A van carrying five people was struck by a tractor-trailer in northern Indiana last Friday, killing a 10-year-old boy who was riding in the van and injuring the other occupants.

According to wlfi.com, the crash occurred in a southbound lane of U.S. 421 near Wanatah where crews were directing traffic around a tree service vehicle. The tractor-trailer crashed into the victims’ van, which had slowed down in response to the tree service vehicle.

The driver of the tractor-trailer told police that he was unable to avoid the crash because he didn’t have enough time to react. The crash closed U.S. 421 for about three hours as authorities worked to investigate the crash scene.

Big Trucks’ Weight and Size Make Them Dangerous in Crashes

A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. Big trucks have heavy-duty braking systems, but they still can’t stop as quickly as passenger vehicles—especially when they’re hauling full trailers.

Sudden traffic jams and slowdowns can put other drivers and their passengers at serious risk of injury and even death when truck drivers are inattentive or following too closely, as they’re often unable to stop in time to avoid a crash. Distracted or poorly trained truck drivers and the trucking companies that employ them can and should be held liable after crashes that they cause.

Overloaded Trucks Are Even More Dangerous

Sometimes, truck drivers are unable to stop in time even when they are paying close attention to the road ahead. Fully loaded commercial trucks are already difficult enough to slow down or stop quickly in response to other vehicles around them suddenly slowing down. But when trucks are overloaded and exceed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) weight limit, the time and distance they need to come to a complete stop can increase significantly.

When trucks are overloaded, the companies that use them can be held accountable for any damages if they’re involved in a crash. The FMCSA’s weight limit is enforced for a reason, but some companies ignore it to increase their profits by delivering more goods and freight per trip.

Our Indiana Truck Accident Lawyers Are Here to Help

At Wagner Reese, we know how devastating big truck accidents can be for people in passenger vehicles. The weight and size difference between semi-trucks and even the largest pickup trucks and SUVs is enormous, and the outcome of those crashes typically means serious and often life-threatening injuries for the passengers in the other vehicles.

After a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, get in touch with our Indianapolis truck accident attorneys. We’ll work hard to help your family get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.