Truck Accidents: Causes, Types, and Injuries
Jim Adler | The Tough, Smart Lawyer

Truck accidents are scary and often devastating events for those involved. Going to doctor visits, losing time from work, helping injured family members and worrying about how you are going to be able to pay for everything is enough to make anyone feel completely overwhelmed.

Truck accident victims in Texas (and other states) have the right to take legal action and seek payment from the at-fault party in the crash. Trucks are often insured for millions of dollars, but insurance companies will try to pay out the lowest possible amount to crash victims. After an accident with an 18-wheeler, choosing an attorney to represent you might not be the first thing on your mind. But understanding complex Texas and federal laws and investigating all the potentially liable parties is too difficult for an inexperienced attorney.

Hiring a lawyer like Jim Adler is the best way you’ll be able to negotiate for the maximum settlement you need. We can help manage your out-of-pocket expenses and future costs for injuries and other losses.

At any one of Jim Adler & Associates’ offices in Houston, Dallas or San Antonio, our lawyers have decades of experience handling truck accident cases and have helped thousands of clients get the maximum compensation for their losses. Remember, we don’t get paid unless you get paid. Fill out our free online form or call us today at 1-800-505-1414.

How often do truck drivers get into accidents?

Truck accidents often result in devastating injuries, or even death, because of the simple fact that trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds – that’s twenty to thirty times what a typical car might weigh (4,000 pounds). And unfortunately, truck accidents are on the rise.

With over fifteen million commercial trucks operating in the US at any given time and an estimated 3.5 million truck drivers – there are plenty of opportunities for crashes. According to the most recent data from the federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – large truck crashes increased ten percent between 2016 and 2017, from 4,251 to 4,657 accidents. The numbers of large trucks involved in fatal accidents also increased six percent – in 2017 alone, over 4,000 people died in crashes with big trucks.

A big part of the reason that trucking accidents are on the uptick is because drivers are usually paid by the mile and are taking on more frequent trips, at faster speeds, with less time in between to rest from days or even weeks on the road. In fact, overworked drivers on their phones, zoning out or dozing off at the wheel are some of the main causes of commercial trucking accidents. Big rigs are also larger and harder to maneuver than regular cars – so they’re inherently dangerous vehicles and drivers have to follow different rules and regulations.

What are the main causes of truck accidents?

Again, because of the sheer size and weight of an 18-wheeler, these trucks can take up to 40 percent longer to stop than the average car. If roads are slippery – that makes for even slower braking times. Each tractor-trailer accident is different, but other common causes of trucking accidents include:

  • An overworked driver: Because drivers are paid by the mile, they might drive too fast for too long and too frequently. A phenomenon called “highway hypnosis” is when drivers who have been working long hours on the road can be slow to react at the wheel.
  • The truck driver isn’t paying attention: Cellphone use while driving is one of the main causes of both truck and automobile accidents.
  • Poorly or under-trained drivers
  • The truck driver is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Speeding
  • Cargo loaded wrong or over the weight limit
  • Poorly maintained equipment or equipment failure
  • The driver has sleep apnea

What are the different types of truck accidents?

An accident with a dump truck, box truck or a big rig isn’t the same as a car accident. First, there’s a big size and weight difference between cars and large trucks. Second, in a crash with a tractor-trailer the claim is hardly ever made only against the truck driver. Claims are often brought against multiple parties, including the company that owns or leases the truck, the company that loaded the cargo, or the company responsible for equipment maintenance. All this makes getting fair compensation nearly impossible without an attorney.

You may have heard some of the names of the following types of commercial truck accidents on the news:

  • Head-on collisions: This is where a tractor trailer driver is either distracted or sleepy and drives head on into oncoming traffic. These types of accidents are often deadly.
  • T-Bone: This is where a truck runs a red light or stop sign and hits a traveling car on its side – like at “T”.
  • Wide turn (swinging turn): Most of us have seen a tractor-trailer driver try to make a tight right-hand turn and couldn’t do it in one movement. Sometimes, drivers do a “wide turn” and turn their trucks to the left before they begin to make the right-hand turn. If a driver doesn’t look as well as he should, he may hit another car in the process.
  • Jackknife: A jackknife is where a truck driver breaks fast and the trailer swings outward in a 90-degree angle from the cab of the truck.
  • Truck rollover: a rollover is when a driver loses control of the vehicle and the truck rolls over multiple times or onto its side. These types of accidents usually damage other cars on the road and hurt drivers as the truck rolls.
  • Blind spots: All cars have blind spots, but a tractor-trailer can have much bigger blind spots. When a truck driver can’t see other cars and changes lanes, nearby vehicles can be hit or even run off the road.
  • Tire blowout: When a tire blows out on a commercial truck the driver might lose control because of a lack of traction. Also, pieces of the tire may impact other vehicles, which causes other drivers to lose control or swerve to avoid the flying pieces of rubber.
  • Rear-end: Rear-end collisions can have many different causes. The truck driver might have been looking down at his phone and didn’t have enough time to break without crashing into the car in front. The truck driver might have been speeding or following another car too closely and couldn’t slow down fast enough to avoid hitting the vehicle in front of it.
  • Under ride: This kind of accident is often deadly and happens when a vehicle slides under the trailer.
  • Lost load: If the trailer is improperly loaded and shifts during transport the cargo can fall off the trailer and cause serious injuries or death.

What are some common truck accident injuries?

Because of the size and weight of a tractor-trailer, injuries from crashes can be devastating and incredibly painful. Injuries to the head, spinal cord, shoulder, knee, and face are common.

Other severe injuries in big rig crashes might include:

  • Disfigurement, broken bones (stable, compound, oblique or transverse fractures), burns, lacerations, concussions, whiplash.
  • Amputation of a hand, arm, foot or leg
  • Paralysis can be full (quadriplegia) or partial (paraplegia)
  • Other truck accident injuries include: soft tissue sprains, strains and tears; herniations to the neck or back; internal organ injuries, including internal bleeding.
  • Death
There are also emotional and mental injuries that fall into a category of damages called “mental anguish.” These are highly unpleasant mental reactions such as: grief, fright, humiliation, insomnia, PTSD, etc. These reactions are another type of potential injury from the truck crash that you might be entitled to compensation for. Emotional distress is much harder to prove than a physical injury because it’s subjective and is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Only a highly experienced truck accident attorney will be able to make a case for damages from these types of injuries.

How do I get paid for my injuries after a truck accident?

Most victims of truck accidents are paid by the insurance company. You should hire an experienced 18-wheeler or truck accident attorney like Jim Adler who can help you negotiate the settlement you need. Such a settlement will help you pay your medical bills, lost wages, property damage as well as all the other physical, mental and emotional trauma you or a loved one might be going through as a result of an accident.

For decades, Jim Adler & Associates has been hammering insurance companies who try to take advantage of Texans injured in car and truck accidents. We’ve helped thousands of people recover the maximum compensation for medical bills, auto repairs, lost wages, and other damages. Best of all, we don’t charge upfront or by the hour: we get paid only if you get paid, and that money comes out of a favorable settlement or jury verdict, not your pocket.

We’re a family law firm, so let our family take care of your family. For a free legal consultation, fill out our free case review form or call 1-800-505-1414.
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