Truck wreck cases differ greatly from regular car accident cases in terms of injury claims. Given the sheer size and weight of tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and similar large vehicles, one can expect catastrophic injuries that are far more costly than the common traffic injuries. In addition, most of the large trucks we encounter on the road today are commercial vehicles, so it is typical for trucking companies and other parties to be involved in a truck injury claim.
For most truck accident victims and their families, fighting for compensation can be an uphill battle. If you hope to be fairly compensated for your truck injuries or for your loved one’s wrongful death, you need an effective and experienced attorney on your side. In Southern California, talk to us at Barrios & Machado. We have routinely helped obtain favorable settlements for injured people in Orange County and surrounding areas. Call us today at (714) 515-9696.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Determining what caused a crash is critical to an injury case. This determination establishes fault from perhaps multiple parties. Knowing who is at-fault then leads to properly assessing the damages each party is responsible for. Let’s back up. These are some of the most common reasons behind large truck accidents:
- Lack of driver experience or training. Unlike driving a passenger car, it takes specific training and experience to safely operate a massive cargo vehicle. The law requires adequate trucking education and training hours for drivers before they get behind the wheel. Many trucking companies disregard these criteria, hiring unqualified drivers or those not been vetted sufficiently.
- Poor driving behavior. As dangerous as it is, there are still plenty of driving violations committed by truckers. These include distracted driving, speeding, and driving while intoxicated.
- Driver fatigue. Commercial truck drivers are on the road for long hours, trying to stick to a schedule. Federal and state laws require adequate rest breaks, but many truckers still drive despite being overworked. If a truck driver is found to have been tired, drowsy, or fatigued at the wheel, the trucking company may also be held responsible for any violation of hours-of-service rules.
- Overloading or improper loading. The transport industry has standards for loading and securing freight in a truck. If a trailer carries cargo that exceeds its weight limit or is improperly secured, the truck could easily lose balance, leading to an accident like jack-knifing and rollover. Loose cargo could further scatter as hazardous debris on the road or hit oncoming vehicles.
- Malfunctioning vehicle parts. Brake failures, blown tires, and detached wheels are some dangerous yet common problems involving truck parts. In such cases, there are various parties that could be investigated: the transport company may have neglected their vehicle maintenance, a truck repair shop may have taken shortcuts in their servicing, or a truck part manufacturer may have produced a defective product.
Types of Large Truck Crashes
Pinpointing the cause of a truck wreck and determining fault is challenging, but competent investigators and attorneys know where to look. For one, the type of crash tells us much about why and how it occurred. Take a look at these common truck accident types and how they happen:
- Rear-end collision. Truck rear-ending is when the front part of a large truck hits the back of your car. This crash type is common at stop signs, red lights, and slow-moving traffic. Most likely, the truck was following you too closely, traveling too fast, or operated by a distracted driver.
- Head-on collision. This is when the front parts of two vehicles smashes into each other. Usually, this involves at least one driver on the wrong lane, running towards oncoming traffic. That could be because they were speeding, distracted, having vehicle malfunction, or losing control of the vehicle due to road conditions.
- Jack-knifing. The term “jack-knife” refers to how the trailer of a semi-truck swerves towards its tractor, like how a pocketknife folds into itself. A common cause of this is braking too hard or too suddenly, causing the tractor to stop while the momentum of the trailer (behind the tractor) causes it to keep moving. Another reason is “fish-tailing” or the side-to-side swerving of the trailer due to lack of traction (such as on slippery roads).
- Big rigs are much taller than regular cars, their higher center of gravity leaving them prone to tipping to one side and rolling. A truck is particularly at risk of rolling over if it is traveling too fast at a curve or losing its balance due to shifting cargo.
- Intersection collision. Large trucks can’t stop instantaneously – they take longer to brake and need more space to make a turn. If a truck driver drives too fast, fails to yield, is distracted, or is driving impaired at an intersection, they may run out of time and space to avoid other vehicles.
- A truck’s massive size causes it to have large blind spots. A trucker may not be able to see you while they try to change lanes or make a turn. Some transport companies have updated their fleet with equipment like cameras to reduce these blind spots, but it still takes a skilled truck driver to maneuver their vehicle without hitting anybody.
No matter how complicated your truck accident case looks, we at Barrios & Machado will thoroughly examine it. This, combined with our tenacious representation against large companies, has enabled us to obtain just settlements for individuals and families who have suffered from severe accidents across Southern California.
Free Consultation with Barrios & Machado
Your initial consultation with us is absolutely free and confidential. Talk to us about your accident injury or your loved one’s wrongful death. Call or text us today at (714) 515-9696.