Predictable Causes of Trucking Accidents
Accidents involving large trucks and tractor trailers are—more often than not—catastrophic. They may occur for any number of reasons and in any type of weather. When the scenario involves a big rig versus a passenger car, the individuals in the smaller vehicle are extremely vulnerable to severe injury and even death.
Driving an 18-wheeler is a challenging task, whether at highway speeds or maneuvering through city streets; accordingly, truck drivers are required to receive extensive training and special licensing. Careful investigations of truck accidents frequently reveal that a driver was engaged in some type of negligent behavior, such as speeding or following too closely behind another vehicle. Nationwide, distracted driving is a leading cause of all motor vehicle accidents. Data analysis from Nebraska’s Department of Transportation (NDOT) confirms that the state’s accident numbers are at a 10 year high.
The Many Types of Trucks on the Road
In addition to big rigs, trucking accidents may involve a number of different large trucks, including:
- Dump trucks and garbage trucks. Both of these trucks frequent our roadways and suffer from large blind spots and limited views. Because they operate primarily within city limits and in heavily populated areas, accidents that involve these trucks usually involve significant property damage and pedestrian and bicycle injuries.
- Flatbed trucks. Flatbeds have open trailers, and when improperly loaded, spillage onto a busy highway can result in a multi-car accident with serious injuries to those involved.
- Tanker trucks. Tankers carry either liquid or gas, and the contents may be flammable and/or toxic. When tanker trucks are involved, even a minor accident can have devastating consequences.
Among the other types of large trucks that you may encounter on a daily basis are:
- Box trucks
- Cement trucks
- Delivery trucks
- Tow trucks
Truck driver errors cause a large percentage of trucking accidents. No matter what kind of truck caused your accident, the Robert Pahlke Law Group can help you seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Our legal team has over 80 years of combined experience, and we welcome the opportunity to discuss your eligibility for compensation. Contact us for help determining the cause of your accident, who should be held liable, and what types of compensation to seek.
Leading Causes of Trucking Accidents
Common truck driver errors that result in accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving
- Lack of experience
- Failure to obey traffic rules
- Poor judgment
It is common knowledge that the faster you are driving, the longer it will take you to stop. This fact is magnified when the vehicle is up to 80 feet long and weighs almost 80,000 pounds. The heavier an 18-wheeler is, the longer it takes for it to come to a complete stop; the longer it takes to stop, the greater the capacity for danger and destruction. Even a slight distraction on the part of a truck driver can result in serious loss of life.
Passenger Car Errors
Truckers are not solely responsible for roadway accidents. Drivers of passenger cars can also contribute to collisions in the following ways:
- Driving in a truck driver’s blind spot
- Performing illegal maneuvers
- Texting while driving
- Following too closely
- Cutting off a truck
- Driving while intoxicated
Loading or Cargo Errors
By definition, accidents are unintentional and unplanned; they are often neither predictable nor preventable. The logistics of moving thousands of pounds of cargo can be complicated and thus must be precise. Improper loading—such as unsecured boxes, crates, or barrels—can cause a sudden shift in weight significant enough to cause a truck driver to lose control of his or her rig.
Federal regulations require commercial trucking companies to inspect, repair, and maintain vehicles on a regular basis, as well as to keep on file a truck’s inspection and repair reports for the past 30 days. Trucking companies may be found responsible for a crash if they:
- Fail to properly train drivers
- Impose unrealistic time constraints on drivers
- Encourage or allow drivers to violate hours of service limitations
- Fail to inspect or maintain their vehicles
- Fail to thoroughly vet new hires
Truck Maintenance Regulations
Manufacturer errors and design defects can also contribute to trucking accidents. When trucks have defective automotive parts and travel on open highways, serious accidents can occur. If parts of a truck are found to be defectively designed or manufactured, and they fail in transit, the manufacturer of the parts may be held liable. The most common types of vehicle defects seen in accidents include:
- Defective tires
- Powertrain failures
- Suspension problems
- Steering issues
- Faulty brakes
Types of Truck Accidents
If you have sustained a serious injury in a truck accident, understanding the different types of accidents and how they happen is extremely important when moving through the legal process and attempting to hold the right parties accountable. Due to sheer size alone, large trucks can cause considerable property damage and inflict catastrophic injury on a number of innocent victims. Knowing the various types of truck accidents will give you a better understanding of how they may occur. Below we discuss some of the most common types of truck accidents:
Rear-end collisions. When a large truck is unable to stop in a timely manner, rear-end crashes may occur. When a heavy truck plows into the back of a passenger vehicle, serious property damage and injury are likely. The Robert Pahlke Law Group previously represented a man who suffered a severe injury after a speeding tractor-trailer rear-ended his vehicle. The jury awarded him $3,250,000 in damages.
