Many people do not even look twice when sharing the road with big trucks. They fill the roads, carrying the goods many Americans need daily across the country. However, semi-trucks do pose several unique dangers on the road. Most notably, when a truck is involved in an accident, it can end up causing substantially more damage to the other vehicle.
In a T-bone collision, that can prove particularly damaging. A T-bone accident occurs when a big truck strikes another vehicle directly in the side. Side crashes can prove particularly dangerous to vehicle occupants since most vehicles have relatively less room to crumble and absorb force on the sides than at the front and rear. The added force from a big truck's larger mass can lead to severe injuries or death for the vehicle occupants.
Why Do Truck T-Bone Accidents Occur?
T-bone truck accidents can occur for a variety of reasons.
Truck Driver Distraction
Any driver distraction can become fatal out on the road. Distracted drivers may fail to notice changes in the road around them. They may not notice cross streets, including the vehicles that might already have moved through those cross streets. They might fail to notice a changing light. They might not realize a stuck driver in the middle of an intersection.
Unfortunately, truck driver distraction can lead to substantial risk and considerable injury. Not only can distraction raise the odds that a truck driver will cause an accident, but it may also cause a truck driver to put more force behind the accident since the truck driver may not have adequate time to respond before a collision occurs.
At approximately 65 miles per hour, a fully-loaded truck needs four seconds to stop. A lot of things can happen in the space of that four seconds. As the driver's speed continues to increase, it may take even longer for the truck driver to come to a complete stop.
Unfortunately, truck drivers may choose to speed for a variety of reasons. Often, truck drivers speed because they want to decrease the time they have to spend on the road.
If they ended up stuck in traffic, they may feel they need to make up for the time they lost. If they note that they have neared the end of the time they can legally spend on the road, truck drivers may speed to make it to their preferred destinations before they have to stop driving.
Unfortunately, speeding can increase the risk of an accident since it decreases the time truck drivers need to stop or get out of the way before an accident occurs. It may also increase the force behind an accident. In a T-bone truck collision, that additional force can prove catastrophic.
Poor Visibility in Intersections
Truck drivers must exercise immense caution to avoid the risk of an accident. Most truck drivers pay careful attention to the road around them at all times. However, combined with the large blind spots often created in large trucks, to begin with, poor visibility at intersections can substantially raise the risk of a collision.
A truck driver who cannot see a vehicle moving through an intersection may have difficulty stopping in time, increasing the risk that the truck driver will inadvertently cause a T-bone collision. Heavy rain can also decrease overall visibility, making it more likely that the truck driver will cause an accident.
Roads may grow increasingly slick in rain and snow. Unfortunately, most drivers have more difficulty bringing their vehicles to a safe stop on slick roads. Truck drivers may have even more trouble bringing their vehicles to a safe stop, which means that the truck driver may end up causing a T-bone collision due to the slick road conditions.
Truck drivers can spend up to eleven hours per day behind the wheel. As the day wears on, particularly if truck drivers drive on inadequate sleep or under adverse conditions, they may grow tired. Many truck drivers may notice themselves starting to nod off or develop tunnel vision, making it more difficult to keep attention on the road.
Unfortunately, the challenges that go along with that drowsiness, which can be just as devastating for the truck driver as consuming alcohol while driving, may cause the truck driver to struggle to note the changes in the road around them.
Truck drivers struggling with drowsiness may have a hard time noticing vehicles moving through an intersection in front of them, or they may have a hard time responding in time to the presence of an intersection. A truck driver who speeds through the intersection without adequate time to slow or stop may end up causing a T-bone collision.
Big trucks require a lot of force to stop. That means a braking system designed to handle the truck, trailer, and cargo weight. Unfortunately, in some cases, trucks may not receive the regular maintenance they need to keep those brakes functioning smoothly.
Truck drivers may even report brake problems, only to later discover that the trucking company failed to take care of those problems and keep the truck in working order. Brake failure can prevent the driver from slowing or stopping while moving toward an intersection, ultimately resulting in severe injury.
Damages Caused by T-Bone Truck Accidents
A T-bone truck accident can carry devastating force and, in many cases, result in severe injury to the vehicle occupants. T-bone truck collisions may mean a variety of damages.
