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Hit by a semi? Here's what you need to know

You never expected to be the person who was caught up in a dangerous crash. You always saw vehicles that were on the side of the road, left behind after a crash or people who had been in fender-benders waiting for help. You just never imagined that you'd be the person dealing with that situation yourself.

You were traveling home from work when the wreck happened. You were in the left lane, and a large semi suddenly started to merge into your lane. You didn't understand why, because large trucks generally travel in slower lanes. You honked your horn, but by the time the driver noticed you, it was too late to do anything else. You ended up being pushed straight into the concrete median.

You learned very quickly that differences in size matter in collisions. Your vehicle was badly damaged, and you suffered severe injuries including broken bones and a head injury. It will take months, if not longer, to recover.

Car crashes and large truck collisions can lead to devastating consequences for victims

Did you know that, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 4,889 large trucks and buses involved in crashes leading to fatalities in 2017? That number may continue to increase so long as semi trucks and regular passenger-vehicle drivers travel together.

There are reasons why semis and other large trucks are so dangerous. One is the huge weight discrepancy between the different vehicles. Trucks may be up to 80,000 pounds, while an average car is usually 3,000 to 5,000 pounds. Just knowing that, you can see why these collisions are so dangerous to you as a driver of a passenger vehicle.

Another reason the crashes tend to be significant is because of the speeds involved. Large trucks are usually found on highways, where speeds may be 55 mph or higher. Two vehicles hitting at 70 mph, for example, are going to have a more serious collision than two hitting at 35 mph on neighborhood roadways.

What do you need to do if you're hit by a large truck?

In cases involving large trucks, it can be hard to know whom to hold accountable. You may be able to seek compensation from the driver of the truck, for example, or you may need to seek compensation from that driver's employer. This is something to discuss with your attorney if you plan to file a personal injury lawsuit.

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