Such accidents can absolutely be devastating. Just ask the thousands of people whose lives are affected by these accidents every year. Some are people who have survived their own accidents, but now face spinal cord and brain injuries. Other people, however, have lost a loved one in a trucking accident.
Just in case you think a semi truck accident might not be all that devastating, consider the following lawsuit, filed by a person in one semi truck that was hit by another semi truck. The injured party suffered severe spinal cord injuries in the accident. He was a passenger in the truck. The driver of the truck was killed in the accident.
The driver of the other truck, Robyn Getchel, who survived the accident, tested positive for methamphetamine while driving the truck. The jury in the case found that Getchel had failed to negotiate a turn into a rest stop and was backing up—onto a highway—to reattempt the maneuver when her truck was hit from behind by the plaintiff's truck. Although the jury awarded $23.5 million in the lawsuit, the judge reduced the award to $15.3 million, saying that Getchel was only 65 percent at fault in the accident.
The injured person in this case, Terry Frederick, was in a semi truck during the accident, asleep in the bed, and still suffered massive injuries. The driver of the truck he was in died. Imagine if they had been in a passenger vehicle instead of a big rig when they were hit. Imagine if the truck backing up had hit a family in a car or minivan. That family would not have stood a chance at surviving the accident.
Imagine it was your family killed in such a crash and that you then learned that the truck driver not only tested positive for methamphetamine but, according to evidence presented at the trial, had a history of drug use. Furthermore, you learn that the driver failed her commercial drivers license exam repeatedly. How would you feel?
Sadly, these cases are not all that rare. There are many trucking accidents every year, and while not all are fatal—and not all involve the use of drugs—they all have the potential to be devastating. Think about it: one wrong move by a truck driver could easily cause a collision that then becomes a tragedy.
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This is not to imply that all truck drivers are bad or negligent people who do not care at all about the other drivers on the road. Most truck drivers are decent, law-abiding people who are just trying to make a living. Unfortunately, some of the drivers do cut corners—they take methamphetamines or other drugs so they can drive without feeling tired—and other people on the road pay the price.
Think about it—if 2 people in a semi truck can suffer such devastating injuries, what hope do the rest of us have in our little passenger vehicles? The only thing we can do is drive defensively, hope that the big rig drivers around us have their full faculties about them and, if the worst happens, turn to the courts if those drivers and their companies have been violating the laws