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Truck accidents: Dangers, causes and your rights as a victim

An accident involving a tractor-trailer is typically far more catastrophic than accidents involving passenger cars and trucks. Part of the reason for this is that commercial trucks that are fully loaded may be 25 times the weight of an average car.

Due to the weight and sheer size of tractor-trailers, many tractor-trailer accidents involving other automobiles in Texas lead to serious injuries and even fatalities. Fortunately, if you have suffered a major injury due to a careless truck driver -- for instance, the driver was speeding or driving while distracted -- you have the right to seek justice.

Why are tractor-trailers so dangerous?

According to U.S. Department of Transportation statistics, professional truck drivers are generally more cautious behind the wheel than car drivers. However, collisions involving large trucks led to nearly 5,000 fatalities as well as more than 100,000 injuries back in 2006. These numbers show the frightening amount of harm that can result from these incidents each year.

Another factor in why tractor-trailer crashes are so dangerous is that some of the freight they carry -- including flammable and hazardous materials -- can lead to additional injuries in an accident. Examples of such dangerous cargo are industrial waste and gasoline.

Specific types of accidents involving tractor-trailers

A common truck accident that can lead to injuries is a jackknifing-related crash. Eighteen-wheelers and other large automobiles may end up jackknifing after quickly turning or suddenly braking. If such an abrupt turn was made negligently, then the truck driver may be held financially responsible for any injuries suffered by victims.

Sometimes semi-trucks are also hard to turn, so more than one lane is necessary to turn right. Taking up two lanes or failure to make a turn from an outside lane may be considered truck driver negligence depending on the circumstances surrounding an accident.

What are my options as a truck crash victim?

If you have been hurt in a truck accident, you have the right to pursue monetary compensation by means of a personal injury claim against the truck driver and possibly the trucking company. Although financial compensation cannot undo the events of your accident, it may help you to address your medical bills and lost wages. This may be especially valuable if you are your home's primary or sole breadwinner. A monetary award might also help you to address emotional distress and pain and suffering stemming from the unfortunate incident.

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