Truck accidents are, unfortunately, a common occurrence on our roads that result in the tragic loss of lives, extensive injuries, and substantial property damage. Understanding the different types of truck accidents can help in identifying their causes, establishing preventative measures, and seeking compensatory damages after an accident.
We will explore the common causes and various types of truck accidents, the harm they can cause, and the role an experienced Marietta truck accident lawyer can play in securing compensation for their victims.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
While many factors can contribute to truck accidents, some of the most common causes include:
Truck Driver Error
Truck driver error is a critical component of most truck accidents. Common truck driver errors include fatigued driving, often due to long shifts; distracted driving, such as texting or using a GPS; intoxicated driving, which may involve prescription or over-the-counter medications; speeding; and following other vehicles too closely.
A truck’s safe operation demands a driver's skill and attention. Even a small mistake behind the wheel of one of these large, complex machines can have catastrophic consequences.
Truck Equipment Failure Due to Defects or Improper Maintenance
Equipment failure is another significant cause of truck accidents. If brake failure occurs due to a lack of regular maintenance, for instance, the driver can lose the ability to stop the vehicle, causing devastating accidents. Defective steering components or tire failure can lead to the driver losing control of the vehicle, resulting in collisions or rollovers.
Trucking companies and operators must perform regular and thorough inspections and maintenance of their vehicles to avoid these mishaps. Truck equipment manufacturers also share the responsibility for accidents if they produce and distribute faulty parts that play a role in causing a crash.
Improper Cargo Loading or Securement
Trucks cannot operate safely with improperly loaded or unsecured cargo. Unevenly loaded cargo or freight that exceeds the truck's weight limit could shift during transit and unbalance the vehicle, leading to a rollover or loss of control. Unsecured cargo can also fall off a truck, leading to accidents and hazards on the road. Loading cargo appropriately and securely is crucial to safety in truck operations.
Not all truck accidents result from the truck driver or company's negligence. Other motorists can also be responsible. They may cut in front of a truck without leaving enough space, leading to a collision if the truck can't stop in time due to its large size and weight.
Drivers may ignore a truck's signals or fail to allow it enough space to maneuver, causing the truck to swerve or brake abruptly, potentially triggering an accident. Motorists who drive in a truck's blind spots also make it difficult for the driver to see them, increasing the chance of a collision.
Types of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can happen in many ways and cause a vast range of injuries and damages. Below is a summary of the most common types of truck crashes and the harm they can cause:
Jackknife accidents occur when a truck folds at the joint connecting the vehicle's cab and trailer, forming an angle resembling a partially folded pocket knife. This type of accident typically happens when a truck brakes abruptly, throwing its loaded trailer out of alignment.
These accidents can result in severe injuries due to the size and weight of the involved vehicle and the speed at which they often happen. Victims can suffer broken bones, head injuries, and fatalities. Jackknifes often cause significant property damage, especially if they involve multiple vehicles.
Rollover accidents involve a truck flipping onto its side or roof. Factors causing rollovers include high speeds, sudden turns, burst tires, improper cargo loading, and steep inclines or declines.
Victims of truck rollovers often suffer severe or fatal injuries, including fractures, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. Property damage is usually substantial in these cases, given the size and weight of the vehicle.
A rear-end collision occurs when a truck crashes into the vehicle in front of it. Common causes include tailgating, distracted or fatigued driving, brake failure, and adverse weather that limits visibility or creates slippery road conditions.
Rear-end collisions involving large trucks can result in widespread destruction, injuries, and fatalities, especially when a truck collides with a passenger car. The force of an impact can crush a smaller vehicle, inflicting catastrophic and fatal injuries.
These collisions happen when the front ends of two vehicles collide, often due to a truck crossing into oncoming traffic. Common causes include driver distraction, fatigue, impairment due to drugs or alcohol, and poor visibility.
Head-on collisions involving large trucks can cause catastrophic injuries, including crushed or amputated limbs, spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, or death. The damage to vehicles is typically considerable, often resulting in total loss.
Blind Spot Accidents
Blind spot accidents occur when a truck changes lanes or turns and hits another vehicle in its blind spot—the area around the truck not visible in the driver's mirrors. Large trucks have several large blind spots, extending roughly 20 feet in front of the cab, 30 feet to the rear of the trailer, one lane width to the left, and two lane widths to the right.
Injuries due to blind spot accidents can include broken bones, head injuries, or internal injuries, and substantial vehicle damage.
Underride accidents occur when a smaller vehicle slides underneath the trailer of a truck. This can happen when a truck brakes suddenly and the vehicle behind it cannot stop in time or when a truck changes lanes and runs over a smaller vehicle next to it.
Underride accidents are particularly dangerous and often fatal for smaller vehicle occupants. If a car rear-ends a truck trailer, for example, the impact may shear its roof off, causing life-threatening injuries to those inside.
Lost Cargo Accidents
Lost cargo accidents occur when freight falls off a truck, either hitting other vehicles directly or creating hazardous conditions on the road that result in accidents.
These incidents can cause a wide range of injuries, depending on the size, weight, and nature of the fallen cargo, along with considerable vehicle damage.
Tire Blowout Accidents
A tire blowout accident happens when one or more of the truck's tires burst, causing the driver to lose control. These accidents can lead to minor or severe injuries and significant property damage. They may also scatter debris on the road, potentially causing a secondary accident.
Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accident Cases
Many truck accident victims and their loved ones have questions about their rights. Here are the answers to several common questions:
What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need?
You need a lawyer with extensive experience in truck accident cases, as they involve legal and factual complexities far beyond those that arise in typical motor vehicle crash claims. The right lawyer for your case will understand trucking industry operations and regulations, liability insurance covering trucks and truckers, and the legal processes you need to navigate to get maximum compensation for your losses.
How Much Will It Cost To Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?
It should not cost you anything unless and until your truck accident lawyer gets you results. Reputable truck accident attorneys offer a free consultation where you can learn about your rights and options without any financial obligation.
They also take cases on a contingent fee basis, meaning they don't charge upfront fees or hourly rates and work in exchange for a percentage of any money they secure for you. Regardless of your financial circumstances after a truck accident, you can afford to hire a skilled truck accident lawyer.
How Much Money Can I Get in a Truck Accident Case?
The damages you can recover after a truck accident depend on factors such as the severity of your injuries, the strength of your case, your lawyer's skill and reputation, and the financial resources—particularly liability insurance coverage—of the at-fault parties. Talk to a lawyer today to learn how much you could receive after suffering harm in a truck crash.
Should I Accept a Settlement the At-Fault Trucker's Insurance Company Offered Me?
Not until you've spoken with an experienced truck accident lawyer. Liability insurers often attempt to settle claims quickly and for less than their full value, especially before victims have talked to an attorney. A lawyer can review the offer and advise whether to accept it. An attorney can often negotiate with the insurer and get you far more than initially offered.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Truck accidents take many forms, but they all have the potential to cause significant destruction, injuries, or loss of life. If you or a loved one recently sustained harm in a truck accident, contact an experienced truck accident lawyer in your area today for a free consultation about your rights to compensation.