Semi truck accidents produce some of the most harrowing scenes on the road. With their size and mass, semi trucks regularly cause damage to several other vehicles when accidents occur. A smaller passenger vehicle is at a massive disadvantage in a semi truck accident, which is why these collisions can be extremely dangerous. If you’ve been injured in a semi truck accident, contact a truck accident lawyer.

The 9 Most Frequent Kinds of Semi Truck Crashes

Several common types of truck accidents can cause severe injuries to both the truck driver and those driving in passenger vehicles. In many cases, these situations are caused by the semi truck driver or problems with the semi truck itself. Trucking companies are also known to overwork their drivers, which leads to driver fatigue. In these situations, when the truck driver is at fault for the collision, you can seek compensation for your injuries.

Consider some of the most common types of truck accidents that happen with large trucks in Missouri and how they may relate to personal injury claims.

1. Unavoidable Accidents in the Semi Truck’s Lane

Most tractor-trailers try to stay in the right lane. Due to the sheer size of large trucks, they cannot quickly switch lanes like smaller vehicles can. This poses a problem when another object or vehicle enters their lane unexpectedly. The majority of large truck crashes occur in rural areas where animals like deer can suddenly jump into the path of a semi truck. Similarly, other vehicles may pull out onto a road without noticing the truck, especially around curves.

When a large truck collides with an animal or other debris on the road, it may lose control or stop suddenly, leading to rear-end collisions. There may not be a clear at-fault driver in these situations; it depends on how the trucker handled the situation. However, when another vehicle pulls out and causes a truck to crash, that driver will normally be held responsible for the damages caused.

2. Sideswipe Accidents on Highways

Roughly one in three semi truck accidents occur on interstate highways. One of the most common types of truck accidents is the sideswipe, which usually happens when truck drivers switch lanes abruptly or don’t see a smaller vehicle in their blind spots. Blind spot accidents are also more common when bad weather reduces visibility. While some of these accidents are minor, they can also cause serious injuries. At worst, underride accidents happen when a vehicle gets caught under the truck.

In these situations, the truck driver is almost always to blame. Blind spots are no excuse for changing lanes while another vehicle is already in that space. Worse, a vehicle located in the blind spots may end up in an underride accident. Unfortunately, the trucking industry often pressures drivers to make these reckless maneuvers to meet deadlines. This is why it’s important to talk to truck accident lawyers. They can investigate the trucking company and examine its track record of accidents.

3. T-Bone Accidents During Turns

T bone accidents with semi trucks are common in urban settings. As trucks deliver goods into towns, they often have to navigate smaller intersections, which means they take wide turns. You’ve probably seen the warning signs on the back of a semi truck that mention this fact. Sometimes trucks will turn right out of the left lane in order to make the turn cleanly. This can create result in t-bone accidents when another driver heads straight through the intersection.

Of course, other vehicles should be careful around intersections and avoid these collisions. However, sometimes truck drivers make the turn late to beat a traffic light. Oncoming traffic with a green light can then collide with the truck’s trailer. These situations can also lead to underride accidents if the truck keeps moving quickly to get through the intersection. If a truck ignores a traffic signal, they’re at fault for the truck accident.

4. Rear-End Truck Accidents in Urban Settings

Rear-end collisions are another one of the other common type of truck accidents in urban environments. Generally, rear-end accidents are the fault of the rear-ender. However, trucks have regulations that require a sturdy bar below the back of the truck’s trailer to prevent life-threatening injuries, known as the Mansfield bar. This bar is designed not to bend inwards, which prevents the back of the tractor-trailer from going through the rear-ending vehicle’s windshield.

Some tractor-trailers may have already been in a fender bender or weaker rear-end collisions, weakening the structural integrity of this safety bar. Just like a bike helmet, after any accident, this bar should be replaced. If the bar gave way and led to serious injury, the driver or the trucking company could be held liable for the accident due to their negligence in maintaining the vehicle.

