Causes of Truck Accidents

December 18, 2023 | David Abels
Causes of Truck Accidents

Truck accidents frequently result from negligent driving by a tractor-trailer operator. When a large vehicle that weighs many tons abruptly collides with a smaller passenger vehicle, it is almost always the vehicle occupants in the smaller vehicle who will suffer injuries in the crash.

Sometimes, the force of a collision may cause a part of the accident victim's body to make contact with a vehicle component, like the steering wheel or headrest, leading to severe injuries.

At other times, that accident force may eject a driver or passenger from their vehicle, causing them to suffer spinal cord damage, paralysis injuries, or even a fatality.

If you suffered injuries in a recent truck accident, you should get medical treatment as quickly as possible. Then, always consult a truck accident attorney near you. 

Your lawyer can promptly investigate the circumstances surrounding your truck accident and determine how the accident likely occurred. In this situation, negligent truck drivers cause serious truck accidents, but other times, the trucking companies that employ these individuals may cause or contribute to the accident. 

In either situation, your attorney can gather the appropriate documentation and submit a personal injury claim to the truck driver or trucking company's insurer on your behalf.

A knowledgeable Chicago truck accident attorney can also handle all litigation with insurance company representatives.

If the insurance company does not make you a favorable monetary settlement offer, your lawyer can review litigation options with you and, if necessary, file a lawsuit in the court system seeking financial recovery. 

Your attorney will be your advocate throughout every step of the claims-filing and litigation processes and will do everything they can to secure the favorable monetary damages you need for your injuries.

Injuries in a Truck Collision

The injuries that truck drivers and passengers may suffer in an accident are frequently severe and may cause the accident victim to remain incapacitated for a significant amount of time.

Collision of two large trucks due to illegal overtaking, resulting in material damages only, no human casualties.

In some situations, the accident victim may see their primary care doctor, while at other times, they might need treatment from a neurologist, orthopedic doctor, or other medical specialist.

If the accident victim suffered a bone fracture or similar serious injury, they may need one or more surgeries for the injuries they have suffered. Finally, after undergoing a serious medical procedure, an accident victim may need to attend regular physical therapy sessions.

Common injuries that truck accident victims frequently suffer include: 

While you focus on attending medical appointments and obtaining the prompt medical treatment that you need after your accident, a truck accident lawyer can start gathering evidence on your behalf.

Specifically, your lawyer may request copies of police reports, medical bills, and medical treatment records. Once your lawyer receives these documents, they can assemble them into a settlement demand package for the insurance company to analyze and review.

Why Local Truck Accidents Frequently Happen

Local truck accidents typically happen because truckers drive recklessly or carelessly.

Weary from work, an African American truck driver rests in the cabin during the day, taking a break with his vehicle.

One common cause of commercial truck accidents is fatigued driving. In many situations, the trucking companies that employ truck drivers offer drivers financial incentives to drive fast and deliver their cargo early. Therefore, many truck drivers will continue driving for hours on end without stopping to rest or sleep.

Truck drivers may exhibit erratic driving maneuvers or fall completely asleep at the wheel when they become fatigued. In the latter instance, they may lose control over their truck and bring about a serious accident.

Also, many truck drivers will resort to reckless driving and road rage to move ahead of other traffic. Common examples of road rage that truck drivers exhibit include weaving around slower-moving traffic without using a turn signal, tailgating other vehicles, excessive speeding, and aggressive horn honking.

When truck drivers are reckless, they may quickly lose control of the vehicle and bring about a serious accident.

Serious truck accidents may also occur when a driver operates their vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. Alcohol intoxication is particularly dangerous because alcohol can slow down the truck driver's nervous system’s functioning.

As a result, the driver may exhibit various physical and mental symptoms, including blurred vision, confusion, disorientation, dizziness, limited reflexes, delayed reaction time, poor judgment, and impaired muscular coordination.

As a result of these symptoms, a truck driver may be unable to react to an emergency in time to avoid a crash.

Also, when it comes to alcohol intoxication, the law holds truck drivers to a stricter legal standard than ordinary passenger drivers. While most passenger drivers are legally intoxicated if their blood alcohol concentration reaches at least 0.08 percent, a truck driver is intoxicated with a BAC of 0.04 percent.

If a truck driver incurs a conviction for DUI or some other drunk-driving offense, they may face various criminal penalties, along with potential loss of their CDL. Additionally, if they cause an accident that leads to physical injuries, they may have to pay civil compensation through their insurance coverage.

Truck accidents also frequently occur when drivers violate standard traffic laws that apply to all vehicle drivers.

For example, a truck driver may exceed the posted speed limit, fail to use their turn signals, refrain from using their mirrors, or fail to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles, for instance, at traffic intersections.

A truck driver or trucking company may also cause accidents when they violate state or federal motor carrier regulations.

Some most common violations that lead to serious truck accidents include failing to properly secure cargo onto the bed of a truck, failing to follow weight limits, failing to properly inspect the truck before heading out on a trip, and ensuring that all lighting functions are in working order, and failing to properly load cargo onto the truck.

When a trucking company employee or truck driver does not load cargo onto a truck correctly, the vehicle's center of balance may be affected, causing the truck to roll over while in motion.

