Big Trucks with lights on back driving on highway


Jeff Martin March 12, 2022

A big rig crash isn’t like a regular car crash. They are enormous vehicles, and when they crash, there can be enormous consequences. There’s more to think about than just the physical result of a semi accident. Because driving a semi can be so much more dangerous than driving a car, there are even more rules and regulations for big rig drivers than there are for everyday commuters. Lawyers who deal with big truck accidents must know the rules and regulations inside and out to be effective at their jobs.

Why Are Big Rig Crashes Different?

Here, we’ll go over some of the ways that big truck accidents are different from other accidents and some of the most common causes.

  1. Weight and vehicle forceA big rig that's fully loaded with freight can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. That is much larger than cars, which weigh an average of 4,100 pounds. Because of that, big truck accidents can cause a whole lot of damage. It is not uncommon to see fatal semi-truck accidents when cars are involved in crashes with semis. Accidents involving big rigs are much more likely to cause severe damage to both the vehicle and the human body. 

  2. Medical expensesSemi accidents can be very expensive for trucking companies, specifically because of increased medical bills. Because of the severity of the accidents, it is common for people involved in the accident to need more medical care and for longer. For example, a car in a crash with another car might cause whiplash, but in a semi accident, it could cause drivers and passengers permanent nerve damage or much worse.

  3. Increased insurance costsDue to the added risk, greater regulation, and price of medical care for those involved in big truck accidents, insurance plans for trucking companies can also be quite pricey. Typically, trucking companies go out of their way to settle claims with people involved in accidents before they can get to court.

  4. Heightened chances of severe injury or fatalityYou are more likely to be severely injured or even killed in a big rig crash. This is true for cars involved in semi accidents and for the drivers of big rigs as well. It is estimated that upwards of 5,000 fatal semi-truck accidents per year.

  5. Application of federal lawsTruckers adhere to a list of rules that are laid out in the famous “Green Book.” This is a book that is 700 pages long and covers everything you could imagine from driver training to truck maintenance. Because big rigs typically go through several states, they have to be licensed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrationand the S. Department of Transportation. This means that the law regarding trucking is federal law. 

Common Causes for Big Truck Accidents

Knowing common causes for big truck accidents can go a long way in helping you to prevent them. Some of these are common causes for accidents in general, but as we’ve covered, big truck accidents can be much more consequential than regular car accidents. Some of the most common causes of big truck accidents are:

  • Failure to do proper safety checks. Sometimes they slip through the cracks. This could be the fault of the company or the fault of the driver. It is important to make sure that the vehicle is in proper working order and that the loads attached to them are properly distributed and secured.

  • Truckers' challenging schedules. Truckers are typically on tight schedules, so it isn’t uncommon for truckers to speed. Because trucks are so big, they require hundreds of feet to stop. The faster they go, the more room they need.

  • Failure to heed hours-of-service rules. Federal regulationsgovern how many hours per day a trucker can be on the road, but because of schedule demands, drivers don’t always abide by this. Accordingly, it is not surprising that fatigue is a common cause of big rig crashes.

  • Distracted driving. As with regular car accidents, distractions are a very common cause of big rig crashes. Whether it is looking at your cellphone or reaching for those last couple of fries in the bag, it can always wait until you have pulled off the road.

If you’ve been in a big rig crash, you need a knowledgeable legal team. Please contact us today at Jeff Martin Law so we can help.