Every year thousands of people experience trucking-related accidents. According to the US Department of Transportation, almost 400,000 accidents take place each year involving commercial trucks. Of those accidents, over 75,000 resulted in injury, and almost 5,000 were fatal. Approximately 300,000 accidents resulted in the damage of property only. While only a small portion of all vehicle accidents–there are approximately 6 million accidents every year—are trucking accidents, they are still a risk in everyday travel.
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Common Types of Truck Accidents
The most common types of truck accidents include head-on collisions, jackknife, overrides and under-rides, rear-end collisions, and rollovers. A head-on collision is when a truck strikes another vehicle coming at it from the opposite direction. An override or under-ride is an accident involving a car stuck underneath the truck. A jackknife is when the trailer of a truck skids separately from the cab. When this happens, the trailer can hit another car in the next lane and possibly drag it. Rollovers involve a truck flipping and rolling, possibly onto another vehicle, while rear-end collisions involve a truck hitting the car from behind.
Common Types of Truck Injuries
Injuries from truck accidents tend to be more severe due to the size and weight of commercial trucks. Many truck accidents result in near-fatal or fatal injuries. Head and brain trauma, spinal cord injuries, amputations, and internal bleeding are all common injuries. Under-ride and override accidents are the most likely to cause fatal injuries or severe brain or spine trauma, often leading to permanent damage or paralysis.
Who is at fault?
The majority of trucking accidents are caused by truck drivers; however, many other factors can play a role in deciding who is at fault for an accident. The truck driver’s employer may be to blame for creating unhealthy or unsafe working requirements, such as scheduling drivers to be on the road for too many hours per day. The truck manufacturer or repair facility may be to blame if a faulty part caused the accident. The individuals who loaded the truck can be at fault if the cargo created a weight imbalance that created a problem. Of course, the driver is certainly to blame if under the influence or driving dangerously.
Safety and Prevention
Taking some precautions on the road can help lower the risk of a truck related accident. Be mindful of potential blind spots a truck may have. Typically if you can see a truck’s mirror they can see you, though this may not always be the case. Avoid getting in the way of a truck making a turn. Trucks need wider spaces than cars to make turns and therefore run the risk of hitting cars in the process. Also try to avoid being in front of a truck in rush hour traffic or at stoplights due to a longer stop time.
When to Contact a Lawyer
Determining if your accident requires legal action is sometimes a tough decision. It may be very clear that some accidents require legal action, such as with clearly identifiable negligence by one or more parties. If you are unsure of who is as fault or want to talk through the logistics of the accident to sort through the factors involved, it is a good idea to seek immediate legal assistance.
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