Although trucks are essential for our society’s survival as they can carry goods from one place to another, their large size also means that they pose a huge risk to other motorists. Truck accidents of all types can cause some of the worst devastations seen on today’s highways and interstates. Here are some of the most common types of commercial truck accidents and what to do if you’ve been in one.
When a truck brakes hard, its trailer can swing to the side due to momentum and end up pointing at a 90-degree angle from the cab. This can cause many different accidents, such as:
- The trailer hitting other vehicles as it swings out.
- The vehicle takes up more than a single lane so it may hit many other vehicles before stopping.
- A jackknifing truck can tip over, spilling its cargo, crushing objects including other motorists and potentially catching fire.
A jackknifed truck. Credit
Tire blowouts can happen to any vehicle and an 80,000 pound truck is more likely to cause disastrous consequences. A blown tire can cause:
- The truck driver to panic and lose control, meaning the truck may roll over or jackknife as they brake hard.
- Debris and loosened cargo which can fly out and hit other vehicles.
Also known as a swinging turn crash, this is when a truck driver swings left to make a right turn but the turn is too wide. This means the truck ends up colliding with cars, motorbikes, bicycles or even pedestrians to its right, squeezing them between the truck’s body and the sidewalk.
If any driver loses control of their vehicle, it can slide and roll over onto its side. This is even more likely with trucks because they’re so much larger and heavier than regular vehicles.
A rolled over truck. Credit
If the truck rolls over, it can cause the following:
- Hitting other vehicles as it rolls.
- Spilling cargo which may hit other vehicles.
- Catching fire.
- Serious physical injuries to the driver and other motorists, including back, neck, spinal cord injuries and sometimes death.
As the name suggests, rear-end collisions are when a vehicle crashes into the back of another and trucks are even more susceptible to this due to their weight and the fact that their stopping distance is further than smaller vehicles. According to a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, rear-end collisions accounted for nearly a quarter of truck-related accidents in 2014.
Rear-end collisions can cause:
- Serious property damage.
- A chain of vehicle crashes as their heavier weight and momentum upon collision can push the first vehicle into the one in front of it and so on.
- Catastrophic injuries and death.
When a truck stops suddenly, smaller vehicles approaching quickly behind it can become lodged or slide underneath it. They are often an extension of rear-end collisions and are one of the most lethal types of truck accidents. Underride collisions can cause:
- The top of the smaller vehicle to be ripped off or crushed by force.
- In most cases, death.
A car and truck involved in an underride accident. Credit
Underride collisions can often be prevented by fitting trucks with side and rear guards to prevent the smaller vehicle from sliding underneath it.
Improperly loaded freight and truck loads can fall out of trucks, causing extreme, immediate danger to nearby motorists. If loads aren’t properly secured, they may fly out when the truck is moving or in the event of a collision. This can cause:
- Cargo to hit other vehicles.
- Multi-car accidents as these vehicles attempt to avoid by braking or swerving.
- Severe injuries or even fatalities.
If a truck has a head-on collision with another vehicle, it often causes death or if the victims are lucky to survive, they’re usually left with lifelong disabilities. Again, this is another extremely deadly truck accident.
This is when a truck collides into the side of another vehicle and it creates a “T” shape. This can be due to one of the drivers running a red light, not braking properly or failing to look out for oncoming traffic properly.
Every driver needs to check their blind spots, but it’s even more important for truck drivers to do so. Due to the size of commercial trucks, they have larger blind spots than regular vehicles. Also known as “no zone areas” or “no man’s land”, these run along the rear and sides of the truck. A blind spot-related collision can cause other vehicles to be hit, crushed or forced off the road.
It’s not just truck drivers that need to be careful. Other motorists need to be aware that the larger the truck, the greater the blind spot so they need to avoid this area.
If a truck driver fails to notice that a bridge is too low for their vehicle, it may cause a bridge collision. Bridge collisions involving 18 wheelers are extremely serious and can cause severe accidents including:
- Ripping the top of the truck’s cab off by force and injuring or killing the driver.
- Rear-end collisions as the truck suddenly comes to a stop.
- Flying debris hitting nearby vehicles.
- Fuel fires.
Truck wedged under a low bridge. Credit
Bridge collisions are usually avoidable if a truck driver is familiar with the route or pays attention to road signs warning of height restrictions on bridges and overpasses.
Work zones are hazardous areas - for both the workers and motorists. If a truck driver isn’t careful, their huge vehicle can easily slip off the road and into the construction zones. This can cause serious injury or in most cases, death to the workers and nearby motorists.
Brake Failure or Improper Braking
Brakes can fail for a number of reasons, including poor maintenance, improper installation, overheating and overuse. If a truck’s brakes fail, they can easily collide with other vehicles in any of the accidents we’ve described above and cause death and devastation.
Alternatively, a truck driver may not brake soon enough because of negligence or they didn’t notice the other motorist. This, too, can cause serious injuries and death in the event of a collision.
Truck Driver DUI
It’s illegal for any motorist to drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol. But truck drivers have an additional responsibility to use their vehicles safely. Driving under the influence can obviously lead to impaired driving ability which can then cause any of the accidents we’ve just mentioned.
How to Claim for a Commercial Truck Accident
If you’ve been in a truck accident and you want to make a claim, there are a number of things you should do.
Keep a Note of All of The Expenses Since the Crash
This can include medical expenses, ongoing treatment costs, wages lost and wages that may be lost in the future. Ensure that you keep a note of all of them so your attorney will find it easier to calculate how much compensation you’re owed.
Remember to Claim Within Three Years of the Crash
In Mississippi, the statute of limitations is three years - meaning you have three years after your accident to file your claim before it expires. If you wait longer than three years, a court can refuse to hear your claim and it may deprive you of the compensation you deserve.
Choose the Right Lawyer to Represent You
When you’re filing for any lawsuit, from hernia mesh to truck accidents, it’s important that you find a lawyer who can best represent your needs. A lawyer’s personality is just as important as their qualifications and professionalism because you need to be able to trust that they have your best interests at heart.
Been in an Automobile Accident? Speak to an Expert
If you or a loved one has been in a truck accident recently, you need to take action. Download our free guide for all the information you require when making a claim. Click on the button below.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.