Common Types Of Semi-Trailer Truck Accidents And Their Causes

While truck accidents can occur nearly anywhere, how they take place can be central to determining whether negligence may have been involved – and, if so, the nature of that negligence.

At the Law Office of James H. Guest, L.L.C., our attorneys are experienced at representing the victims of various types of semi-trailer truck accidents in Denver and across Colorado. We understand how devastating the injuries and losses caused by these collisions can be and that financial recoveries can be pivotal to victims' physical and emotional recoveries. That is why our lawyers are ready to fight for victims' rights to compensation and justice following truck accidents.

Common Types Of Truck Accidents

  • Jackknife truck accidents involve the trailer of a truck swinging out alongside of it, closing in towards the cabin in the same way as a jackknife closes. More likely to occur when road and weather conditions are poor, jackknife accidents can result from failures to properly secure trailers, drivers having to slam on the brakes at the last minute and/or equipment failures. In many cases, jackknife accidents involve multiple vehicles and cause serious, if not fatal, injuries.
  • Underride accidents involve passenger vehicles colliding with trucks and becoming stuck beneath them. Often the result of some form of driver negligence (either on the part of the trucker or other motorists), underride accidents usually cause catastrophic injuries to the occupants of passenger vehicles, as the point of impact in these collisions is generally at occupants' chest and head level. In the most serious cases, underride collisions can shear off the tops of passenger vehicles, which can cause decapitation or other fatal injuries.
  • Runaway trailer accidents involve the trailers of trucks traveling at faster speeds than cabins and, oftentimes, breaking free of them. While runaway trailer accidents can be caused by vehicle equipment failures, such as faulty hitches, these types of truck accidents can also result from trucks being overloaded, truckers failing to properly maneuver trucks or other drivers causing truck drivers to have make sudden stops or turns (to avoid a collision, for instance).
  • Rollover truck accidents are some of the deadliest truck accidents that occur, as they can crush vehicles' cabins and/or throw occupants clear from vehicles. While road and weather conditions can increase the risk of rollover truck accidents, in many cases, failures to properly secure or balance loads, last-minute maneuvers and/or driver negligence may also play a role in causing rollover truck accidents.
  • Fatal truck accidents kill thousands of people each year in the U.S., with most of these victims being those in smaller vehicles. In most cases, some form of negligence contributes to fatal truck accidents, with driver negligence, trucking company negligence or even the negligence of vehicle equipment manufacturers commonly playing a role in causing these collisions.

What Causes Truck Accidents?

Many things can cause serious or fatal truck accidents, including bad weather and issues with the road itself, such as poor road design, potholes and uneven surfaces, debris not cleared from a roadway, and more. Sadly, most truck collisions are caused by negligence, oftentimes on the part of the trucking company or the truck driver.

Some common forms of negligence that result in semi-trailer truck crashes include:

  • Driving distractions Talking or texting on a cellphone, checking email, inputting directions into a GPS unit, searching for something in the passenger seat or glove box, and eating and drinking while driving are all common examples of things truck drivers do behind the wheel that can lead to distracted driving accidents.
  • Impaired driving Driving while intoxicated, impaired by prescription or over-the-counter medication, under the influence of illegal drugs, or while fatigued are all examples of impairment that can lead to serious and fatal crashes.
  • Reckless or careless driving Examples of reckless or careless driving can include changing lanes without checking blind spots, failing to make a wide enough turn, failing to signal intent when changing lanes, drifting into other lanes or into oncoming traffic, speeding, following too close to other vehicles, and failing to provide adequate stopping distance, just to name a few.
  • Cargo overloading or imbalance issues Cargo that isn't balanced properly or exceeds a truck's maximum weight limit can cause a truck to tip over when a driver executes a turn, changes lanes or simply when a truck gets buffeted by strong winds. This can lead to crush accidents if the semi-trailer truck falls on another vehicle.
  • Improper container usage Certain cargo and hazardous materials need to be transported in the right container to avoid potentially dangerous accidents. If a driver or trucking company fails to use the right container to transport these items or substances, both parties could be held liable for their negligence if the truck jackknifes, rolls over or collides with another vehicle.
  • Improperly secured or unsecured cargo In addition to potentially causing a truck to tip over, unsecured or improperly secured cargo can also fall off commercial vehicles, crushing or colliding with other vehicles in the process. If other drivers do have time to react, they may be forced off the road suddenly to avoid dislodged cargo, which can result in collisions with other vehicles, safety barriers, signs and other things.
  • CDL or license endorsement issues In the United States, truck drivers are required by federal law to obtain a specific commercial drivers license (CDL) for the truck they wish to operate. If a truck driver operates a commercial truck without possessing the right license or endorsement (in certain cases), he or she could be held liable for their negligence in the event of a crash.
  • Trucking company negligence Examples of a trucking company's negligence can be altering driving logbooks, forcing drivers to meet unreasonable deadlines, not providing adequate rest periods between hauls, failing to do routine maintenance of trucks, failing to promptly address safety issues on a truck, and failing to perform adequate background checks on truck drivers, just to name a few.

Seek Fair Compensation With Our Help

Filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim against a negligent trucking company and its driver can be intimidating, especially because they will have a fleet of attorneys at their disposal. You can put the law on your side, however, with help from the Law Office of James H. Guest, L.L.C.

We've helped thousands of accident victims over the past 27 years file successful claims against trucking companies and have recovered hundreds of thousands in compensation for victims and their families. We will handle all your legal matters, including negotiations and litigation, and we will make sure the compensation you receive covers all of your needs now and moving forward.

Learn More About Your Rights Get A Free Initial Consultation

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, or if you have lost a loved one in a fatal truck accident, contact the Law Office of James H. Guest, L.L.C., in Denver. Our lead attorney will personally handle your case and help you understand your rights to financial recover.

Call 303-292-2992 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation where you can discuss your case and options for recovery. There is no fee for our services if there is no recovery in your case.