According to the Department of Transportation, there are approximately 500,000 accidents involving commercial trucks each year. Roughly 10% of these accidents result in one or more fatalities. In fact, a driver is 70% more likely to be killed in an accident involving a commercial truck than in an accident with another passenger vehicle. Most of the increase in fatality rates can be explained by the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks compared to the average passenger vehicle. Commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds while the average passenger car weighs only about 4,000 pounds.
Common Types of Truck Accidents
There are many different types of truck accidents that often vary depending on the truck driver, the trucking equipment, the incident that caused the accident, and the size of the truck.
Below are some of the most common types of truck accidents.
- Rollover Accidents – Rollover accidents are the most common type of truck accidents. Rollovers can be caused by a truck attempting to take a turn or round a curve in the road at dangerously high speeds. Additionally, a truck driver that tries to overcorrect a drifting trailer can cause the truck to rollover.
- Jackknife Accidents – Jackknife accidents occur when the cab of the truck ends up facing the opposite direction of the trailer. This is generally caused by the truck's axle brakes locking up, which leads to the trailer skidding out of control. However, equipment failure and dangerous road conditions (such as ice) can also cause a truck to jackknife.
- Tire Blowouts – Tire blowouts can be caused a number of ways. Improper maintenance, an overloaded trailer, tire defects, and poor road conditions can all cause a tire to blowout. Controlling the truck after one or more tires have blown out can be extremely difficult and often results in catastrophic accidents.
- Rear-End Collisions – Rear-end collisions happen when a truck crashes into the backside of another vehicle. This can be caused by malfunctioning or poorly maintained brakes, an overloaded trailer, or simple driver negligence such as being distracted by a cell phone, speeding, or tired driving.
- Underride Collisions – Underride collisions are when a smaller vehicle gets lodged underneath the trailer. This can occur by a truck driver slamming on the brakes, causing a following car to collide underneath the trailer. Of all types of truck accidents, underride collisions have the highest fatality rate.
- T-Bone Collisions – T-bone collisions occur when a truck crashes into the side panel of a vehicle. These occur most often when a truck or the other vehicle runs a red light or stop sign and crashes into a car that had the right-of-way.
- Lost Load Accidents – Lost load accidents are the result of improperly loaded trailers. Equipment that is not properly loaded or secured to the trailer can become dislodged during route and be scattered on the road behind the truck. This equipment becomes an immediate hazard to any vehicles following behind the truck. In some cases, a truck may be overloaded, leading to this type of accident.
Severity of Truck Accident Injuries
Most truck accidents result in injuries, though depending on the circumstances and type of accident, the injuries can range in severity.
Below are some common injuries suffered from involvement in a truck accident:
- Broken Bones – Bone fractures or breaks are a frequently sustained injury for victims of commercial truck accidents. The recovery time for a bone fracture or break depends on the severity of the injury and the age of the victim.
- Head & Neck Injuries – Truck accidents often cause victims to experience head and neck injuries such as whiplash, concussions, contusions, hematoma, or hemorrhaging in the brain. While some of these injuries may be immediately apparent, it is not uncommon for the effects of the injury to remain unnoticed until days or months after the accident.
- Spinal Cord Injuries – Spinal cord injuries are among the most severe injuries suffered in truck accidents. Depending on the severity of the impact and the location of the spinal cord damage, the injury can result in partial or complete paralysis.
- Lacerations – Cuts and other lacerations are another common injury after being involved in a truck accident. While some lacerations are minor injuries that do not require immediate medical attention, others may require hospitalization to stitch the laceration or repair any damage to tissue or organs.
- Amputations – In some cases, the injury sustained in a truck accident may require doctors to amputate one or more of the victim's limbs. Amputations have life-altering consequences and can require the victim to relearn how to perform even the most basic daily activities.
Getting Compensated for Your Injuries
If you were injured in a commercial truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. That means you may be able to secure financial recovery for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Because commercial truck accidents can be more complex than a typical passenger vehicle accident, you will likely want to consult with an experienced truck accident lawyer to determine the full value of your case. At Arnold & Itkin, we have won more than $1 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients and know how to take on major trucking companies.
Contact one of our truck accident lawyers today to learn how we can help you.