Tractor-trailers are a staple on West Virginia highways. These large trucks crisscross the country day and night, transporting goods. Although they serve an important function, driving by an 18-wheeler at high speeds can be an incredibly disconcerting feeling. Semitruck and 18-wheeler accident injuries tend to be severe and even fatal, and the possibility of a wreck is probably higher than most drivers realize.

Even when not fully loaded, these massive trucks can weigh up to 30 times more than a standard passenger vehicle. This makes braking a more complicated matter. Large trucks need more time and distance to safely stop, and external factors — such as slippery roads or inclement weather — can exacerbate the problem. Driver fatigue also poses a serious risk, as many truckers spend more than the federally permitted 11 hours per day behind the wheel, which can slow their reaction times.

When pitted against an 18-wheeler, most smaller vehicles do not stand a chance. Not only must cars contend with the significant force of an impact with such large trucks, but there is also a height difference to take into account. Underride guards are meant to prevent vehicles from going underneath tractor-trailers, but one study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety demonstrated that these guards can fail even in crashes at lower speeds.

There is no getting around how severe semitruck and 18-wheeler accident injuries can be. Indeed, many of these injuries prove to be fatal, leaving behind grieving family members and the emotional burden of handling unexpected end-of-life matters. For most West Virginia families, a successfully pursued wrongful death suit can accomplish two main goals — achieving a sense of justice for their loved one and compensation on behalf of his or her estate.