Jackknife crashes. When a truck driver forcefully slams the brakes, his truck’s drive axle may lock and cause the trailer to skid and stop at a 90-degree angle to the tractor. When this happens, drivers lose control of their vehicles and serious accidents may occur.
Truck rollovers. Rollovers can occur:
- After losing control of a rig
- Following a jackknife crash
- While driving at high speeds
- When taking a corner too fast
- After hitting a curb or object in the road
- When attempting to correct a drifting trailer
Underride accidents. One of the deadliest types of accidents, underrides occur when a truck stops suddenly, and a car that is following too close behind rear-ends the truck and gets lodged under the trailer. This can happen because the height of the trailer often allows a car to slide underneath. The roof of the car can even be sheared off. This type of accident frequently results in fatalities. Although federal law mandates underride guards, faulty or improperly maintained guards contribute to these dangerous situations.
Head-on collisions. When truckers are distracted, fatigued, or experiencing a medical emergency, crossing over into oncoming traffic can cause head-on collisions, which often have deadly consequences.
Lost load wrecks. When unsecured or unbalanced cargo falls from a truck in transit, it poses an immediate danger to vehicles hit by it, as well as to drivers trying to avoid it.
Blind spot accidents. It is possible that, due to large blind spots, a trucker may not see a passenger vehicle as he or she attempts to change lanes.
Wide-turn collisions. Truck drivers may swing to the left to make a sharp right turn. This action can pose a danger to smaller vehicles in their path.
Tire blowouts. A tire blowout on a large, heavy vehicle can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Blowouts can happen when tire maintenance is not a priority and when treads are dangerously worn.
T-bone accidents. Also known as side-impact crashes, T-bone accidents usually occur when a commercial truck runs a red light and strikes the side of another vehicle.
Bridge strikes. Some trucks are too tall to fit under bridges, overpasses, and other structures that cross roadways. If a driver does not pay attention to the height of a truck and the clearance of upcoming obstacles, the truck can collide with the structure and cause a serious accident and significant property damage.
At the Robert Pahlke Law Group, our Nebraska truck accident attorneys understand what causes trucking accidents. No matter what kind of truck accident you are involved in, we can help you seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. We have years of experience and welcome the chance to fight to protect your legal rights.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Law Firm
If you have been involved in a truck accident and want to seek compensation for your injuries, the first step is to investigate the situation to determine who is at fault. If the trucker is responsible for the collision, you have a right to seek financial compensation for everything from your medical expenses and lost income to the pain and suffering that you have been forced to endure.
While it only takes a few moments for a negligent truck driver to change your life forever, navigating the complex legal system requires significant time. Our firm is tenacious; when you retain us, you have counsel you can trust to stay the course and fight to protect your rights.
Contact the Robert Pahlke Law Group for the help that you need to recover, both physically and financially. Our Nebraska truck accident attorneys know where to look for evidence to prove that the truck driver caused your accident. We represent individuals who have been hurt in truck accidents across Nebraska.
Our comprehensive experience and understanding of the legal nuances involved in these matters allow us to take a proactive approach to your case. We understand the types of injuries involved in truck accidents, and we know what amount of compensation to seek based on your injuries. We cannot guarantee a favorable result in your case, but we can promise to do our best to seek compensation for the full cost of your injuries. We would consider it a privilege to guide you and your family through this challenging time. Call the Robert Pahlke Law Group today at (308) 633-4444, or contact us online, to speak to one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.