Truck accidents are as terrifying as it sounds. The US experiences a massive death toll on highways each year for various reasons. The numbers paint a grim story.
According to data from the California Highway Patrol, there were over 2,000 truck accidents in Bakersfield in 2021. Of these, 84 resulted in fatalities, and 1,647 resulted in injury. Approximately 45% of collisions occurred on highways and 26% on two-lane roads. Drivers aged 31-40 accounted for 17% of truck crash fatalities during this period.
Given the complexity of the design and their massive size, truck accidents are considered under six categories.
Trucks and tractors have a higher center of gravity than ordinary vehicles, so when they take a turn too tightly or quickly, they can cause a potentially-fatal accident. Overloaded or badly loaded cargo can make that center of gravity even more unbalanced. Rollovers often occur due to negligence or intoxication, but in many cases, employers are at fault.
If a fleet manager forces employees to keep unreasonable work hours, their drivers will be too exhausted to drive safely. For that reason, personal injury cases often hold fleet managers liable for compensation. If a customer advocacy agent doesn’t address your injuries via company insurance, immediately contact an attorney, like Bakersfield truck accident lawyer Mickey Fine who can help you navigate a complex legal situation.
Jack Knife Accidents
Jack knife accidents occur when the force of a braking maneuver causes a trailer to skid and swing too far from the truck. They often push other vehicles across the road and into traffic, so they’re unpredictable and potentially catastrophic. Most jack-knife collisions are caused by over-enthusiastic braking, but sharp turns can cause uncontrolled rolling. Wet roads only worsen the problem. This issue often causes multi-car pile-ups.
Rear End Collisions
The size difference between passenger cars and commercial trucks is significant, so the damage can be severe when a truck rear-ends a smaller car. Trucks are heavy and unreactive, so they need more time to reach a complete standstill. If the driver is speeding or failing to maintain a safe following distance, they could be liable for the damage. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has explicitly defined the correct following distances for commercial vehicles, so negligence is often easy to prove.
Side Impact Collisions
T-bone collisions happen when a truck ignores a red light or violates the right-of-way, which is expected at intersections. Exhaustion and drunk driving can play a role in causing them. They wreak the most damage at the point of impact. If the turning driver caused the collision, they could be held responsible, but if the driver was distracted due to an overloaded schedule or expedited deadline, their employer might be at fault.
Sideswipe accidents occur when cars collide while traveling side by side. Trucks have several important blind spots, and a side swipe can occur when a driver fails to check them properly. Blowouts, gales, and rain can increase the risk and complicate your personal injury case. You can’t sue Mother Nature for heavy wind, but you can sue a tire manufacturer for selling a hazardous product.
Side swipes can cause whiplash, spine injuries, and neck problems. Damage isn’t always quick to present symptoms, but statutes of limitation are between two and four years in most states. This allows you to clarify your medical diagnosis before opening a case.
Wide Turn Collisions
Wide-turning trucks only cross into oncoming traffic due to carelessness or lack of diligence. They occur when a driver:
- Turns too late.
- It drives down a road that’s too narrow.
- Fails to indicate.
- Fails to check their mirrors and windows.
- Fails to keep the trailer in the center of its lane.
- Enters a lane too fast.
- Reverses to finish a turn.
- Is intoxicated.
- Is exhausted.
Wide turns can cause head-on collisions and sideswipes. They can also shove the passenger car underneath a trailer or cause a rollover accident. This collision usually involves heavy impact, so broken bones and soft tissue damage are common.
Truck collisions frequently cause more severe injuries than crashes with a passenger vehicle. For this reason, it’s important to seek compensation to cover your medical costs, lost work hours, and suffering. A personal injury lawyer can help you to address your damages.