Most of what you eat and buy made its way to you inside a semi-truck, 18-wheeler, big-rig, or other large commercial vehicle.
The trucking industry is a significant and lucrative part of the American economy but, while these trucks are necessary, they're also dangerous.
Large commercial trucks and buses are involved in approximately 500,000 accidents each year in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). Many of these accidents result in costly property damage, severe injury, and even death.
Law enforcement officers, insurance adjusters, and personal injury attorneys see the same heartbreaking truck crashes over and over again. If you were injured in a common type of truck wreck, you know just how devastating these accidents can be for victims and their families.
Are you considering taking legal action after being injured in an accident caused by a negligent commercial driver or trucking company? Here's what you should know.
Common Truck Accident Causes
Traffic safety research indicates that the leading cause of truck accidents is driver error—on the part of both the commercial and passenger vehicle drivers. Motorists can cause accidents when they misjudge a commercial vehicle's handling ability, drive in the truck's blind spots or "no zones", or attempt to pass or merge when it isn't safe.
Commercial drivers can make mistakes that cause accidents when they're inadequately trained, adhering to an overly demanding schedule, speeding, or driving while impaired, distracted or drowsy. Other common causes of truck accident include:
- Equipment failure
- Insufficient truck maintenance
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Inclement road or weather conditions
Types of Truck Accidents
- Rear-end collisions: A large commercial truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, compared to the average passenger vehicle, which weighs around 4,000 pounds. When a large and heavy truck crashes into the back of a passenger vehicle, serious property damage and injury can result.
- Jackknife crashes: If a truck driver slams on the brakes and the tractor trailer's drive axle locks, it can cause the trailer to skid and stop at a 90-degree angle to the tractor, or rig. During the skid, the driver has no control of the vehicle. These accidents often precede rollovers.
- Truck rollovers: After losing control of the big-rig—such as in a jackknife crash; driving at high speeds; taking a corner too fast; hitting a curb or object in the road; or trying to correct a drifting trailer, large commercial vehicles flip sideways.
- Underride accidents: Underride collisions are one of the most deadly types of truck accidents. When a truck stops suddenly, the smaller passenger vehicle following behind can rear-end it. The height of the trailer may allow the passenger vehicle to slide right underneath, often crushing it or sheering off the roof in the process. While commercial trucks are required by federal law to install rear underride guards to prevent this type of accident, faulty or unmaintained guards may pose a danger.
- Head-on collisions: If a trucker becomes distracted, falls asleep at the wheel, or suffers an emergency medical event, she can cross over into oncoming traffic, causing catastrophic and often fatal accidents.
- Lost load wrecks: When a commercial driver fails to properly load and secure cargo, it can fall from the truck during transit, which poses an immediate danger to vehicles hit by it, as well as drivers who are forced to swerve to avoid it.
- Blind spot accidents: Commercial vehicles have blind spots or “no zones” so large you can drive a vehicle through them. When a trucker attempts to change lanes, he may not see passenger vehicles in the rig's blind spots, resulting in a collision.
- Wide-turn collisions: When a truck driver swings a vehicle to the left in order to make a right turn, the truck can hit smaller vehicles in its path and “squeeze” them into the sidewalk. These crashes are also known as “swinging turn” accidents.
- Tire blowouts: Any vehicle can experience a tire blowout. However, when the tires blow out on a large, heavy vehicle like a semi-truck or 18-wheeler, it can cause the driver to lose control and careen into other lanes or oncoming traffic.
- T-bone accidents: Also known as side-impact crashes, T-bone accidents occur when a commercial truck runs a red light and strikes the side of another vehicle.
Were You Injured in a Truck Accident?
If you were injured in a serious truck accident caused by commercial driver or trucking company negligence, McGartland Law can help you fight for the compensation you need to recover both medically and financially. Contact McGartland Law today to schedule a free, no-obligation analysis of your truck accident case.