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Truck and Tractor Trailer Accidents

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Trucking accidents on our nation’s highways account for approximately 5,000 deaths and nearly 100,000 injuries annually, based on data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  When large trucks (semis, tractor trailers, eighteen wheelers) are involved in accidents , the statistics show that nearly 80% of fatalities will involve the occupants of another passenger vehicle. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Moor Carrier Safety Administration implemented laws to protect motorists in 2003 by decreasing the number of hours that semi drivers can log without a substantial period of rest.  In Kentucky, lawmakers are responding to this problem of tractor-trailer accidents by spending over $1 million on increased traffic enforcement.  While these and other efforts are being made to protect passenger vehicles, serious trucking accidents continue to occur with little or no reduction in the number of highway deaths.  Tractor trailer versus passenger car accidents are a problem nationwide, and Kentucky is no exception.

Semi tractor trailers and eighteen wheelers have the potential for dangerous collisions largely due to their size.  Trucks (tractor trailers) continue to get larger due to economies of scale.  Companies want to ship as much as they can in one trip/one load.  The average car or SUV weighs about 4,000 pounds. By law, a tractor trailer can weigh 80,000 pounds, and many exceed that size.  It is no wonder that the impact of a vehicle twenty times heavier than the car it hits can be devastating.

Many factors, other than size, contribute to the high incidence of trucking collisions:

  • Mechanical failures and defective equipment
  • Failure to inspect equipment such as tires, brakes and lights
  • Truck driver fatigue
  • Truck driver inexperience
  • Aggressive driving and speeding
  • Drug or alcohol use by the truck driver
  • Driving in inclement weather
  • Excessive or unstable cargo loads
  • Unsafe under-ride equipment
  • Excessive work shifts and shipment deadlines
  • Failure to install blind spot mirrors
  • Jackknifing

Lawsuits and Injury Claims After a Truck Accident

When factors such as these contribute to a Kentucky tractor trailer accident and injuries or fatalities occur, the truck drivers and the trucking companies are liable for the damages incurred by the other vehicle’s occupants.  Damages may include medical bills, lost wages, money for pain and suffering and, in the event of a death, the value of loss of life.  It is important that victims of trucking accidents immediately protect their legal rights.  Many trucking companies are well versed in how to minimize their company’s liability after an accident has occurred.  It may be vital that victims or the victim’s family understand their legal rights.  A Kentucky lawyer that is knowledgeable in the area of Kentucky trucking accidents can help navigate the legal complexities of an accident involving a semi or tractor trailer.

For further information, please contact the author, Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC, at, or simply click on the author’s box at the top of this article.

More info: Brett H. Oppenheimer
The content of this website is provided for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. If you need help with a Truck Accident claim, consult an experienced trucking accident attorney from the law offices of Gordon Elias & Seely, L.L.P. by calling TOLL FREE: 800 - 773 - 6770 OR by filling out the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page.
Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P.
1811 Bering Drive, Suite 300     Houston, TX 77057     Toll Free: 1-800-773-6770     Fax: 713-668-1980