Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Commercial vehicles range from semi-trucks to taxicabs to local delivery vehicles – each one having different safety requirements to address unique risks and to prevent specific dangers.
When commercial vehicles or semi-truck drivers make mistakes, fail to follow traffic laws, or drive while under the influence, there can be catastrophic consequences. Commercial vehicles or semi-truck collisions are responsible for thousands of deaths each year, making commercial vehicles or semi-truck collisions one of the biggest dangers on our roadways. If you are injured in a commercial vehicle or semi-truck collision, our team is uniquely qualified to represent you. Commercial vehicle or semi-truck collisions are different from the typical “car accident” because they involve complex commercial insurance policies and vehicles, and the stakes are much higher.
Rear-end collisions are especially dangerous because commercial vehicles or semi-truck weigh significantly more than other vehicles on the roadway and their impact crushes the receiving vehicle. Most rear-end collisions involving commercial vehicles or semi-trucks are due to the driver's negligence: following too closely; improper lane change; speeding; distracted driving; or driving while impaired, under the influence of prescription drugs or alcohol, or tired. Future injuries are not always obvious, this is where experience counts.
T-Bone (Side Impact) Collisions
T-bone collisions, also known as a side impact or broadside collision, involving commercial vehicles or semi-trucks occur when the front end of one vehicle strikes the side of a semi-truck or tractor-trailer. These types of collisions can occur at intersections or bends in the roadway. Commercial vehicles or semi-trucks require much more distance to come to a complete stop. The use of “rolling stops” by commercial vehicles or semi-trucks drivers can be a cause of side impact collisions and is illegal and dangerous. Other causes of side impact collisions include improper left turn; inclement weather or poor visibility; faulty or poorly maintained braking or steering systems; lack of visible signs; and blind intersections.
If a commercial vehicle or semi-truck driver loses control and the truck starts sliding, the commercial vehicles or semi-truck is likely to roll over due to natural forces. Rollover collisions can be preventable if drivers and trucking companies properly follow federal and state regulations.
Jackknifing collisions occur when a vehicle towing a trailer or semi-trailer breaks suddenly or skids. When this occurs, the trailer can push the towing vehicle or semi from behind until it spins the vehicle around and faces backwards. Jackknifing collisions can be caused by equipment failure, improper braking, or adverse road conditions such as an icy road surface: This is an area of well researched data and physics, and we have the specialized knowledge to use this data to your advantage.
Wet Roads: it is more common for jackknifing to occur when the roads are slick.
Increased Speed: A 10 mph increase in the posted speed limit increases the odds of a jackknife by 49 percent for combination trucks.
Poor Lighting Conditions: Poor lighting conditions increase the odds of a jackknife by 43%.
Bad Weather: In a single-vehicle fatal crash, the odds of a jackknife are 3.22 times higher during adverse weather conditions.
Curvy Roadway: The odds of a jackknife on a curved roadway are 86% higher than the odds of a jackknife on a straight roadway.
Increased Length: A 10% increase in the total length of the truck corresponds to an increase of 14% in the odds of a jackknife for commercial or semi-trucks.
If a commercial vehicles or semi-truck's brakes fail while in motion, the driver may not be able to stop in time to prevent a collision. Brake failure can occur for a variety of reasons. Commercial and trucking companies are held to high standards under the law to properly maintain and inspect their fleet of vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA) requires daily inspections of the braking systems and components.
Underride collisions occur when a commercial vehicles or semi-truck driver suddenly applies the brakes, causing a smaller vehicle to go under the truck's rear trailer. This type of collision is extremely dangerous because the top of a car is not meant to withstand this type of force.
A tire blowout at a high speed of travel makes it incredibly difficult to maintain control over your vehicle. A commercial vehicle or semi-truck, often weighing 40,000 or 60,000 pounds, with a tire blowout can have a massive crushing impact and is often catastrophic.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act requires drivers of commercial vehicles or semi-trucks to inspect loads and ensure all cargo is secure. If cargo is not secured properly, there is a significant risk that the cargo will fall off the truck and obstruct the highway. The cargo can also shift and throw a commercial vehicle or semi-truck off balance, making it difficult for the driver to make turns or negotiate curves.
The Commercial Driver's License Manual and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations set forth specific rules about commercial vehicles and semi-trucks should complete turns without putting other drivers at risk. Responsible truck drivers know how to make a safe turn, which requires proper clearance. Commercial vehicle or semi-truck drivers must look 12 to 15 seconds down the road, because their trucks move slower and are harder to stop than other vehicles.
Flatbed Truck Collisions
Flatbed (truck without sides or walls around where cargo is stored) or tow trucks (wheel lifts) have unique cargo and require specific standards to lawfully store cargo. Factors to consider in these types of collisions include: was the driver legally trained as required under the law; was the driver insured by the parent company; was the driver's driving history considered before hiring; was the truck properly maintained and were quality control measure taken; were correct loading and transporting cargo precautions taken; was the driver of the flatbed or tow truck under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
Box Truck Collisions
Box trucks (or trucks considered as a standard moving truck) can be commercial vehicles and can also often involve unexperienced drivers. Even experienced box truck drivers are under delivery deadlines and can be fatigued drivers that put others at risk. The are laws that limit and regulate the hours of service these drivers are allowed to be on the road.
Our staff of skilled automobile collision attorneys and supporting team members know how to get the most value out of your case so that you can recover the highest recovery the law allows. We represent people involves in collisions related to drunk drivers, distracted drivers, street racing, multi-car crashes and crashes caused by dangerous roads or defective vehicles. Our uniquely skilled and diverse team has the experience to provide aggressive and efficient representation.