Frequently, a T-bone collision with a truck will total the other vehicle involved in the accident. T-bone collisions can involve such severe force that the vehicle cannot go back together in its former shape. Depending on where the truck strikes the vehicle, it can cause immense mechanical damage.
A T-bone collision can cause damage to the side of the vehicle the truck hits. It may cause further damage as the truck pushes the vehicle into another car or obstacles, including light poles and traffic signs, around the area. Often, T-bone truck accidents result in severe damage across the vehicle. Sometimes, that damage can trap occupants inside the vehicle until help arrives.
T-bone truck collisions frequently result in severe injury to everyone in the vehicle. While the passengers on the side struck by the big truck may suffer the greatest risk of injury in the accident, other passengers in the vehicle may also suffer severe injuries. Many of those injuries can have lifelong consequences for the victim.
Victims may suffer injuries that include:
The implications of those severe injuries can last for a very long time. Often, T-bone truck accident victims will end up with long-term hospital stays and, in many cases, medical costs that will continue to add up for the rest of their lives.
The extreme force of a T-bone collision with a truck can lead to death for vehicle occupants. If a truck driver's negligence leads to a T-bone collision, the family of the victims in the vehicle may file a wrongful death claim and pursue compensation for the loss of a loved one.
After a T-Bone Truck Collision: What Comes Next
After a T-bone truck collision, severe property damage may mean that the police have to close down the intersection to safely clear everything out and protect the victims of the accident. The passengers in the vehicle may have needed ambulance transport away from the scene and emergency assistance treating the often severe injuries they may have sustained.
After a T-bone truck collision, you may wonder what comes next. How can you protect yourself and your right to compensation? What do you need to do to ensure the best possible outcome?
- Get a copy of the police report. If you suffered injuries in a T-bone truck collision, make sure you look over the police report as soon as you can. The police report will lay out where the accident occurred, when it occurred, and, in many cases, who caused the accident. Check the police report and ensure it accurately reflects your accident's conditions. If you notice any inaccurate information on the police report, contact the police department and make sure the department makes any necessary changes.
- Start tracking your medical bills. Keep track of all receipts for any medical expenses you have faced following a T-bone truck collision. T-bone accidents with big trucks may lead to extensive injuries and long-term challenges. You need to keep track of all medical bills you may have faced so that you can include those bills as part of a comprehensive injury claim later.
- Prioritize your medical care provider's instructions. You may have specific instructions you need to follow after a severe accident. Your medical care provider may want you to receive certain treatments as soon as possible or that you do not engage in certain activities while recovering from your injuries. If you suffered a serious head injury, your care provider might recommend that you avoid making major decisions for some time after the accident. If you suffered broken bones, your care provider may recommend that you avoid bearing weight in an affected limb or that you avoid certain activities that could put additional stress on your healing body. Follow all instructions related to your injuries as carefully as possible. You may find that ignoring those instructions not only interferes with your recovery but also, in some cases, makes it more difficult to recover the compensation you may deserve for those injuries.
- Contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. When it comes to truck accident claims, you do not want to handle the legal details on your own. Truck accidents often involve a substantial investigation into all potential causes of the accident and all the factors that may have contributed to it. Your truck accident investigation may involve going through the truck driver's logs, the trucking company's history and policies, and even the truck's maintenance reports. All that information can prove very difficult to access and sift through on your own. On the other hand, a lawyer may find it much easier to gain access to that essential information and can help go through that information to find all the details that may have led to the accident. A lawyer can also help determine how much compensation you should pursue for your T-bone truck collision injuries and what you may need to do to protect your right to compensation.
- Report the accident to your insurance company. Your insurance company may have a policy that you must report any accident, even one caused by another driver, within a certain number of days after the accident. You may also need to report the loss of a vehicle totaled in the accident. Your lawyer can help guide you through reporting the accident and give you a better idea of what comes next.
Do You Need a T-Bone Truck Accident Lawyer?
After a T-bone truck accident, you may have devastating injuries and a long road to recovery. A T-bone truck accident lawyer can help you learn more about your right to compensation. Contact a T-bone truck accident lawyer as soon after the accident as possible to start the claim process and protect your right to compensation for your injuries.