Additionally, if a trucking company employee or truck driver fails to properly fasten cargo to the truck bed, the load may roll off the truck into the middle of the road. As a result, oncoming vehicles may collide with the cargo, causing severe accidents and injuries.

Finally, some truck accidents occur when drivers fail to observe the road. For example, instead of watching the road and regularly looking into their mirrors, a truck driver might pay attention to GPS, text, or fail to use hands-free calling.

If a driver loses focus or takes their eyes off the road, even for a relatively short time, they may not see an approaching vehicle or a nearby pedestrian, thereby bringing about a serious collision.

If you suffered injuries in a truck accident that a negligent truck driver or trucking company caused, you are not alone. A truck accident attorney near you can investigate and analyze your circumstances and determine your available legal options.

Your attorney can then file a personal injury claim with the appropriate insurance company and begin securing the financial compensation you need for your losses.

Trucking Company Liability for a Truck Accident

In addition to negligent truck drivers, the trucking companies that employ these drivers may also share in some or all of the responsibility for an accident.

First, trucking companies have a duty to supervise their employee drivers regularly and ensure that they receive the training necessary to comply with their licensing requirements. Trucking companies also must follow all applicable state and federal motor carrier regulations and hire and retain only capable drivers.

If a trucking company negligently entrusts one of its vehicles to an irresponsible driver, such as a driver who has a poor driving record, the trucking company may be responsible for any accident that the driver subsequently causes.

A knowledgeable truck accident attorney can review the circumstances of your accident with you and determine the identity of all potentially responsible parties, including truck drivers and trucking companies.

Your attorney can then file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against those parties within the applicable statute of limitations time frame.

Types of Local Truck Accidents

When truck drivers and trucking companies commit negligent acts, the unfortunate result is usually a severe truck accident. The type of truck accident will ultimately depend upon various circumstances, including the accident location, the roadway setup, and the number of vehicles involved.

Female police officer managing traffic post-accident in front of a dump truck, ensuring safety and order at the scene.

Some of the most common types of local truck accidents include:

  • Rollover accidents, where a tractor or trailer overturns in the middle of the road, usually because the vehicle is top-heavy due to improper loading procedures
  • Tailgate or rear-end accidents, where the front of a truck strikes the back of another vehicle
  • Sideswipe accidents, where the sides of two vehicles may make contact with one another while moving in the same direction
  • Jackknife accidents, where the trailer and tractor portions of a large commercial truck fold inward and slide forward, violently impacting other vehicles
  • Head-on collisions, where the front of a large commercial truck and the front of an oncoming vehicle make direct contact
  • Broadside accidents, or T-bone collisions, are where the front of a large commercial vehicle hits the side of another vehicle, usually at a traffic intersection where a truck driver does not yield the right-of-way at the appropriate time.

If you sustained injuries in one of these accidents due to a negligent truck driver or trucking company, consult a truck accident lawyer in your area as soon as possible. 

Your attorney can review your options with you, file a claim with the insurance company on your behalf, and handle all oral and written communications with insurance company adjusters throughout your case.

Recovering Truck Accident Monetary Damages

To recover monetary compensation in a truck accident claim or lawsuit, the injured accident victim, rather than the negligent truck driver or trucking company, must satisfy their legal burden of proof.

Specifically, the truck accident victim must demonstrate that the truck driver and or the trucking company acted unreasonably under the circumstances, that their truck accident occurred as a result, and that they suffered at least one physical injury as a direct consequence of the truck accident.

Monetary damages that truck accident victims may receive will depend upon their circumstances, their injuries, and the total cost of their medical treatment.

Common types of economic damages in truck accident claims and lawsuits include: 

  • Past and anticipated medical costs
  • Loss of earnings
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Loss of life enjoyment
  • Permanent disfigurement or disability
  • Loss of use of a body part
  • Pain and suffering
  • Inconvenience
  • Mental distress

Your truck accident attorney can determine the approximate value of your claim or lawsuit and take the necessary steps to recover the financial compensation you need.

Speak to a Truck Accident Lawyer Today

Victims of truck accidents must file a personal injury claim or lawsuit within two years of their accident date. If they miss a filing deadline, the court will prevent them from filing a lawsuit and recovering any monetary damages for their injuries. Therefore, truck accident victims must act quickly when securing legal representation for their cases.

A truck accident attorney in your area can immediately investigate your accident circumstances and determine the identity of all potentially responsible parties. Your lawyer may then file the appropriate claim on your behalf, negotiate with insurance company adjusters, and potentially litigate your case in state court.

Take the first step towards justice after a truck accident – schedule a free consultation with an experienced truck accident attorney. They will understand the unique challenges these cases present and offer personalized insights into your situation.

During this consultation, the Chicago personal injury lawyer will discuss the details of your case, assess liability, and outline potential legal strategies. Your well-being should be their priority, and this free consultation can provide clarity and guidance regarding your rights and options for legal representation.

Don't face the aftermath alone; consult a dedicated truck accident attorney to protect your rights.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation Today!

David Abels Author Image

David Abels


David Abels has carved a niche for himself in the personal injury law sector, dedicating a substantial part of his career since 1997 to representing victims of various accidents. With a law practice that spans over two decades, his expertise has been consistently recognized within the legal community.

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