-five 18-wheeler accidents cause reported injuries. It’s not abnormal to focus on fatalities when it comes to these wrecks, but we can never forget that, for many people, a big rig accident means injuries that will affect their entire lives.
In the late afternoon hours of May 26th, a tractor-trailer hauling avocados caused one of the deadliest accidents of the year.
It was around 4 pm when traffic started to slow down on Interstate 12 near Covington, Louisiana. Traffic was either stopped completely or near a standstill. Unfortunately, the driver of the 18-wheeler failed to slow down as he approached the congested area.
Within moments, the truck jackknifed after colliding with stopped traffic and erupted into flames. The chain reaction involved nine other vehicles – three of which also caught fire.
The collision was so disastrous that all eastbound lanes of the interstate were closed for about 10 hours. Even more heartbreaking, though, is the fact that four people lost their lives.
This accident reminds us of perhaps the most important yet disheartening lesson of 18-wheeler collisions:
They cause a disproportionate amount of deaths.
What would’ve typically been a two-car accident if passenger vehicles were involved quickly became a catastrophe involving anyone within a few hundred feet of the wreck.
It should also be noted that this outcome isn’t uncommon. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that 2017 was the deadliest year for large truck crashes since 1988.
The simple fact is that not many people can survive an encounter with an 80,000-pound vehicle. This is certainly why trucking companies carry extensive insurance coverage, but these policies fall short in fixing the lives they are meant to mend.
A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
It turns out that 2018 was a bad year for 18-wheeler accidents, but in reality, this was merely a continuation of yearly increases in these deadly accidents. If you’ve experienced a tractor-trailer accident, you know how destructive they can be. These collisions can change your life forever, so if you’ve gone through such an incident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Smiley Law Firm today to figure out your options.