Types of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are typically caused by driver negligence, equipment malfunction, or when a truck breakdown causes a hazardous obstacle to other motorists. No matter what the cause, though, the most frustrating fact about truck accidents is that they are almost all preventable, but instead, they cause tremendous damage.
The size and weight of a fully loaded truck makes every accident potentially lethal. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, you may be suffering from devastating injuries and a long-term recovery process. Medical bills can quickly become overwhelming – especially if you are taking time off from work to recover – and you may be struggling to keep up with your daily expenses.
If you find yourself in a situation after a crash where you don’t know what to do next, the experienced Texas truck accident attorneys at Ketterman Rowland & Westlund are here to sit down with you to explain your legal options. Your initial consultation is free, so call us today at (855) 569-7767.
Common Types of Truck Crashes
Large trucks travel countless miles across the U.S. every day, and when they are involved in an accident, innocent people could suffer severe and lasting injuries. Some of the most common types of truck accidents include:
- Jackknife Accidents: A jackknife accident occurs after the truck’s brakes lock up and cause the rig to skid. Because the trailer has to swing for turns, the forward motion of the skid causes the trailer to keep swinging and only come to a stop when it is perpendicular to the truck/tractor cab.
- Truck Rollovers: While rollovers can be caused by a number of scenarios, they generally involve speeding or going too fast for the roadway conditions. These types of accidents can be devastating.
- Tire Blowout: Tires need to be changed, rotated, and monitored frequently. If drivers, trucking companies, and maintenance crews do not properly care for truck tires, they need to be held responsible for the damage the resulting blowouts cause. When tire treads wear too thin, the weight of the truck and friction on the road can cause blowouts. Some tire blowouts can be managed safely, but tire debris can still cause roadway hazards for other drivers. Severe blowouts can cause a driver to lose control of the truck, causing a wreck.
- Rear-End Collisions: Due to the large size and weight of 18-wheelers, it takes longer for them to come to a stop after applying the brakes. This often results in rear-end collisions, especially in congested areas or in cases when a sudden stop is necessary. Truck drivers need to be held responsible wherever they choose to operate their vehicles.
- Head-On Collisions: A head-on collision occurs when two vehicles are traveling opposite directions in the same lane. For truck drivers, these types of crashes may result when drivers are distracted or unfamiliar with local roads. These are the deadliest types of motor vehicle accidents, and the driver traveling the wrong way will almost always be at fault for the crash.
- Blind Spot Accidents: Trucks have blind spots along both sides of the trailer, as well as some limited visibility in the front sides of the cab due to the height of the vehicle. Blind spot accidents typically occur if the driver does not manually check the blind spots or wait the appropriate time before changing lanes/turning to reveal another vehicle or obstacle in the blind spot.
- T-Bone: A T-bone accident involves one vehicle (typically turning or going straight through an intersection) being directly hit on the side by another vehicle. Motor vehicles have fewer safety features that protect against these types of side-impact accidents, so injuries can be significant.
- Sideswipe Accidents: Sideswipe accidents typically occur when truck drivers misjudge their turns, causing the trailer to scrape along the side of another motor vehicle. Sideswipes can also happen when trucks drift out of their lane or change lanes without looking.
- Cargo Spills: The purpose of large trucks is to carry cargo across the country. If this cargo is not secured properly, the storage container malfunctions, or a multitude of other factors come into play, spills can result. Cargo spills can pose a hazard due to either dangerous substances being released onto the ground or non-liquid debris being scattered around the roadway. Sometimes fallen cargo even hits other vehicles. Trucking companies, cargo loaders, and the drivers are responsible for properly loading, maintaining, and monitoring the safe movement of goods. They should be held accountable when their negligence causes damage.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Negligence on the part of commercial vehicle drivers or the companies that employ them poses a serious risk to everyone on the road. Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Drowsy Driving: Truck drivers are notorious for drowsy driving. Even though federal regulations provide rules for mandatory rest periods, truck drivers often ignore these guidelines. Recent studies have also shown that due to differences in individual sleep needs, even the minimum rest requirements might not be enough for all drivers. One thing is certain: A drowsy truck driver is a dangerous truck driver, and many accidents occur when they drift off behind the wheel.
