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The Surprising Physics of Truck Accidents

Mellino Law Firm

Whether someone you love suffered broken bones and contusions in a recent truck crash, or a big rig sideswiped you on the Interstate and caused a severe wreck, you want to understand what happened in the crash and what you can do to obtain justice and fair compensation.

As part of the investigative process, a forensic team will likely try to reconstruct what happened on the road. Most people understand intuitively that truck crashes can be more dangerous than other types of auto crashes. Statistics certainly bear this out. But why is that?

To answer that question, we need to take a look at the physics of truck accidents. If you recall from the high school physics, the Force exerted on any object is equal to its mass times acceleration (F=ma). What that means in layman’s terms is that the Force imparted in an accident depends upon a vehicle’s mass and on how fast it changes speed.

For instance, trucks tend to be 10 times as massive as automobiles. So a 20 ton truck that hits a concrete divider traveling at 50 miles per hour will impart 10 times as much force as a two-ton car hitting that same divider. In order for a car to generate the same force as a truck, it would either have to slam into the divider at 500 miles per hour!

By comparison, a motorcycle – with a mass of just 1/100th of our truck – would have to travel 5,000 miles per hour into the wall to generate an equivalent force. A 20 pound bowling ball – approximately 1/1,000th of the mass of a truck – would have to hit the concrete barrier at 50,000 miles per hour – faster than a spaceship. Finally, a 2 pound object – a baseball, say, with a mass 1/10,000th that of a track – would have to travel at 500,000 miles per hour into that same divider. That’s fast enough to get to the moon and back and then back to the moon again and then some in just a single hour.

The point is that these incredible forces can cause incredible damage not only to vehicles but also to the people trapped inside of them.

So how can you obtain compensation in a truck crash? Fortunately, our team of experienced truck accident lawyers understands how to obtain useful forensic evidence as well as how to ensure that insurance companies and other liable defendants play fair. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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