Thousands of motorists are killed or seriously injured every year in Mississippi and around the country in collisions with semi-tractor trailers. Larger vehicles provide greater protection in a crash, and data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveals that more than two-thirds of the road users killed in truck accidents are car, pickup truck or SUV occupants.
The injuries suffered in truck accidents can be catastrophic, and this is especially true when distraction, impairment or fatigue is involved. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enforces commercial vehicle regulations and places strict limits on how long truck drivers may spend behind the wheel before rest becomes mandatory, but these efforts have not been enough to prevent a worrying rise in tractor-trailer accident fatalities and injuries in recent years.
Accident investigations are generally thorough when lives have been lost or injuries are severe, and commercial vehicles that crash may be inspected for signs of neglected maintenance or substandard repairs. Truck drivers who crash could be screened for drugs and alcohol, and their hours of service logs or cellphones may be checked when authorities suspect that distraction or drowsiness played a role. According to government crash statistics, 116,000 road users were injured in accidents involving buses or tractor-trailers in 2015.
Experienced personal injury attorneys may study police reports carefully when pursuing civil remedies on behalf of truck accident victims or their dependent family members. When accident investigators have discovered evidence of safety violations or hours of service irregularities, attorneys may seek punitive as well as compensatory damages. Punitive damages are awarded when injuries have been caused by acts of gross negligence to deter others from behaving in the same way. Compensatory damages are awarded to pay medical bills, make up for lost income and cover the costs of repairing or replacing damaged property.