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Physics Involved in Trucking Accidents

As a personal injury lawyer, I spend considerable time talking to accident victims suffering from debilitating pain. Injuries to the neck, back, head, and extremities are extremely common following car collisions. Even the relatively small accidents can leave a person with painful, life-changing injuries like herniated vertebral discs, rotator cuff damage, and concussions.

These injuries occur in automobile collisions, because the force exerted by two large objects is massive. Drivers and passengers inside the crashing vehicles absorb a portion of that energy with their bodies. This results in varying levels of damage. The amount of force exerted in a collision is based on a very basic principal of physics. Newton second law of physics states that Force equals Mass multiplied by acceleration (F=M x a). The reason that the force exerted in a car collision is so large, is because the objects colliding have a lot of mass. Fortunately, good vehicle designs by auto makers and ever-improving car safety features keep accident victims from absorbing more of the force of an accident.

However, the more force that is exerted in a collision, the more damage there will be to the vehicle and passengers inside. When considering that fact with the basic physics lesson from above (F=M x a), we can understand two commonly accepted scientific facts.

First, collisions that result in a more rapid deceleration of the vehicles involved will cause more significant damage. It’s important to distinguish between the speed of the vehicles before impact, and the change of acceleration at impact. While vehicles traveling at higher speeds will often decelerate more than those at lower speeds, the velocity of the vehicles just before the crash is not the only factor that determines the rate of deceleration.

Mass is the other factor determining force involved in this equation. The larger the vehicles involved in a crash are, the more force there will be inflicted upon the vehicles. Obviously an accident involving a semi tractor-trailer truck is going to involve a lot more force. This is why property damage and physical injuries are more significant in crashes involving
commercial trucks. No matter how big or small the vehicle or object a tractor-trailer rig collides with, the collision itself will be substantially worse than most collisions not involving a truck.

Because commercial trucks involve this increased danger of serious injury or death when a collision occurs, and the fact that these vehicles are generally being operated for the benefit of a business, the insurance policies covering these vehicles usually have very high policy limits. While it’s unfortunate that truck drivers and other individuals involved in a truck collision are often seriously injured, it’s fortunate that these accident victims are covered by substantial insurance.

It is important to keep in mind you will have a serious fight to recover even if you are seriously injured and the commercial truck has insurance. Larger insurance policies result in a bigger fight from the handling Claims Adjuster and defense attorneys. If you are a truck driver or any other person injured in a semi-truck accident, call the truck accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group today for a free case evaluation.