A tragic early morning semi-truck accident last Friday ended with one individual dead. Just after 2:14 a.m., a semi collided with a car sitting still in the eastbound lane on I-94. The accident occurred near the I-69 interchange in Marshall when the truck driver was unable to stop the vehicle in time to avoid the car. The Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department has an Accident Reconstruction Team is investigating the accident, but initial reports indicate that alcohol may have played a role in the crash. Neither driver has been named as of recent reports.
Unique Danger in Semi-Truck Accidents
The tragedy in Marshall shines a light on unique dangers that impact the severity of truck accidents. Certainly, the size, weight, and power of these huge 18-wheelers put passenger vehicles at a great disadvantage in an accident. Impacts are stronger, and a truck driver needs much more time and space to maneuver or stop to avoid an accident.
The I-94 accident this past weekend exemplifies one of the truly catastrophic roadway risks to human life: the override truck accident. Due to the 15-inch difference between the height of a car’s undercarriage and that of a semi-truck, a passenger car being struck by the truck from behind will end up underneath the truck completely. Unfortunately, these accidents are almost always fatal.
In addition to override accidents, there are also underride accidents, during which a passenger car essentially rear-ends the truck and ends up underneath the rear portion of the semi. These accidents also tend to cause very serious injury to the driver and passengers of the car, including traumatic brain injury, head trauma, and spinal cord injuries. The likelihood of a fatality is greatly increased if the passenger vehicle slides under the corner of the back of the truck.
Common Causes of Override and Underride Truck Accidents
A passenger vehicle following too closely is by far the most common cause of underride truck accidents. All it takes is for the truck to stop suddenly for one reason or another or for a distracted car driver to fail to notice the truck stopping ahead of it. It is critical to always travel a safe distance behind other vehicles, but it is even more important when driving behind an 18-wheeled big rig.
Common causes of override accidents can also include tailgating, this time by the semi-truck. Failure of a truck driver to adhere to traffic safety laws or to rest when needed often plays a major role in override accidents, with excessive speed and fatigue being devastating contributors to these types of accidents. Mechanical problems, such as brake failure, tire blowout, or poor truck maintenance can lead to override accidents as well.
Both override and underride accidents can have multiple underlying causal factors. Certainly the Calhoun County accident above has a complicated set of factors potentially contributing to the crash. This is why Accident Reconstruction Teams are such an integral part to criminal and civil lawsuits, as they are the ones who really do the initial work on sorting out what has occurred before and during an accident.
Have Your Lost a Loved One Due to a Semi Accident?
When someone is killed in a truck accident, surviving family members often file a wrongful death lawsuit. Compensation received from a wrongful death suit can include costs for funeral and burial, medical costs, lost wages, and pain, suffering, and loss of companionship for the survivors.
Working with insurance companies to ensure you get the compensation you deserve can be frustrating and confusing. We can help. Please call Lee Free and speak to our truck accident attorneys at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form. And remember, you pay nothing until we settle your truck accident case.