Tractor trailers and other heavy trucks can cause serious injuries when they are involved in accidents with other vehicles. Some of the most common types of truck accidents include:
- Head-on collision. In about 30 percent of fatal collisions involving a large truck and another type of vehicle, both vehicles are hit in the front, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Head-on collisions most often occur when one vehicle crosses the centerline. This is often due to impairment, such as drunk driving, distracted driving or fatigued driving.
- Under-ride. Passenger vehicles that hit a commercial truck from behind are subject to under-ride because of the height of the truck and its under-ride guard, which federal regulations require on commercial trucks. Under-ride can occur from the side of a trailer as well. When a car slides under a trailer in an accident, it may damage or even sheer off the upper portion of the vehicle. Anyone sitting upright may be seriously hurt. An NHTSA report said some amount of under-ride occurred in 70 percent of fatal crashes involving passenger vehicles and commercial trucks.
- Sideswipe. If a truck driver loses control of his or her vehicle, it may skid (slide) and yaw (trailer or cab rotate from normal position), which can cause a sideswipe accident. Improper turns or lane changes may also result in a truck sideswiping another vehicle.
- Jackknife. When the cab and trailer of a large truck yaw, or slide toward one another like a folding pocketknife, the resulting accident is called a “jackknife.” Drivers can jackknife their rigs by slamming on brakes, going too fast for weather conditions (snow, ice, rain) or in a sharp turn, or because of a cargo shift. An out-of-control, jackknifing tractor trailer threatens anything in its path. It’s not uncommon to find a jackknifed tractor-trailer at the head of an interstate pileup.
- Rollover. Large trucks have a high center of gravity that increases their risk of rolling over, particularly on curves or because of a cargo shift. More than half of the deaths among truck drivers and their passengers occur in rollover crashes, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) says.
- Cargo shifts. The cargo loaded onto a truck must be properly secured to ensure that it does not move around. A sudden cargo shift can make a truck driver lose control of the vehicle, tip the truck or cause it to roll over.
- Bridge strikes. Trucks run into highway overpasses that are too low when truckers are not familiar with the routes they are taking or are not paying attention to road signs, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says. Bridge strikes can cause injury and death, damage infrastructure, interrupt commerce and impede travel.
- Cargo spills. Cargo that spills because it is loaded improperly or because it is dislodged in any type of truck accident may damage property and injure people. Heavy material falling from a truck can also cause other vehicles to crash. Hazardous material spills can cause significant environmental damage as well as serious personal injuries.
Hurt in a Truck Crash? Get Help from an Attorney in Yakima
Truck accidents of all types can be complicated. Because they often involve lots of money, they may quickly bring out trucking company lawyers who work hard to protect the trucking company at the accident victims’ expense.
You must act quickly and decisively if you’ve been injured in a truck accident. Contact the Mariano Morales Law Firm by phone now or use our online contact form. Your initial consultation is free of charge.