In Trucking Accidents, Size Doesn’t Always Equal Liability

Imagine you’re at a wrestling match where you know nothing about either of the competitors in the ring. One of them is big and brawny, while the other is skinny and much shorter. Who are you going to root for? Based on size alone, you’d probably cheer for the bulkier wrestler, because you can assume their size is an advantage.

Now imagine a collision between a 10,000 pound truck and a sedan. Like in the wrestling match, size will play a role—and it might not end well for the smaller one.

Big Trucks, Big Consequences

According to 2016 data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were 3,986 truck accident fatalities throughout the year. Truck occupants contributed to only 17% of these fatalities. 60% were occupants of the other vehicle, while the rest were motorcyclists or pedestrians.  Since trucks are larger and heavier, it makes sense that occupants of smaller vehicles often sustain the most injuries and damages during a truck-related accident.

But a truck’s size does not automatically mean they are entirely at-fault for the accident. Though their vehicles are much smaller, other drivers can still cause accidents.

Dangerous Behavior on the Roads

While sharing the road with a truck, drivers can cause accidents through dangerous behavior like:

  • Driving in a truck’s blind spot or a spot where they have low visibility
  • Suddenly changing lanes in front of a truck or making a sudden left turn in front of a truck
  • Improper merging
  • Failing to properly speed up or slow down for a merging truck
  • Unsafe passing

For example, if a smaller vehicle tries to suddenly make a left turn in front of a truck because they think they have enough time, their misjudgment could cause the truck to collide with them. If a driver is behaving unsafely on the roads, even a responsible, alert truck driver cannot always act quickly enough to stop a collision.

In many cases, a truck accident is caused by a variety of factors, with both parties partially at fault. For example, if a truck driver is fatigued after a long day of driving, they might fail to notice a driver who improperly merges into their lane.

Safety for Everyone

Like in any type of traffic accidents, many factors play a role. While the unsafe behavior of truck drivers, particularly driver fatigue, do contribute to accidents, it’s important to remember that smaller vehicles can still be at-fault. This is why everyone, from motorcyclists to truck drivers, should follow basic road safety rules and stick to responsible driving behavior—it keeps the roads safe for vehicles of all shapes and sizes!


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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