- Speeding: When truck drivers rush to complete their deliveries faster, they risk severe consequences. Speed limits are posted to provide guidelines for that particular stretch of road, including turns, road conditions, traffic, and other factors. When truck drivers disobey these speed limits, accidents can happen, especially when trying to quickly maneuver their large, heavy vehicles at high speeds.
- Improper Speed for Weather Conditions: Even posted speed limits may be improper for large trucks during adverse weather conditions. Weather can affect roadway visibility as well as the road surfaces, and sometimes a combination of these two hazards, along with a truck traveling too fast, can cause fatal results.
- Distracted Driving: Truckers who drive for long stretches of time can be easily distracted. Eating a meal, talking on the phone, texting, changing the radio station, and even daydreaming, are only a few of the distractions that a truck driver might face. Truckers who let their minds wander for even a spilt second can cause a severe crash.
- Impaired Driving: Drinking alcohol and taking medications continue to be a serious threat on our roadways. When truckers get behind the wheel after consuming any substance that affects their ability to safely operate their rig, they threaten your life. This behavior is unacceptable, and truck drivers who cause accidents while impaired need to be held accountable to the full extent of the law.
- Reckless Driving: We have all witnessed the aggressive truck driver who maneuvers without abandon, expecting other motorists to yield to their behavior. As can be expected, this style of driving causes accidents.
- Equipment Malfunctions: Large trucks have many parts that suffer from regular wear and tear and must be constantly maintained. From tires to brakes, it is the responsibility of mechanics and trucking companies to safely make repairs and replace parts, and it is the duty of the truck driver to continually monitor the vehicle for safe operation. When either of these processes fail, accidents can occur.
- Equipment Defects: In some more complicated cases, a defect in a truck part or the actual design of the truck can cause accidents. If this is a factor that may have been at play in an accident that affected you, the legal team at Ketterman Rowland & Westlund can fully review your options for pursuing compensation from the manufacturer of the defective part or vehicle.
What to Do If You’re Hurt in a Truck Wreck
If you have been hurt in a truck wreck, there are a number of actions that you can take to protect your case for compensation:
Call the police. A police report will provide an overview of the accident from a law enforcement officer trained to document crucial information from an accident scene.
Get medical attention. The safety of you and the occupants of your vehicle is the most important thing. If getting medical attention means you need to leave the scene of the accident before you can complete any of the following steps, that’s OK. Ketterman Rowland & Westlund can help, just make sure that you are safe.
Don’t admit fault. Do not make any comments at the scene of the accident that could be interpreted as accepting fault. For example, do not say, “I’m sorry,” to the other driver. Even though it may feel like the considerate thing to do, statements like this can be construed as something completely different than what you intended. It is always best to keep quiet other than sharing basic information with the police.
Take pictures. With cameras on nearly every cellphone today, take advantage of this tool and snap lots of photos of your accident scene. Show multiple angles and make sure to capture any street signs, skid marks, and other important evidence.
Talk to witnesses. Get the names and contact information of any available witnesses. This will be useful in your case in the future.
Call an experienced truck accident lawyer. At Ketterman Rowland & Westlund, our highly skilled San Antonio personal injury attorneys are available to help you through each step of your claim.
Go to all doctor’s appointments. Follow up on your medical care and make sure you go to all of your appointments. If you skip appointments, it can negatively affect your case.
Keep records. Document the time that you miss from work in a log so you can calculate lost wages. Keep all of your medical receipts in a file. You may also start a journal to document how you are feeling each day and how your injuries are affecting your life.
Talk to a Truck Accident Lawyer Now
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries in a truck accident, the time to talk to a knowledgeable lawyer is now. Call Ketterman Rowland & Westlund for a free consultation about your accident at (855) 569-7767. We will review your legal options and give you the advice you need to take the next steps in your case.