What Are the Different Types of Truck Accidents?July 7, 2022
Motorists regularly hear about the common occurrence of car accidents and are more likely to watch out for other similar vehicles on the road. The reality is that truck accidents are the actual leading cause of severe traffic injuries and fatalities. Most people who die in truck accidents are occupants of the smaller vehicles sharing the road with trucks. Others who can be fatally wounded include pedestrians and individuals riding bicycles or motorcycles at the time of the truck accident.
Although we need commercial trucks such as tractor trailers, semis, and big rigs as an essential part of our country’s economy, there is no doubt they have the potential to be very dangerous. Trucks are much larger and heavier, take longer to stop, have larger blind spots, and require greater concentration to operate. Unfortunately, when truck drivers get tired or distracted, innocent parties often suffer the consequences.
Some Common Types of Accidents with Trucks
There are several types of truck accidents, including the following:
- Jackknife accidents: Jackknifing happens when the trailer of a truck swings out, forming an acute angle with the truck’s cab. Large commercial trucks, such as 18-wheelers, are especially prone to jackknife accidents. These accidents typically happen when drivers brake suddenly or take turns too quickly. When jackknifing occurs, the trailer of the truck can crash into vehicles in oncoming traffic and cause multiple-vehicle collisions.
- T-bone accidents: Also known as side-impact collisions, T-bone accidents occur when two vehicles collide perpendicularly. These accidents often happen when drivers run red lights or fail to obey other traffic laws. A T-bone accident can be devastating for another driver because the body of the smaller vehicle takes most of the direct impact. This usually results in severe personal injury, including broken bones, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), spinal injuries, and fatal wounds.
- Head-on collisions: A head-on collision with a large truck can be one of the most catastrophic kinds of truck accidents. A truck weighing up to 80,000 pounds and 65 feet long that crashes head-on into a vehicle that weighs under 4,000 pounds will inevitably cause a devastating truck accident. Head-on collisions commonly occur in rural areas where the roads are narrow and vehicles are often forced to cross over the center lane to pass. These collisions are often caused by speeding, driver impairment, poor visibility, or medical issues.
- Rear-end accidents: In most rear-end accidents involving large trucks, the truck strikes the smaller vehicle causing an accident. These kinds of accidents are more severe because of the truck’s height and weight and can cause serious injuries to the occupants of the rear-ended vehicle.
- Rollovers: When truck drivers lose control of their heavy trucks, particularly while speeding and taking turns too sharply, the trucks can roll over and slide down the road. This can take other vehicles and motorists down with them, causing severe injuries and often fatalities.
- Tire blowouts: When tire blowouts happen on the massive scale of large trucks, they can cause truck drivers to lose control, resulting in rollovers, flying road debris, loosened loads, and additional hazards for motorists and pedestrians.
- Underride accidents: An underride accident is when a car or other small vehicle travels underneath the body of a truck. These truck accidents usually result in traumatic head and brain injuries. Although some trucking companies are required to equip their commercial trucks with reflective tape and rear bumpers or underride guards, many trucks are still not properly protected to prevent underride accidents.
- Accidents caused by blind spots: Large commercial trucks such as tractor trailers and big rigs have blind spots that are much bigger than smaller vehicles. This is a huge issue because truck drivers are unable to see smaller vehicles when changing lanes. This puts smaller vehicles at a high risk for getting hit, crushed, or forced off the road into other traffic, causing a truck accident.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, including poor road conditions and bad weather. However, most truck accidents are caused by the negligence of truck drivers or other entities. The most common causes of truck accidents include the following:
- Speeding: Speeding is not only a leading cause of car accidents, but also a top cause of truck accidents. Over 25 percent of fatal tractor trailer accidents are caused by truck drivers who have had at least one speeding conviction before the deadly accident.
- Traveling over lanes: Truck accidents are often caused by trucks crossing over the center lane or off the road. This can happen when a truck driver is drowsy after driving long hours on a work route. Truck drivers may also be distracted by communicating with other drivers or passengers, eating while driving, or using their smartphones. When a large truck travels over the center lane or off the road, it presents a dangerous situation for other vehicles that can be hit or forced into other traffic.
- Loading errors: Improperly loaded freight can fall out of a truck, which causes extreme danger to nearby motorists as well as multi-vehicle accidents. An overweight big rig can be unstable and cause a serious truck accident.
- Poor truck maintenance: Truck defects and faulty parts, including problems with tires, wheels, brakes, engines, transmissions, and steering wheels, are common contributors to truck accidents. Any defective component to a truck, even a small one, can increase the risk of serious injuries and fatalities as the result of a truck accident.
- Driver performance: Truck drivers who drive aggressively or carelessly, while fatigued, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol cause many truck accidents. Recently, a reason for poor driver performance has been cited as truck drivers fighting to meet tight schedules. Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) limits the hours a commercial driver is allowed to operate a truck, violations continue to increase. When violations of those regulations lead to truck accidents, injured individuals can hold several parties and entities liable.
Why Has There Been an Increase in Truck Accidents?
In the aftermath of the pandemic, trucking companies have felt the pressure of our country’s disrupted supply chain. Ocean and air freights delays and the significant rise in online shopping have led to a consistent demand on truck drivers.
As a result of this transition, injuries from large truck accidents have increased by more than 60 percent. Nearly all fatalities from truck accidents have been occupants in smaller vehicles. Data from insurance experts and the FMCSA shows that large trucks are involved in most of all motor vehicle accidents, motor vehicle-related injuries, and motor vehicle property damage claims.
This trend is not likely to dissipate anytime soon; therefore, it is important to stay aware of the increase of large commercial trucks on the road and know what to do if you are involved in a truck accident.
What Should I Do if I Am Involved in a Truck Accident?
If you are involved in a truck accident, the outcome will likely be devastating and life changing. It is essential to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer if a truck accident has harmed you or a loved one. The legal procedure and claims process is different than what is typical after a car accident and requires the expertise of a truck accident lawyer. Specific rules and regulations apply for truck drivers, just as there are requirements that pertain only to commercial trucks.
It is important to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer who knows the specific types of evidence to gather, such as the number of hours the truck driver logged prior to the accident. These days, many trucks are equipped with digital tracking systems that give detailed information about the truck’s location, speed, acceleration, velocity, and steering input. A seasoned truck accident lawyer will obtain that information to further your legal claims in pursuit of full and fair compensation.
Trucking industry laws and regulations, combined with the many factors and entities that may be involved in the event of a collision, make truck accident cases more legally complex than ordinary car accident cases. To achieve the best possible outcome, it is highly recommended that injured truck accident individuals and their families seek the advice and counsel of an experienced and reputable truck accident lawyer to handle their case.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Provide Quality Legal Counsel for Truck Accident Victims
If you have been involved in an accident with a truck, the Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton are available when you need us. We keep flexible office hours and will even come to your hospital or residence if your injuries prevent you from coming to us. Our experienced legal team will fight to secure the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, allowing us to represent clients in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.