5. Rollover Accidents

Rollover accidents are one of the worst types of semi truck accidents. A rollover accident can block several lanes of traffic, leading to a pileup with many other vehicles. In some cases, jackknife accidents happen when the trailer is lifted off the ground. A rollover crash can lead to fatal injuries for drivers in nearby vehicles and may block major roadways for hours. Fortunately, most truck rollovers happen on onramps and offramps, leaving fewer truck accident victims.

On highways, these accidents tend to happen when a truck driver loses control or swerves to avoid an obstacle or animal. The truck rolls and often takes other passenger vehicles with it, injuring other drivers. If you were involved in this kind of semi truck collision, speak to a lawyer. Passenger vehicles are rarely found at fault when they collide with a truck that has rolled over.

6. Accidents Caused by Truck Driver Fatigue

Truck drivers are often pressed into working long hours. Commercial trucks have deadlines to meet, and truck drivers can lose their jobs for failing to arrive on time. That pressure, unfortunately, leads to driver inattention due to fatigue. A tired driver is extremely dangerous, especially when operating commercial trucks that can cause deadly accidents.

In these types of truck accidents, truck drivers are typically held responsible. However, given that commercial drivers are unfairly put into difficult situations, their company may also be held responsible for serious injuries to truck accident victims. If it’s clear that the company overworked the driver, they may be found negligent and pursued in court.

7. Mechanical Failure and Tire Blowouts

You’ve likely seen tire debris on the side of the highway before. Tire blowouts on semi trucks are fairly common. A blowout does not always lead to catastrophic injuries since many trucks can pull over safely. However, a heavily loaded truck can suffer a cascade of blowouts and lose control quickly, possibly leading to jackknife accidents or rollovers. Underride accidents can happen if the truck suddenly drifts into another lane.

Other faulty equipment could lead to a failure. For example, brakes on a truck can fail. This is why you will often see runaway ramps when going downhill on the highway. Water barrels can also help to stop a runaway truck. However, there may not be a nearby safe place for a truck to stop, and an accident could happen. In any case, truck drivers are responsible for maintaining their equipment, and failure to do so is dangerous negligence.

8. Accidents Caused by Flying Debris

One of the less common types of semi truck accidents is when debris falls off the truck and injures another driver in a nearby passenger vehicle. This typically happens when a truck has an awkward load. For example, a commercial vehicle transporting logs or scrap metal may not be able to secure its load perfectly. A bump or unexpected movement could dislodge debris and send it flying.

Drivers have experienced traumatic brain injuries and other serious injuries due to debris flying through their windshields. The damage can be as severe as a head-on collision. In this kind of truck accident, the driver is always at fault for not securing their payload properly.

9. Head-On Collisions

Head-on collisions are the most fatal truck accidents as even the safest passenger car cannot compensate for the sheer mass and momentum a semi truck has. Fortunately, these accidents are not very common. They tend to happen in rural areas where two-lane roads force trucks to pass on the left into oncoming traffic. They can also happen due to distracted driving; the truck’s driver may not have noticed they’ve drifted into the opposing lane.

In these situations, the driver of the truck is nearly always at fault. Given the lethality of these truck accidents, a wrongful death claim may be called for.

How an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney Can Help You

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a serious truck accident, you may be able to seek compensation from the driver or the company. However, determining who to sue and how much to sue for can be challenging. You will want the help of a local Kansas City truck accident attorney with experience in these matters. Whether you were in an underride accident or a simple sideswipe, you should speak with a lawyer.

Here is what a lawyer can do to assist you.

Assessing Fault and Negligence

When you first meet with your lawyer, you will need to bring documents related to the accident to help your lawyer understand what happened. Explain your version of events and share any information you have, such as the police report or your medical bills.

Your lawyer can analyze the case and determine whether or not the trucker was acting negligently. If it’s clear that the trucker was at fault for the accident, you may be able to sue for compensation.

Filing Your Claim for Compensation

Your lawyer will add up all of the financial damages related to your case. You can include insurance payments that you made, vehicle repairs, medical expenses, and even money lost due to being unable to work. You may also be able to get additional compensation for your pain and suffering.

Contact Holman Schiavone, LLC by calling 816-399-5149 to schedule a free consultation with our lawyers.