Just as passenger vehicles are required to share the road with bicyclists, large trucks must share the road with passenger vehicles. This means safely securing cargo, following all traffic laws, and never exceeding the federal limitations put in place to keep them and others safe. If they fail to follow these and other regulations, their negligence could cause severe injury or even death to the people in the vehicles around them.
Even with new safety procedures and devices, the number of fatalities in large truck accidents continues to rise. Our attorneys at Little Rock Trial Lawyers have handled thousands of cases of truck driver negligence and failure of due care. We believe that truck drivers and their employers should be held responsible for their negligent or dangerous actions.
If you or a family member were injured in a semi truck collision, contact Little Rock Trial Lawyers. The attorneys in our Little Rock and Fayetteville, Arkansas offices will handle your case diligently from beginning to end. We’ll help recover the compensation you and your family need for your medical bills, lost income, and other expenses.
Call Little Rock Trial Lawyers at (501) 404-2333 or contact us online today for a free consultation.
Types of Truck Accidents
A semi truck is said to “jackknife” when the trailer of the truck folds in toward the cab at a 90-degree angle, resembling a small knife. These are one of the most common types of big rig accidents, and they can be caused by:
- The weight of the truck
- Improper braking
The laws of physics play a large role in why and how a large truck can roll over and cause an accident. Tractor-trailers have a high center of gravity, so if a truck is traveling along a curvy road and the driver brakes improperly, makes a sudden turn, or is driving with too heavy of a load, centrifugal force can cause the trailer to lean away from the direction of the curve, resulting in an overturn or “rollover”.
It is not uncommon to see pieces or shreds of semi truck tires lying on the side of the road. These tires are evidence of a blowout, which is more dangerous than it seems. Many tractor-trailers have 18 tires, so it is a big responsibility for the driver to be diligent and frequently check tire pressure and perform general maintenance.
However, if they fail to do so, a blown tire can cause accidents with passenger vehicles, especially cars behind the truck. Causes of tire blowouts include:
- Improper tire inflation
- Error in installing the tire
- Overloaded trailers that put too much pressure on tires
Because of the shape and length of a tractor-trailer, when a truck driver makes a right turn, they must first turn to the left. The turning radius of the average tractor-trailer is approximately 55 feet. If the driver does not properly assess how much room they must give the trailer to turn, they can cause head-on or side-impact crashes with passenger cars. For example:
- If a truck driver turns too far to the left, the truck can enter the left lane and collide with the vehicles there.
- If the driver of a big rig does not turn far enough to the left before attempting a right turn, they can roll over and crush passenger cars or leave the road entirely and potentially damage property.
It’s startling when a car hits the back of yours, but it’s terrifying to be rear-ended by an enormous 40-ton big rig. Unfortunately, rear-end truck accidents are fairly common, especially on crowded highways or interstates. Some common causes of these accidents are:
- Following too close
- Distracted driving
- Defective brakes
It’s a scene often witnessed in movies – a driver falls asleep at the wheel and awakens to a semi truck’s blaring horn and beaming lights headed directly towards them. In real life, a concerning number of head-on collisions between big rigs and passenger vehicles occur every year in the United States. These are one of the most deadly accidents involving tractor-trailers, and they can be caused by:
- Distracted driving
- Inclement weather
- Passing illegally on a solid yellow line
- Incorrectly maneuvered wide turns
An underride accident occurs when a passenger vehicle slides or travels beneath a semi truck and is crushed. Most of these accidents happen because of tractor-trailers’ high ground clearance. Although the drivers of passenger cars can certainly make a mistake and accidentally travel beneath a semi truck, an underride accident could be caused by a truck driver’s negligence, including:
- Stopping suddenly or without warning
- Failing to use underride guards
- Failing to administer or use tail lights or brake lights
- Failing to properly mark trailer with safety signs if broken down on the road
Truckers are responsible for loading their cargo properly and safely onto or into their trailer. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration even published a guide for truck drivers to properly secure their cargo. Still, there are tens of thousands of dangerous lost cargo accidents every year in the United States.
Because these vehicles can transport tens of thousands of pounds of potentially hazardous objects or substances such as logs, chemicals, and equipment, the consequences of an improper or careless load can be deadly. Some of the ways in which the cargo in a tractor-trailer can come loose and fall out are:
- Poorly balanced loads.
- Overloaded trucks.
- Broken securing devices, including webbing, chains, clamps, and binders
The force with which a semi truck collides into a passenger vehicle can cause life-threatening injuries, especially in a T-bone (broadside) accident, where a tractor-trailer crashes into a vehicle from the side. Unfortunately, in many of these accidents, the driver of the tractor-trailer is to blame. For example:
- Because semi trucks are more difficult to stop, a trucker may decide to simply slow down and roll through a four-way stop. This is illegal, incredibly dangerous, and one of the main causes of T-bone accidents with passenger vehicles.
- If they are running behind or simply want to go fast, a truck driver may speed up in the second before a light turns red, endangering other drivers. Passenger vehicles may be able to get away with this, but the sheer size of tractor-trailers means that these are extremely dangerous accidents.
The blind spots in semi trucks can extend almost the whole length of the trailer. So, if a trucker makes a sudden lane switch or swerves for whatever reason, the passenger vehicle in the lane beside them can be crushed or sideswiped.
Although drivers of passenger vehicles should avoid pulling up directly beside a tractor-trailer’s right side, many blind spot accidents occur because of the trucker’s negligence. Some scenarios where a trucker can cause an accident due to their blind spot include:
- Failing to yield
- Failing to use signals
- Reversing without due care
Truck Accident Statistics
To best represent our clients, Little Rock Trial Lawyers actively pursues the latest reliable data coming out of the trucking industry. Experts note a significant increase in big truck wrecks since 2009, meaning there are more passenger injuries and deaths. If you or a family member were injured in a big rig collision, let our dedicated attorneys at Little Rock Trial Lawyers fight for you.
The most recent data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports:
- Deaths in crashes involving large trucks increased 9% from 2016 to 2017
- From 2008 to 2017, the total number of people killed in semi truck accidents increased by 12%
- Of the fatalities involving semi trucks in 2017, 72% (3,450 people) were occupants of passenger vehicles
Where to Turn If You’re Injured In a Semi Truck Accident
If you were involved in a semi truck accident that was not your fault, pursue litigation against the truck driver or their employer. Tractor-trailers can be dangerous and come with such high risks that truckers must be held accountable for negligence that results in another person’s injury or death.
Our Little Rock truck accident lawyers see your case through to the end. We begin with an analysis of your case and an evaluation of the best course of legal action to take. We will obtain the police report, any recoverable evidence from the truck, phone records, and conduct an investigation to recover compensation for you and your family.
Call (501) 404-2333 or contact us online today.