It’s hard to drive on Charleston’s busy highways without seeing at least one commercial truck. Most of the time, commercial trucks are operated in a safe and responsible manner. But when drivers ignore signs or drive while fatigued, accidents may occur. One particularly disastrous type of accident is a bridge strike. These can leave people injured, vehicles totaled, and public structures damaged.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck collision, find out how we can help. Call Bailey, Javins & Carter at 800-497-0234.
What Are Bridge Strikes?
Bridge strikes are a type of accident in which a commercial truck’s height exceeds the height of the structure they are passing through, typically a bridge or overpass. As you may imagine, these crashes cause loud, jarring noises and a lot of damage.
These accidents occur in a variety of ways. First, inaccurate height measurements may be to blame. Truck drivers may not know the true height of their vehicle, leading them to try bridges and overpasses they cannot actually clear. In other cases, there are obvious warning signs before a bridge that alert commercial drivers not to pass through. When drivers ignore these or miss them because they are distracted, they may be unable to stop in time to avoid hitting the obstacle.
Technology may also be at fault for these accidents. GPS systems for truck drivers generally avoid bridges and overpasses of questionable heights. When GPS maps are outdated or are not designed for commercial drivers, they may send commercial drivers straight into an underpass.
Consequences of Bridge Strike Accidents
The consequences of a bridge strike accident are numerous. To start, the truck itself will likely be totaled. Either it will pass through the structure, which will still cause significant damage to the top of the truck, or the top of the truck will be sheared off by the structure. Additionally, this type of collision causes lots of structural damage. If the damage is bad enough, the bridge may need to be entirely shut down for repairs or rebuilding.
Traffic delays are inevitable after a bridge strike. With the truck stuck and the stability of the bridge in question, police will need to reroute all traffic on the road in question to protect drivers from potential bridge collapses.
These truck accidents can also cause serious injuries or even fatalities. When a driver strikes a bridge, they may panic and swerve, causing a jackknife accident or rollover. This may lead to the truck hitting neighboring vehicles.
It should come as no surprise that the financial fallout of a bridge strike collision is enormous. The trucking company may be on the hook for millions of dollars in damages, and even then, they could end up in court for multiple lawsuits.
How Other Drivers Are Affected
Other drivers are often affected when a bridge strike accident happens. Traffic generally comes to a near-immediate stop, forcing those in the vicinity to stop until they can be rerouted. These delays can last hours, and closures often last days or even longer. Drivers and passengers are also at risk of being hit by the truck as the driver panics and tries to take evasive action. They may also be hit by other vehicles that were not able to stop in time to avoid the traffic buildup. The community as a whole may suffer if one of its main roadways is out of commission due to a bridge strike.
Compensation for Bridge Strike Accidents
Victims of these collisions are often entitled to compensation. Compensation may be provided for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Local businesses and municipalities may be entitled to compensation for damaged structures, loss of business, and necessary repairs. If the cargo in the truck was destroyed—a likely outcome—the company that purchased the cargo may also have a claim for compensation.
Explore Your Legal Options with the Team at Bailey, Javins & Carter
Are you ready to start your truck accident claim? Don’t wait any longer to schedule a consultation with our team. We’re committed to helping accident victims like you fight for justice. Call us at 800-497-0234 or reach out online to get started.