How Often Are Truck Crashes Fatal?

The trucking industry handles much of the transportation of freight on land in the U.S. The industry generated $732.3 billion in gross freight revenue in 2020, accounting for almost 80% of the country’s freight bill.

Due to the increased number of trucks on the road, fatal accidents involving large trucks have increased 43% since 2010. If you’ve lost a loved one dies in a truck accident, contact the St. Louis truck accident attorneys at Cofman Townsley for a free consultation to learn how we can help.

The Facts About Truck Crash Fatalities

Statistics show that the number of fatal truck accidents is increasing. Understanding how truck accidents occur and why they are so deadly can help you and your legal team build a solid case to support your wrongful death claim.

There has been an increase in fatal truck accidents

Fatal collisions involving heavy trucks increased by 2% in 2019, compared to the previous year. Approximately 22.9% of large truck drivers in fatal accidents had a previous record of crashes when compared to motorcycle riders and drivers of passenger cars and light trucks.

Trucks are more likely to get into deadly multi-vehicle accidents

In 2019, 81% of fatal collisions involving heavy trucks involved multiple vehicles, compared to only 62% of fatal collisions involving passenger cars.

Occupants in passenger vehicles die in truck accidents more frequently

In 2019, 97% of those killed in crashes between a passenger car and a heavy truck were occupants of passenger cars.

Why Do Truck Accidents Result in Fatalities?

Several factors can contribute to fatal truck accidents, including commercial truck weight, vehicle handling, and driver awareness.

Trucks are heavier than passenger vehicles

The federal maximum gross weight for a commercial motor vehicle is 80,000 lbs. Since they weigh 20 to 30 times as much as passenger vehicles, large trucks can cause catastrophic damage to smaller vehicles.

Poorly maintained brakes can factor into truck accidents

Tractor-trailers take 20-40% longer to stop than passenger vehicles on slippery roads. Due to the increased center of gravity in a truck, if a truck driver increases the speed of their truck, it may skid or roll. If braking on a curve, the wheels might lock up and cause the truck to slide.

Truck driver fatigue is a factor in truck accidents

Federal hours-of-service standards allow heavy truck drivers to work for shifts up to 14 hours long, of which 11 can be spent driving. That shift length can be extended by up to 2 hours if they face unfavorable driving conditions.

Although federal rules restrict how long truck drivers can spend driving in one stretch, the pressure to meet delivery deadlines can cause truck drivers to become overworked and stressed, so they may drive without getting enough sleep. Studies show that drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving, and 13% of truck accidents involve fatigued truck drivers.

If the trucking company was breaking federal laws over how long a truck driver can work without rest or the driver was fatigued at the time of the accident, then your truck accident lawyer at Cofman Townsley can factor those considerations into your case. The cause of the accident can directly impact the success of your claim and the amount of compensation you receive.

When a Truck Accident Leads to a Wrongful Death

If a family member has died in a vehicle accident, engaging a lawyer from Cofman Townsley as soon as possible can help your wrongful death claim. You may receive compensation based on the following:

  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Medical bills from the deceased loved one’s treatment
  • Pain and suffering of the deceased before they died
  • The value of the wages that would have been earned by the deceased if they had not died
  • The value of the services or companionship the deceased person would have performed for their surviving family members if they had not died

If the deceased person did not have a full-time job and had spent at least 50% of their time caring for at least one child or elderly or disabled person, then the value of care provided was worth 110% of the state’s average weekly wage. When you contact our law firm, your lawyer can help estimate the amount of damages you can receive for the loss of your loved one from your life. 

Work with an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney

When someone you love passes away because of a fatal truck accident, you need the help of a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer to start a wrongful death claim. With more than four decades of assisting victims just like you, you can rest assured that our legal team will work hard collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, and negotiating with insurance companies to maximize the compensation you can receive. We will also prepare your case for trial if you are offered an unfair settlement.  

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your claim with a skilled truck accident attorney at our law firm.