How Do Parked Trucks Cause Accidents?

When you hear about accidents involving large commercial trucks (eighteen-wheelers), you probably think of collisions that occur while the truck is moving. However, what many people may not realize is that serious accidents can occur when a large truck is parked near moving traffic.

When we look at the overall large truck accident statistics provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), we see that there were 148,000 total people injured and 4,761 people killed in crashes during the latest reporting year.

What are the dangers of a parked truck?

When a large commercial truck is sticking out into the roadway, it poses a major hazard to motorists. Even a truck that is only sticking out a little bit can cause major damage. Consider this – the FMCSA says that a fully loaded eighteen-wheeler can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. When a passenger vehicle strikes a truck of this size, there is no comparison as to which vehicle will sustain more damage.

It is not uncommon for us to see rear-end collisions caused by trucks being parked near moving traffic. The following injuries can occur in these situations:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Bone fractures
  • Loss of or damage to bodily organ
  • Dismemberment or amputation
  • Other injuries that inhibit a person’s daily activities
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Temporary or permanent disability

In the worst crashes, passenger vehicle occupants are killed.

A rear-end collision with a large truck often causes an underride incident. This is when a passenger vehicle goes under a truck bed in a crash, essentially sheering off the top of the vehicle. Passenger vehicle drivers can also get into a crash with other vehicles as they swerve to get out of the way of a parked truck.

Why trucker park near traffic

There are various reasons that truckers will pull their vehicles over near moving traffic. Some of these include:

  • To use the restroom
  • To get something to eat
  • The catch up on some sleep

Truckers are not allowed to operate their vehicles more than a certain number of hours a day or during a workweek. Poor planning could lead to them needing to stop the truck to follow their hours of service regulations.

In other cases, mechanical failure may force a trucker to pull to the side of the road. In these circumstances, the FMCSA expects truckers to use safety triangles or flares to make the truck visible to oncoming traffic.

Liability in a parked truck accident

Even if a trucker was parked illegally and caused the incident, the company and their insurance carrier will hesitate to compensate crash victims. They are not going to want to admit fault because doing so opens them up to significant payouts to victims. Remember, insurance companies are not your friend, especially the other side’s insurance carrier. You should not speak to their insurance claims adjusters until you secure legal assistance. Proving a truck was illegally parked is going to require the assistance of an attorney in order to:

  • Gather all evidence related to the crash (photographs, accident reports, etc.)
  • Secure expert witnesses and possibly an accident reconstruction team
  • Obtain your medical records and calculating your total economic and non-economic losses

Proving that the truck was illegally parked and that the trucker did not follow proper procedures is a vital part of this process, and you should not try to handle this by yourself.

Contact our Nashville truck accident attorneys today.