There’s no doubt that large, commercial semitrucks significantly increase the number of highway deaths and injuries here in the United States. As reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), big trucks were responsible for 8 percent of the automobiles involved in fatal collisions in 2015. Of the 3,744 large trucks that got into those fatal wrecks, 73 percent were combination trucks, i.e., semitrucks.

When researchers looked at the number of semitrucks on the road and factored in the number of miles they travel, they established that these big rigs have higher lethal collision rates per mile driven than smaller passenger cars and light trucks.

When a semitruck and a passenger vehicle get into an accident, the bulk of the damage typically occurs to the passenger car and its occupants. With one vehicle outweighing the other by as much as 30 times, there isn’t much of a contest when the two tangle.

Then, too, laden with many tons of cargo, their length and weight make semitrucks unwieldy and much harder to navigate on congested highways among smaller vehicles.

Trucks also must move through a series of gears when going up and down slopes and even when just reaching their cruise speeds. When a truck is making its ascent up a steep highway, it’s not able to quickly change lanes to get out of harm’s way.

If you got into an auto accident with a big rig, you likely suffered from serious — if not life-threatening — injuries. Your rehabilitation may be long-term and quite expensive, and you might have to miss quite a bit of work while you recover.

It’s possible to recoup some of those financial losses by filing a claim for damages against the at-fault trucker, and potentially others.