Common Types of Truck Accidents and Their Causes

Large commercial vehicles pose an ever-present danger on the nation’s highways. Crashes of tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, dump trucks and construction or maintenance vehicles can have dire consequences. Due to the size and weight of trucks, such accidents are likely to result in serious injuries, especially to the occupants of cars or other smaller vehicles involved. Such accidents are frequent and have a multitude of causes, which can affect the right of victims to recover compensation.

If you’ve been in an accident with a truck, determining the cause is critical to a finding of who was at fault and what damages they must pay. Depending upon the type of accident, fault may be shared among the truck driver, the trucking company, the cargo shipper, the truck’s maintenance provider and the manufacturer of the truck’s tires, brakes or other component parts.

These are the most common types of truck accidents and their causes:

  • Tire blow-outs — These mishaps can result from varied causes, such as defective manufacturing, improper inflation and excessive cargo loads.
  • Rollovers — A truck may topple over and end up on its side or roof. A rollover may be “tripped,” such as when a truck hits a hard object or another vehicle, or “untripped,” which can be caused by top-heaviness or poorly executed turns or maneuvers.
  • Underride accidents — A smaller vehicle may hit a truck from behind or sideways and become wedged underneath the truck’s carriage. This may be caused by the truck driver hitting the brakes abruptly, leaving the car behind with inadequate stopping distance. Or a truck may suddenly switch lanes and sideswipe a car, forcing it under the truck.
  • Jackknifing — This can result when a tractor-trailer’s driver applies the brakes but the trailer’s weight causes it to swing to either side, so that it ends up in the opposite direction of the cab. A jackknife is often the result of worn or malfunctioning trailer brakes.
  • Cargo spills — These accidents can happen when a truck’s contents are too heavy, improperly secured or unevenly loaded.

Types of accidents may overlap. A blown-out tire could cause a truck to swerve off the road, to jackknife or to roll over. A cargo spill could result in debris being scattered along a wide stretch of highway, creating obstacles that other vehicles may hit. Bad weather, poor road conditions and driver error also can be contributing causes of accidents. An experienced truck accident attorney can fully investigate the causes of the crash, guide you through the claims process and take all measures needed to obtain compensation from the parties responsible.

At Sperling Law Offices LLC in Milwaukee, our attorneys have a strong reputation for effectively representing injured accident victims throughout Wisconsin. Call 414-273-7777 | 414-273-7100 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.

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