With accidents involving massive commercial trucks, there is rarely such a thing as a minor fender-bender. In fact, truck accidents often cause major property damage, devastating injuries, and tragic fatalities. Usually it is the occupants of the passenger vehicle involved in the accident that suffer the most severe injuries, if they are lucky enough to survive the crash. Truck drivers must operate their vehicle safely and use extra caution when sharing the road with passenger vehicles. However, motorists are also responsible for taking appropriate safety precautions when driving in the vicinity of a large truck. If a motorist is seriously injured in a truck accident, a skilled truck accident lawyer can determine who is responsible for causing the accident and assist the victim with the claims process.
What Types of Trucks Are on the Roads?
Besides large commercial trucks, delivery trucks, and tow trucks, the following are examples of other types of trucks that share the road with motorists:
- Dump truck and garbage trucks: These are generally driven within city limits and in heavily populated areas. They have large blind spots and limited views, which can increase the risk of accidents if other vehicles are traveling too close. If these trucks are involved in an accident, they often cause significant property damage and serious injuries, particularly if bicyclists or pedestrians are involved.
- Flatbed trucks: These trucks have open trailers; therefore, if the cargo is not secure, it can spill out onto a busy highway. This can cause a multi-vehicle accident involving serious injuries.
- Tanker trucks: These big rigs often carry liquid or gas, which can be flammable or toxic. Accidents involving tanker trucks can be particularly devastating if the contents of the tanks spill onto the road, exposing motorists to hazardous material.
What Are the Leading Causes of Truck Accidents?
The most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Drowsy driving: Truck drivers are under a great deal of pressure to meet tight delivery deadlines. Often, that means driving long distances with few breaks and little to no rest. Despite the hours-of-service laws that truck drivers must follow, many drivers work around these regulations and continue driving, even when exhausted. Drowsy driving-related truck accidents can cause devastating accidents.
- Distracted driving: This is a serious problem among all drivers. However, when a truck driver is distracted by a text or a phone call, the results can be far more serious.
- Impaired driving: Studies show that approximately half of truck drivers drink alcohol, 30 percent take amphetamines, and 20 percent use marijuana while on the job. Some drivers say that certain drugs help them stay awake, but they are also more likely to drive too fast, make unsafe lane changes, and unsafe maneuvers during inclement weather. In addition, as the drugs wear off, drivers are more likely to become drowsy.
- Speeding: Speeding is also common among truck drivers under pressure to meet tight deadlines. Unfortunately, a massive commercial truck traveling at a high speed can cause devastating accidents when other vehicles are in the vicinity.
- Inadequate training and poor maintenance: When truck drivers are not properly trained and their vehicles are not well maintained, there is an increased risk for serious accidents. Training ensures that drivers are better able to safely operate their truck and allows truckers to learn how to adjust their driving based on weather conditions, traffic, and other factors. It is also imperative that trucks are inspected regularly and that all repairs are made as soon as possible.
What Are the Different Types of Truck Accidents?
The sheer size and weight of the average truck mean that truck accidents are often serious. Victims of truck accidents rarely walk away without a scratch. Understanding the common truck accidents and what causes them can help motorists take steps to avoid them. The following are some of the most common truck accidents:
- Rear-end collisions: Large trucks require significant road space to come to a complete stop, particularly if road conditions are not ideal. When a truck cannot slow down or stop in enough time to avoid hitting another vehicle, the truck can strike a car from behind. These accidents can be devastating, particularly if the truck is traveling at a high speed.
- Jackknife accidents: When a truck driver slams the brakes, the trailer can skid and stop at a 90-degree angle to the tractor. If there are other motorists in the vicinity of the truck when this happens, it can cause devastating injuries.
- Truck rollovers: The following can cause a truck to rollover:
– The truck driver loses control of the vehicle.
– A jackknife accident causes a truck rollover.
– The truck driver is speeding and tries to slow down or turn too quickly.
– The truck hits a curb or another object on the road, causing the driver to lose control.
– The truck driver fails to correct a drifting trailer.
- Underride accidents: This is one of the deadliest types of truck accidents because it involves a passenger vehicle sliding underneath the trailer, causing the roof of the car to be sheared off. Sadly, these accidents often result in fatalities.
- Head-on collisions: This is another example of a truck accident that often has fatal consequences. They can occur if a truck driver is distracted, drowsy, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Unsecured cargo: If a truck’s cargo is not properly secured, it can fall off the truck. When other vehicles are in the vicinity, the cargo can hit those vehicles or cause them to veer into other lanes to avoid it.
- Tire blowouts: These tend to happen when a truck is not properly maintained, and the tire tread becomes worn. Tire blowouts can cause the truck driver to lose control of the vehicle.
What Types of Injuries Do Truck Accidents Cause?
Unfortunately, when a passenger vehicle is involved in a truck accident of any kind, the occupants of the passenger vehicle suffer serious, often fatal injuries. The following are examples of common truck accident injuries:
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and brain injuries
- Organ damage
- Cuts and lacerations
What Can I Do to Avoid a Truck Accident?
When drivers share the road with a large commercial truck, these tips can help avoid a devastating collision with a commercial truck:
- Avoid driving in the truck’s blind spots: Drivers should know a truck’s blind spots, which include:
– Directly in front of the cab
– Behind the truck driver’s window
– On the right side of the truck
– Directly behind the driver
- Do not tailgate: Following too closely can cause a serious rear-end accident if the truck must brake suddenly.
- Do not cut off a truck: This can cause the truck driver to slam on the brakes, which can result in a jackknife accident, a rollover accident, or other serious truck accidents.
- Avoid distractions: Motorists should never talk on the phone or text while driving, particularly when driving near a large truck.
- Do not drive drunk or impaired: Drugs and alcohol can affect a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. These substances impair coordination, and impaired drivers are more likely to speed and engage in other unsafe driving behavior.
What Should I Do If I Am in a Truck Accident?
The most important thing to do after a truck accident is to call 911 so dispatch can send police and emergency medical technicians to provide immediate medical attention. Even if a motorist is not severely injured, it is highly recommended that he or she seek medical attention to rule out injuries that may not appear right away, including head injuries and internal bleeding. If the drivers involved are physically able to do so and they are out of harm’s way, they should exchange contact and insurance information, as well as the truck driver’s employer and trucking company. If he or she is able, the driver should also take pictures of the accident scene, as this can provide important evidence about how the accident happened and who is at fault. Finally, if a motorist is injured in a truck accident, he or she is urged to contact an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyers at ACTS Law Represent Victims of Tragic Truck Accidents
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a truck accident, please contact the Los Angeles truck accident lawyers at ACTS Law. We understand how devastating these accidents can be, and the life-threatening injuries they can cause. Our dedicated legal team will ensure that you receive the financial compensation you deserve for the injuries you sustained. We will work tirelessly to protect your rights throughout the entire claims process. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 833-ACTS-LAW or contact us online.
With offices in San Diego and Los Angeles, we proudly serve clients throughout Southern California.