Collisions involving large trucks can be catastrophic for people in smaller vehicles. Kentucky had more than 10,600 truck crashes in 2018. The total included 116 fatal collisions and 1,580 non-fatal injury collisions, according to Kentucky State Police.
There are many ways to suffer serious injuries in a truck accident. When an accident is the truck driver’s fault or caused by a mechanical failure or another problem with the truck, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your injuries and other losses.
At Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer, our experienced attorneys help victims of truck accidents in the Lexington, KY, area seek full and fair compensation after accidents caused by the negligence of others. We provide the Kentucky Courage to stand up to trucking companies and insurers who refuse to do what is right after you’ve been injured.
Contact us online or phone (606) 598-2122 to speak to a Lexington truck accident lawyer about your injuries and how we can help. Take advantage of a free legal consultation with an experienced Kentucky truck accident lawyer.
10 Common Types of Truck Accidents
If a truck driver loses control of a big rig, anyone near the out-of-control truck can be badly injured in the crash that follows. The most common types of truck accidents we see in our own investigations on behalf of injured clients are:
- Blind spot accidents. Large commercial trucks have large blind spots on all sides. Vehicles in blind spots cannot be seen by the trucker as he or she looks in rearview or sideview mirrors or directly in front. A truck driver who is unaware of an automobile beside the truck may cause a sideswipe accident by attempting to merge into an occupied lane. All drivers have a duty of safety on the road, meaning they must look out for others at all times, regardless of their position in traffic. But if you were in a truck’s blind spot when an accident occurred, you can expect their insurance company to argue that you were partly at fault and do not deserve to be compensated for your injuries. You will need a strong lawyer to fight for your rights.
- Jackknife accidents. When a truck jackknifes, the cab and trailer have lost traction and spin out of control toward each other like a folding pocketknife. A jackknife accident may occur because of a sudden stop, speeding into a sharp turn, a tire blowout, or other causes. Vehicles in neighboring lanes of traffic can become caught up in the large area covered by an 8-wheeler sweeping across the highway as it jackknifes. Sometimes in a jackknife accident, the trailer or the entire rig rolls over.
- Rollover accidents. Large trucks are more likely to roll over than passenger cars because they are taller and have a higher center of gravity that makes them less stable. Trucks may roll over after rounding a curve too fast or because a wheel hits a curb, embankment or other short obstacle at a bad angle or suddenly regains traction in a skid. When a truck is tipped, cargo may move, shifting the center of gravity and causing a rollover accident. In a rollover accident, the cargo spill can cause additional accidents and/or environmental damage.
- Cargo shifts / spills. If cargo on a transfer truck is not secured properly, it can come loose and shift during a turn or a sudden stop, or on a steep grade. Thousands of pounds of shifting cargo in a trailer can throw the truck off balance, which may lead to loss of control and a crash. Tanker trucks that are not full are susceptible to shifting weight. If loose cargo falls off a truck, it can hit other vehicles or cause drivers to swerve to avoid cargo in the roadway and crash. Hazardous material (HazMat) spills can damage real property and the environment, in addition to causing personal injuries.
- Underride collisions. Because of how high a commercial truck trailer is above the road, most passenger vehicles can fit underneath the trailer. In an underride accident, the upper portion of the smaller vehicle can be damaged or sheared, leaving anyone sitting in a passenger car or light truck susceptible to catastrophic injury. Most large commercial trucks are required to have rear underride guards, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says U.S. standards do not provide full protection. Underrides are typically rear-end accidents or occur when a collision forces a car under a tractor trailer or a trailer skidding across a highway collides with a vehicle.
- Head-on collisions. The speed of two converging vehicles magnifies the force of the impact in a head-on collision, making these the most deadly type of large truck accidents. Because commercial trucks are much heavier than passenger vehicles, a passenger car occupant is more likely to be seriously injured or killed in a head-on collision with a truck than the truck driver is. Typically, if a truck has crossed the centerline into the path of an oncoming vehicle, it is because the truck driver is drowsy or may have nodded off, or the trucker was distracted. Investigations that show the driver did not apply the brakes before a head-on collision indicate the truck driver fell asleep or was distracted.
- T-bone accidents. When the front of a truck hits the side of another vehicle, the crash may be described as a side-impact, or T-bone, collision. T-bone accidents can lead to serious injury because the sides of passenger vehicles provide less protection than the front or rear of a vehicle does.
- Rear-end accidents. A rear-end collision occurs when a truck fails to stop in time to avoid hitting the vehicle it is following. Large trucks require more room than passenger cars to slow their momentum, which makes it particularly reckless for a trucker to follow another vehicle too closely. Sometimes a negligent truck driver will tailgate a vehicle to intimidate the driver into speeding up or moving to a different lane. Distracted driving and driving while drowsy leads to rear-end accidents, as well. Sometimes an investigation will show that the brakes failed on a truck involved in a rear-end accident.
- Brake failure accidents. Brake failures typically occur because the trucking company or a contracted service provider doesn’t perform proper maintenance. Trucking companies have a responsibility to maintain their vehicle is safe operating condition and may be held liable when they fail to do proper maintenance on a truck, leading to an accident. In some cases, the brake manufacturer has sold a faulty product. The landmark Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) said brake problems, including failed brakes and brakes out of adjustment, were a factor in almost 30 percent of truck accidents.
- Tire blowouts. Tractor-trailer tire blowouts may be caused by worn or separated tire treads, improperly inflated tires, defective tires or other failures. The sudden loss of a tire can cause the driver to lose control of the rig, causing it to roll over, or send the cab and trailer skidding toward each other in a jackknife accident. Commercial truck tire recalls typically involve tens of thousands of tires with manufacturing flaws that could lead to blowouts. Recalls are usually announced after several accidents have been traced back to a blowout and a faulty tire.
Our investigations into truck accidents in Kentucky usually show some sort of negligence on the part of the truck driver. This may be something like speeding or driving too fast for conditions, or fatigued or distracted driving, or making a costly mistake, such as failing to look adequately before making a turn or changing lanes. In other cases, the truck owner may be at fault, or a third -party vendor, such as a maintenance garage or the owners of the trailer or cargo being transported.
In most cases, a truck accident requires an independent investigation to determine liability and develop solid evidence of who should be held financially responsible for the injuries, damaged vehicles and disrupted lives. We can do that investigation for you in the Lexington, KY, area, and then we can pursue all of the compensation you are due.
Contact Our Lexington Commercial Truck Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a crash in Lexington, KY, that involved a large commercial truck, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer who handles truck accident claims about compensation you may be due.
Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer can conduct a thorough investigation of your accident and work to recover the compensation you deserve from the truck driver, the truck owner and/or other third parties responsible for your losses. We are dedicated to giving crash victims like you the Kentucky Courage they need to fight for just compensation and put their lives back together.
Please contact us today at (606) 598-2122 or online for your free legal consultation. We will not charge you to investigate your accident, and we only get paid if we win a settlement or jury award for you.