Their incredible weight and nearly unstoppable momentum make trucks one of the greatest dangers on the road. All it takes is one false move from a driver to endanger the lives of everyone around them — including you.
What causes truck accidents? Often, an accident is the fault of the truck driver, while sometimes it is a result of negligence by the trucking company. The most common causes of large truck accidents include:
- Driver error, such as failure to yield, to follow the rules of the road, or to reduce speed
- Distracted driving, often as a result of the improper use of electronics
- Drowsy driving or driver fatigue, often as a result of spending too many hours on the road
- Impaired driving due to alcohol, drug, or substance use
- Mechanical issues caused by a defect in the truck as a result of the negligence of the truck manufacturer
- Improper or insufficient maintenance of the truck, usually as a result of the trucking company’s failure to monitor and manage its fleet
- Improper or insufficient training and supervision of the driver, as a result of the trucking company’s negligence
Common Types of Truck Accidents
There are many possible different types of truck accidents; the following are just a few of common causes of commercial truck accidents:
- Rollover accidents. These involve the commercial vehicle tipping over into its side or roof. A commercial vehicle that rolls over on the highway can cause serious damage to pedestrians and other vehicles in the area. These accidents have a higher rate of fatality than others.
- Jackknife accidents. These involve the folding of a tractor-trailer into itself: much like a jackknife. They often occur when the vehicle skids but its attached trailer does not stop or slow down. In many cases, this causes the truck to spin horizontally, making other vehicles unable to stop from hitting it.
- Swinging Turn accidents. These occur often, as large trucks typically have to swing wide to the left when preparing for a right-hand turn. Sometimes, other vehicles crash into the truck while attempting to drive around it, resulting in a crash.
- Blindspot accidents. These occur when a truck driver neglects to check their blind spot while making a move, crushing other vehicles that are in these zones at the wrong time.
- Underride and override accidents. These involve smaller vehicles that become trapped underneath a commercial truck by slamming into the truck’s rear (underride accident) or by getting hit by a runaway truck (override accident).
- Tire blowouts. These accidents happen as a result of a rapid loss of inflation pressure of a pneumatic tire. They often occur abruptly, most often as a result of an object cutting or tearing the structural components of the tire. A tire blowout can cause a truck driver to lose control of the vehicle without warning.
- Lost or flyaway freight. Commercial trucks that lose their freight while in motion can cause a serious accident resulting in severe injuries.
Common Injuries Resulting from Truck Accidents
Why are trucking accidents a serious issue? The sheer weight and size of commercial vehicles mean that victims can suffer severe injuries when they are in a truck accident. Large trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, making them as much as 20 to 30 times heavier than cars. Drivers and passengers in smaller cars often absorb most of the impact of the accident, making for severe injuries in many cases.
Common injuries in truck accidents include the following:
- Head injuries, such as concussions and traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones, abrasions, and sometimes the loss of limbs or digits
- Severe back and spinal cord injuries, potentially even paralysis
- Whiplash and soft tissue injuries
- Wrongful death
Recovering for Your Injuries in a Truck Accident
Truck accident cases can be complicated by the need to sue several parties — for example, if both the driver and the trucking company were negligent, you may need to name both of them in your claim. Generally, to recover from your injuries in a truck accident, you will need to state a claim for negligence. This means that you will need to prove that the truck driver, trucking company, or both owed a duty of reasonable care on the road and beaches that duty to you during the accident. You will also need to prove that your injuries and damages were directly caused by that breach.
In a negligence case, you may recover from your economic damages — also called special damages — which are easy to quantify. They include your hospital and medical bills, mechanic’s bills, any wages you may have lost as a result of being unable to work, and other out-of-pocket costs you have incurred as a result of your accident. You may also recover general damages, which are more difficult to ascertain and include amounts for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and the loss of enjoyment of your usual activities as a result of the crash, among other categories.
How Can Johnson Garcia Help?
Johnson Garcia, based in Houston, Texas, has years of experience in helping victims of large truck and 18-wheeler accidents obtain sizable settlements, and we have earned a reputation as one of the leading personal injury law firms serving Houston, TX, and neighboring communities. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident caused by the negligence of another party, please contact the Houston-based legal team at Johnson Garcia. We can be reached by phone at 832-844-6700. Your initial consultation is free.