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Head-on collisions involving large trucks do not happen often, but when they do, they cause significant damage. The sheer size and weight of a large truck make any collision with another, smaller vehicle massively destructive. Fatalities and serious injuries are common.
Because head-on collisions involving large trucks are rare, they tend to get less attention from driving safety advocates than other, more common, types of accidents. To help shine some light on these catastrophic collisions, in this blog post we examine some of the ways head-on truck accidents can happen, the types of injuries they inflict, and steps California drivers can take to protect their wellbeing and legal rights after suffering injuries in one. If a head-on collision with a truck has upended your life, contact an experienced California truck accident attorney.
As the name suggests, a head-on collision involves two vehicles colliding front end to front end. They are thankfully rare, because it is highly unusual for vehicles to travel in opposite directions on the same stretch of road for any reason, let alone on purpose.
Though statistics concerning these accidents are hard to come by, an examination of individual head-on truck accidents on California roads suggests their most common scenario involves one of the two vehicles crossing a center-line into oncoming traffic. Less often, these accidents happen when, because of driver error or impairment, a vehicle travels the wrong way on a one-way street or highway.
It is possible to draw some basic conclusions about the causes of head-on truck accidents in California. Alcohol use is an undeniable factor in many of these accidents, causing drivers to swerve unpredictably into oncoming traffic or to drive the wrong way. Fatigue also plays a role, which is not surprising since the effects of driving while fatigued mimic those of drunk driving. Driver recklessness also contributes to fatal and catastrophic head-on collisions with trucks, particularly when making attempts to pass traffic on two-lane roads with a broken centerline. Finally, distraction likely also plays a role.
The enormous size and weight difference between trucks and passenger vehicles contribute to the severity of injuries sustained by victims of these accidents, as the stories linked above attest. A truck weighs at least 10,000 pounds, and can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds fully-loaded. In stark contrast, the average passenger car weighs between 3,000 and 5,000 pounds.
At highway speeds, this weight difference (not to mention the difference in physical size) makes the occupants of the passenger car particularly vulnerable to injury and fatality, while truck drivers usually (but not always) escape these accidents with relatively minor injuries. Drivers and passengers of small cars, if they are lucky enough to survive a head-on collision with a large truck, frequently sustain one or more of the following types of severe, life-altering physical harm:
The injuries above reflect just some of the damage a head-on collision between a car and large truck can do. These are some of the most catastrophic of all accidents on California roads. All types of injuries are possible.
Head-on collisions involving semi trucks should not happen. When they do, it is nearly always a sign that something unusual happened that needs investigating. The accident illustrations above show us that most of the time, some sort of error on the part of a driver lies at the heart of any car-on-truck head-on collision. When drivers make errors and harm others, they and others legally responsible for their behavior should be held accountable.
The first thing anyone should do after sustaining injuries in a head-on collision involving a truck is to seek appropriate medical care. Similarly, anyone mourning a tragic loss caused by a head-on truck accident should seek the support of family, friends, and mental health professionals to help them through the immediate aftermath.
After truck accident victims and/or their families recover a measure of stability, however, speaking with an attorney experienced in representing clients impacted by truck accidents can do a lot of good. Here are some ways a lawyer can help those whose lives have been disrupted by a head-on collision involving a large truck:
Do not assume that just because head-on collisions involving heavy trucks are rare, one will never affect you. We hope that by reading this blog post, you will have gained some knowledge about how these catastrophic accidents happen, the risks they pose, and the help that’s available if tragedy strikes. If a head-on collision involving a heavy truck has caused devastation in your life, contact the Gomez Trial Attorneys with your questions, and learn the best strategy for moving forward.
John Gomez founded the firm alone in 2005. Today, John acts as President and Lead Trial Attorney. He has been voted by his peers as a top ten San Diego litigator in three separate fields: Personal Injury, Insurance and Corporate Litigation. Since 2000, he has recovered over $800 million in settlements and verdicts for his clients with more than 160 separate recoveries of one million dollars or more. A prolific trial lawyer, John has tried to jury verdict more than 60 separate cases.
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